Story: A Former Mentee Failed Test Automation with Protractor

The price to pay for not following a proven winning formula.

Zhimin Zhan
8 min readMay 26, 2022

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This is one of the Stories series.

Besides my own software apps, I have been implementing real test automation & Continuous Testing for a number of client projects by using the exact same formula. The test automation framework used is raw Selenium WebDriver in RSpec.

JavaScript has been the favourite language in recent years and is used in Protractor, TestCafe, Puppeteer, Cypress and Playwright. As a result, many automation testers (though some of them knew Ruby is better, including those whom I mentored) went for Javascript for more job opportunities or give in under the pressure. Here I have an interesting real story to share.

The Story

Many years ago, I took a tech lead role in a small start-up company for 3 months. Besides all the usual hands-on development /testing /DevOps tasks, I also mentored the team.

F was a final-year Uni student when I met him, who had already been there working as a part-time manual tester. I taught him automated testing, Ruby, using Git, Continuous Testing, and later, app development. He was very smart (I vaguely remembered he received a Uni Medal for his academic records) and learnt well during my 3-month consultation role there. By the time I left the company, I had set up the regression suite consisting of 148 Selenium RSpec tests that were running fine daily in a BuildWise CT Server with 3 build agents running on three Mac minis. F had been involved in real test automation hands-on under the proper guidance.

Below is the thank-you email he sent to me after I left.

A few months later, a former colleague met me on the street. He told me the automated regression testing was discarded as the boss wanted the team to just focus on developing new features, ignoring test failures in the CT server. Shortly after, all kinds of quality issues came up. The…

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Zhimin Zhan

Test automation & CT coach, author, speaker and award-winning software developer. Help teams succeed with Agile/DevOps by implementing real Continuous Testing.