Marshmallows and ERP Testing – the Automation vs Acceleration debate

by | June 19, 2016

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Marshmallows and ERP Testing – the Automation vs Acceleration debate

A friend of mine recently posted a video in her social media feed of the famous Marshmallow test, and it got me thinking about how the overriding message of this experiment resonates with what we at Panaya are doing in the ERP Testing space.

What do marshmallows have to do with ERP?

What do marshmallows have to do with ERP?

The original research was performed in Stanford University in the late 1960s by the psychologist Walter Mischel. In the experiment, a child is offered a choice between 1 marshmallow provided on the spot or 2 marshmallows if they waited for 15 minutes. In the video, the poor children grapple with the dilemma of instant gratification or self-control for a bigger reward. The study was intended to determine if the children who managed to have self-control, would have an improved life outcome.

So what has all of this got to do with ERP Testing? Well, we are all somewhat part of the “instant generation”, whether in our growing impatience when loading a web-page or even waiting for our laptop to wake up in the morning. The same applies when it comes to software testing. In an ideal world, we would be able to automate 100% of the required testing when introducing changes to our systems. However, when it comes to ERP testing, because of the frequency of change and challenges around data, only a small % of all the testing cycles can actually be automated successfully in a true “lights-out” approach.

I recently delivered a Panaya CloudQuality workshop for a customer in the US, and although the participants understood the “dream” of automation, they themselves realized, that for much of their testing (especially User Acceptance Testing), they would both need and want to actually execute their tests manually – and that any improvements in testing efficiency would provide the big advantage. It was here that Panaya’s Accelerated manual testing provided realistic value – whether in the spontaneous documentation of test evidence (Run & Document) or the seamless collaboration between different testers in a chain (Ready to Test).

There is no doubt that the instant gratification imbued in Test Automation has its place and value for a subset of the testing we need to do, but for everything else, if we have to wait for the 2 marshmallows, at least let Panaya help to accelerate the process!


Take a look at the Panaya Success Center and you can find detailed descriptions of the features that the customers I have visited are getting excited about!

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