Solution to Ursula Unfocused

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Ursula has recently begun automation and is trying to structure the tests in a good way using good programming principles. She has a developer background so is happy working with automation code.

What Ursula struggles with is deciding what tests should be automated. She started out by just picking a few that seemed a good idea, some smoke tests that were run often. But then she decided to automate some that were easy to automate, because that made her “look good” for making progress on the automation. Now there are complaints that some of the most important parts of the application have no automation, and there is still lots of manual testing that needs to be done, even though a lot of tests have been automated.


1) Go to Test Automation Issues Mind Map or Test Automation Issues Mind map with clickable links. Look through the Issue names and see if one stands out as Ursula's main problem. See which patterns would solve it

2) Go to Test Automation Patterns Mind Map or Test Automation Patterns Mind Map with clickable links. Look through the Pattern names and see which stand out as possible solutions for Ursula.

3) Go to the Diagnostic. Answer the questions on Ursula's behalf and see if you find the same issues and patterns.


  • Using the Diagnostic, we choose Improve or revive test automation.
  • On the next page, the best option is Lack of direction which specifically mentions “what to test”.
  • On the Lack of direction page, option 5 most closely matches Ursula’s situation (important tests not automated), which leads us to the issue UNFOCUSED AUTOMATION (Process Issue). All the patterns in this issue would be useful for Ursula:
    • AUTOMATE WHAT'S NEEDED (Process Pattern) is probably the best pattern. Note that we have a short contribution from a wiki user here with a useful tip. (We would like more of these!) The Pattern AUTOMATE GOOD TESTS (Design Pattern) also contains useful advice for Ursula.
    • WHOLE TEAM APPROACH (Process Pattern) may be helpful if Ursula can get better collaboration with developers, business analysts, stakeholders, etc.
    • MANAGEMENT SUPPORT (Management Pattern) will certainly be needed, as time and effort will be required to improve the approach to selecting which tests to automate.
    • KNOW WHEN TO STOP (Management Pattern) should probably be applied to the current approach of selecting tests to automate.
    • LEARN FROM MISTAKES (Process Pattern) is useful for anyone at any time!