Most managers seem to believe that if you automate every manual test, then you reach "Zero Defects." Many failed...
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projects are due to "biting off more than you can chew." Automation projects should be designed in phases.
Phase I: Proof of product and application under test (AUT). Can you automate it? Complete Phase I first and make sure you are ready to continue down the automation path before continuing.
Phase II: Automate deeper using a AUT functional or component approach. Use a subset of tests and when they are running correctly, build on this as a foundation.
Phase III and more: Continue automating deeper, making sure the previous phase deliverables still function. Then spread the word -- show the results and reap the benefits.