This is a continuation of my previous post: Improving Software Development with Automated Tests. Lets look at a typical poka-yoke example. A USB connector must be put in the right way up – for the connection to work properly and the communication to occur as intended. So to mistake proof the process the connector won’t allow the USB device to be put in upside down – the hardware connection designed to not allow that type of connection.
Using a deployment process that prevents code from being submitted that has an error follows a nearly identical process. The process blocks an error from being made. It seems to me a process that blocks code with a bug from being deployed with an error is the basically the same as a USB connection that will not accept the device being put in upside down.
Mistake proofing in no way should limit focusing on improving the process. Mistake-proofing a process both improves it (many poka-yoke solutions make the process easier to use) and prevents an error in case you still try something wrong. So I see the automated tests as a way to serve as a backstop, in case the process improvement you made to the software development process failed in some form. Then the automated testing required to deploy would prevent the introduction of that error to the production environment.
Related: Checklists in Software Development – Baking in Quality to Software Development – Combinatorial Testing for Software Development – Great Visual Instruction Example