Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I was catching up on some Google alerts and came across an article on ZDNet:

40 IT failures caused by software bugs by ZDNet's Michael Krigsman -- Rick Hower, who runs the Software QA Test Resource Center has compiled a lengthy listing of “major computer system failures caused by software bugs” Here are several entries from that list: A September 2006 news report indicated problems with software utilized in a state government’s primary election, resulting in periodic unexpected rebooting of voter check-in machines, [...]

This article is a great source of justification. I've had my own negative experiences caused by inadequate testing (I keep harping on it, but 13 million corrupted rows in a production database is a bad thing - before my time, so I don't bear responsibility, but I failed in several related arguments about the level of testing needed).

This goes back to my post about levels of risk. If I'm an online web site, I need to devote more resources to my online transactions and account privacy than I do to my site UI. Yes, my site is my 'best foot forward' but all the benefit of a well-designed, well-implemented, well-tested site goes out the window the instant I'm hacked.

Business leaders just don't seem to get it... Testing is NOT about proving functionality. That's what IBM and Circuit City management kept pushing us to do. I had a 2-hour argument with an IBM dev lead my first week at Circuit over this very topic - I was trying to do too much negative testing (one case was too much, in his eyes).

Finding that leadership to influence from 'below' is a challenge. It takes patience and consistency--constantly reinforcing the value of testing. Articles like this one from ZDNet help, too. Unfortunately, many businesses refuse to learn from others' experience. Wisdom or Experience - we can learn from one or the other. Experience is truly an expensive teacher though!

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