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However, the answer is very dependent upon the group that you are going to work with. Even though automated tests are worth the investment in nearly every situation, how you explain it will not be the same. You're going to need to see how people are doing their work now, how they mitigate risk, how successful they currently are at mitigating risk, what the cost of their efforts are, etc, etc. You're also going to need to see the people involved and chat with them about their attitude towards testing and try to understand what kind of challenges you will have to move in that direction. Because it is entirely possible that you will say, "OK, let's all write automated tests" and spend a huge amount of time and money only to find that 3 out of the 5 team members refuse to do it and sabotage your efforts.

My answer to that question would be, "I will be very happy to. My rates as a management consultant are $X per day." :-)

I think they may have been looking for the longer paragraph you wrote (I would be - to see how you would tackle the problem and get a conversation flowing), not for an actual answer you eventually gave. The wording of the request was unfortunate, IMHO - it did make it sound like "help me influence my boss" first and foremost.

Or, "That sounds like a fun challenge! Can I ask you a couple questions to better understand how this company is structured before answering?"

Just saying you don't have enough information to formulate a plausible response doesn't make a very good impression from my experience.

They're asking you to qualify yourself and so you need to know where you fit into the equation.

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