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Speaker: Michael Bolton

Topic: The Web is abuzz with talk about “automated testing” and “test automation”. Automation comes with a tasty and digestible story: eliminate “manual testing”, and replace messy, complex humanity with reliable, fast, efficient robots! Yet there are many secrets hidden between the lines of the story.

Automation encourages people to think of mechanizable assembly-line work done on the factory floor, but neither development nor the testing within it is like that. Testing is a part of the creative and critical work that happens in design studios, inventors’ workshops, and research labs. Although they can be assisted by tools, those kinds of work are neither “manual” nor “automated”.

User and tester actions can be simulated, but users and testers cannot be replicated in software. Automated checking does exist, but it cannot do the testing. While tools can help us, we must not lose sight of the important skilled work that people must do to use tools wisely and powerfully.

In this talk, Michael Bolton will reveal secrets about automation that people do not usually consider, disclose or discuss. He’ll present a vision for using tools effectively—one that puts the tester at the centre of testing work and the testing mission: finding problems that threaten the value of our products and our projects.

Bio: Michael Bolton is a consulting software tester and testing teacher who helps people to solve testing problems that they didn’t realize they could solve. In 2006, he became co-author (with James Bach) of Rapid Software Testing (RST), a methodology and mindset for testing software expertly and credibly in uncertain conditions and under extreme time pressure. Since then, he has flown over a million miles to teach RST in 35 countries on six continents.

Michael has over 25 years of experience testing, developing, managing, and writing about software. For the last 20 years, he has led DevelopSense, a Toronto-based testing and development consultancy. Prior to that, he was with Quarterdeck Corporation for eight years, during which he managed the company’s flagship products and directed project and testing teams both in-house and around the world.

Contact Michael at, on Twitter @michaelbolton, or through his Web site,

Time: Doors open at approximately 11:30 am. Announcements and discussion start at approximately 11:50 am. Meeting ends at approximately 1:00 pm.

Lunch: provided on a first-come, first-served basis

University of Waterloo,
William G. Davis Computer Research Centre,
Room DC1302

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