The 'Just Testing Left' Fallacy

I am mindful that many of my blogs are descending into mini tirades against the various fallacies and general abuse of the lexicon of software development.

Humour me, for one last time (thats not true by the way).

In meetings, at the Scrum of Scrums, in conversation, I keep hearing it.

    "There's just testing left to do"
And then I read this:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/social-security-spent-300m-it-boondoggle

An all too familiar software development tale of woe.




I thought; 'I bet everyone on that project is saying it too.' Next to Water Coolers, Coffee Machines, at the Vending Machine, in meetings and corridors.

At first, it gnawed at me a little.

Then a lot.

Then more than that.

I have three big problems with it:

  1. It's just not true. There is not 'just testing left.' What about understanding, misunderstanding, clarifying, fixing, discussing, showing, telling, checking, configuring, analysing, deploying, redeploying, building, rebuilding and all the small cycles that exist within. Does that sound like there is 'just testing left?' When I challenge back and say, "You mean there's 'just getting it done left?'" I get an array of raised eyebrows. 
  2. Its an interesting insight into how an organisation feels about testing. The implication of such statements about testing might be extensions of; end of the process, tick in the box, holding us up, not sure what the fuss is, my bit is done, its over the fence. Most affecting for me is the inferred: "We are not sure what value testing is adding?"
  3. On a personal level, it's not 'just testing.' Its what I do. And I'm good at it. It involves skill, thought, empathy and technical aptitude. I'm serious about it. As serious as you are about being a Project Manager, Programmer, Sys Admin and the rest.

I wouldn't want to not look into the flipside of this argument (latest neurosis).

What about testers who say:

    "I'm just waiting for the development to finish before I can get started"
What are the implications here then? Perhaps there is less understanding of how damned hard it is to get complicated things to JUST WORK. Never mind solve a problem. I used to make statements like this. Until I learnt to program. Then I found that even the seemingly simple can be fiendish. And people are merciless in their critique. Absolutely merciless. Not only from the testers, from senior managers who used to be technical can't understand why it takes so long (mainly because they have forgotten how complicated it can get, filtering out their own troubled past) to build such a 'simple' system.
 

And if I start hearing; 'there's just QA left'...................

Comments

  1. PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) ® credential is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers. Recently I went for a PMP prep course by the training provider mentioned above, the instructor was too good and I passed with relative ease. Looking forwards to apply what I learned in PMP class in my company.

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    1. Personally projects as a means of organising ourselves are an anachronism and too selfish to be truly valuable.

      "Give a Project Manager a Project to do and they will ruin your company/culture to do so."

      Sounds like a successful endeavour eh?

      Delete

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