Developers Testing Software, Take 2

Charles Adams quantum6013ATcox.net had the following comments about developers testing software.

In regard to “March 17, 2005 Blog Entry — Can Developers Test Software?” For me, your observations go back to the dynamic between verification and validation.

Verification

In my experience the developers have the verification mindset, “Does it do the job?” Most everyone who uses the software has the mindset, “Does it allow me to do my job?” And that is the essential difference. The job or requirements are dependent on what pair of glasses one wears. Developer, project manager, line manager, procurement official, program manager, and user all have different ideas about the software.

Validation

I hold the opinion that “doing the right job”, or validation, is much more important than “doing the job right”, or verification. Validation ultimately includes verification, but not the other way around. Unfortunately verification seems to be the tail that wags the dog, at least in government procurements and way too often in commercial procurements.

To me it seems that software craftsmen are not the only ones who do not look to the user. Jerry Weinberg in his QSM Vol 4, “Anticipating Change” quotes Witold Rybczynski:

“What did ‘getting it right’ mean in practice? To the classically trained architect it meant, first of all, pleasing the client or, in a broader sense, the user of the building (not always the same person). This unassuming, and to most persons obvious, requirement needs emphasizing in a period when architectural design has become a self-expressive pastime. The great Chef Carême said, ‘In matters of cookery there are not a number of principles, there is only one and that is to satisfy the person you are serving.’ If I were to quote his advice to my students, they would find it a hopelessly old-fashioned and intolerable imposition.”

Your comment, “A quick review of the most project dynamics indicates that everything can slip as far as delivery except the final ship date.” is only the beginning. I usually see final ship dates turn into the first of many unplanned ship dates, which begs the old question, “Why do we have time to do it over, but never the time to do it right the first time?”

Appreciations

I appreciate Charles for taking the time to read and respond!

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