Improve Your Test Automation Learning And Delivery With The Three Stream Method

John Ferguson Smart | Mentor | Author | Speaker - Author of 'BDD in Action'.
Helping teams deliver more valuable software sooner15th June 2020

What are your testing goals for the week? One way I like to prioritise my own goals is to think in terms of streams.

The most obvious stream is value. You need to deliver value to your customer. From an agile test automation perspective, for example, this might mean writing relevant automated tests that help give the team fast feedback about whether a feature is ready for release.

But the value stream is not the only stream, and if you neglect the other streams, the value stream will dry up.

Let’s see why.

The second stream is quality or technical debt. If you deliver value too quickly, you lose out on quality - your test scripts quickly become unmaintainable and this ends up meaning that you deliver your value more slowly, or not at all! From a test automation perspective, you need to reserve time to plan your automation framework so that new tests are easier, not harder, to write, and to refactor it where needed to keep it clean.

The third stream is learning. You need to be constantly improving your skills and your understanding. This could mean drilling deeper to understand the customer’s real problems, or it could mean learning or refining your technical skills, trying out new tools, etc.

From a personal perspective, this is probably the most important stream, because it’s what means you will still have a job tomorrow.

But it’!s also the most neglected stream. It takes real effort to set aside time for learning, when all the pressure is on to deliver value as fast as possible. But it can be done.

So when you plan your goals for the week, make sure you include all three streams.

When you are learning anything, it helps to have a plan. If you want to come up with your own strategy for learning test automation, or improving your test automation skills, take a look at the RoadMap From Manual To Automated Testing ebook, which you can download from

© 2019 John Ferguson Smart