Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Priorities Tango

Much as I respect my employer, they really need to work on their priorities. Somehow, when it comes to the eternal squeeze between the irresistible force of late delivery (usually for very good reasons) and the immovable object of hard delivery dates, we testers end up with the wonderful situation where everything is higher priority than everything else.

We end up doing bug triage tango, deciding whether or not the app exploding in your face and selling your soul to Hell is a critical issue - and sometimes it isn't. Sometimes, we have to ship because the previous release also exploded and sold your soul to Hell, so it's an existing bug and therefore isn't getting fixed for this release.

Do we like it? No. The programmers probably don't like it either - we don't usually have time to ask them when we're churning bug-fixes.

Of course, better planning and prioritization at the front end might save us from this kind of thing - but with a multi-million-line codebase going back over 20 years (yeah, like any established software) - these crunches accumulate and get nastier each time they happen.

Of course, by now I think Hell owns our souls and our customers souls several times over, courtesy that bug that didn't get fixed. The argument over who actually gets what when soul payment comes due should be interesting.

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