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Improve Testing, Improve Software. Paul Gerrard Gerrard Consulting 1 Old Forge Close Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 2RD UK e: [email protected] w: t: 01628 639173. . . How to improve…. I want to improve my ( insert any activity here )

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improve testing improve software

Improve Testing, Improve Software

Paul GerrardGerrard Consulting1 Old Forge CloseMaidenheadBerkshireSL6 2RD UK

e: [email protected]: http://gerrardconsulting.comt: 01628 639173

how to improve

How to improve…
  • I want to improve my (insert any activity here)
  • _______ people improvement
  • _______ organisation improvement
  • _______ process improvement

Changing people (like me) and organisation (like my company) is so hard – let’s not even think about it

the delusion of best practice
The delusion of ‘best practice’
  • There are no “practice” Olympics to determine the best
  • There is no consensus about which practices are best, unless consensus means “people I respect also say they like it”
  • There are practices that are more likely to be considered good and useful than others, within a certain community and assuming a certain context
  • Good practice is not a matter of popularity. It’s a matter of skill and context.

Derived from “No Best Practices”, James Bach,

the delusion of quality management a la iso 9001
The delusion of quality management(a la ISO 9001)
  • Google search for
    • “ISO 9001” – 14,500,000
    • “ISO 9001 Training” – 13,100
    • “ISO 9001improves quality” – 1
  • ISO 9001 in a nutshell
    • “Document what you do”
    • “Do what you document”
    • “Do what you like”
  • ISO 9001 accreditation without reference to the garbage that is produced by the documented processes.
the delusion of process models e g cmm
The delusion of process models(e.g. CMM)
  • Google search
    • “CMM” – 7,260,000
    • “CMM Training” – 14,300
    • “CMM improves quality” – “1-6 of about 7”
  • Typical CMM user…
    • CMM level 3 and proud of it
    • Overall s/w quality, time to deliver is slipping
    • Changes to be made are obvious
    • But few can be adopted – they can’t change because they’ll lose their CMM status
    • What’s going on here?
people need process
People need process?
  • A big problem with process is it becomes all encompassing
  • Process folk sell process and cast all things in terms of it, forgetting that people who are smart, succeed in spite of process, not because of it
  • It could be argued, that less smart people need process
    • (By less smart, we're talking about people who need so much structure and enforced discipline they can only operate in the military, or in prison probably)
  • Is our industry really staffed by such people?
  • Do we really want production-line workers?
physics quotes
Physics quotes…

“I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy”

“It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong”

Richard P. Feynman

process quotes
Process quotes

“I believe that a process consultant looking at non-process problems is just as dumb as the next guy”

“It doesn't matter how beautiful your process model is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with reality, it's wrong”


section 3 example findings rapidly growing software house
Section 3 – Example Findings (rapidly growing software house)

3.1 Some Perceptions

3.2 Product Quality

3.3 Customer Management

3.4 Organisation and Methodology

3.5 Planning and Scheduling

3.6 Product and Release Management

3.7 Development

3.8 Developer Testing

3.9 System Testing

3.10 Support

need to adopt changes based on findings not idealised models
Need to adopt changes based on findings, not idealised models
  • ‘Whole-Process’ assessments not just testing
  • Recommendations aren’t just testing-related:
    • Could be a change in requirements/development/CM…
    • Could be a change in attitude, leadership, policy
    • Could be a change in organisation
    • Could be a change in emphasis
    • Could be an agile approach
    • Could be a novel approach
    • Could be a change in personnel
  • None of these changes are promoted by current testing models, but are almost always required.
  • You have to treat every change project as unique
  • You need to understand how things are
  • But you also need to understand the reasons WHY they are
  • You must listen to practitioners and managers
    • To hear their ideas for improvement
    • To align/augment ideas with the known constraints
    • To refine the vision to be something achievable.