Agile + DevOps West 2023 Concurrent Session : Building a Distributed Automation Team from Scratch


Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Building a Distributed Automation Team from Scratch

I have worked on QA teams with as few as three testers and as large as 20. Four years ago, I elected to start at CAQH (health care company) and was the only QA Automation staff member, was brought on board with a mandate to “convert the manual testing shop to Automation”. I found the organization had taken delivery on several poor-quality software releases of our flagship product from our development partner, and the ongoing application development and testing was in disarray. As employee #2 on the newly formed Technical/QA Team, this is the story of how we built Automation presence, built and trained new automation team and turned our team into an automated testing powerhouse.

Along the way, we had to overcome doubts from management, eliminate redundant processes, educate our colleagues who had never worked in a software automated testing shop on the value of automation, train manual testers on software automation tools, build and teach a sophisticated automation framework, sell our colleagues and our development partner on the concept of automation, and finally, prove automation is the answer to a quality product delivery faster. I will cover that tipping point that every organization goes through when trying to transition from a manual testing shop to an automated one and how we handled rejection, doubts, fears, and ultimately succeeded.

Neeta Sonnakul
Council for Affordable Quality HealthCar

Neeta Sonnakul has over 15 years of quality assurance experience working in various roles for several employers. She has built and led QA teams for companies such as Verizon Wireless, REI, DefyWire and is currently leading an agile automation testing team through a SAFe transformation for the Council of Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) which is a D.C. based non-profit. Neeta has architected robust and extendable test automation frameworks from scratch. Her past experiences in Dev, Test, Automation, Product and DevOps contribute to her overall successful career role. Contact her at LinkedIn