Where to start: Automation in an Agile environment

When you are switching from Waterfall to Agile, it's very easy to get caught up in discussions about tools and automation. Which tools are best for unit testing and acceptance testing? What tools will we need for test data and test environment creation?

It may be worthwhile to take a step back and first prioritize what you want to automate. Ask yourself: "Where are tools going to add the best efficiencies?"

One area that often creates the most pain and gets overlooked is creating the test environment, installation and configuration.  It's these early stages in testing where most often delays occur.

It's not sexy and perhaps not as much fun, but for testers,  automating these areas first can provide considerable benefit in cost and time savings.  Getting developers to start on installation and configuration scripts first, before writing any application code is another way to streamline the process. This way, you can get the test environment running ahead of any functionality testing.

Remember its, "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools"