From Test Automation Patterns
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The most important thing to learn about test automation is the difference between manual and automated tests.

Manual tests can:
  • depend on each other if that makes it simpler for the tester (for instance one test creates the data for the next test)
  • fail, but the tester, knowing what he or she has done, can easily describe the results. Also the tester can go on with testing the next test case even if the first test left the system in an invalid state
  • take different times to perform specific actions, but a tester knows when to wait and when to go on
  • be performed on specific dates (testers can set and reset the date if needed)

Automated tests should: