Annotated Joel on Software – (Bad) Reasons not to test

Now it is my turn!
I have the honor to disagree with Joel. I’ll pick up an easy subject: Private walled offices. 

Joel says that nothing improves morale and efficiency like private walled offices. I’ve worked in both way, and in two occasions companies I worked switched methods (from closed environments to open spaces) – in this experience, the gains of working on wall-less and open spaces are visible. Suddenly, everything is quick and everything is clear. No more leaving things to deal later. No more company-wide procrastination.
My advice: break those doors and those walls.

Everybody loves Joel.

Everybody loves his articles, his jokes and his books.
More than that, people love to disagree with him, so they can look smart and judgmental. The funniest part is seeing the judgmental faces they do.

In 2000, Joel wrote a cool article on “Top Five (Wrong) Reasons You Don’t Have Testers“.
He’s got some great information there, and in this post I’ll just comment it (see the ‘Annotations’ tag?).

Ok, so go on (link) and read the paper.
In his paper, Joel debunk 5 miths of companies who won’t hire testers:

  1. Bugs come from lazy programmers.
  2. My software is on the web. I can fix bugs in a second.
  3. My customers will test the software for me.
  4. Anybody qualified to be a good tester doesn’t want to work as a tester.
  5. I can’t afford testers!

Joel has intelligent advice on the first three points (you’ve read them, right?), so I’ll not discuss them. As for the last two… lots of comments!

Regarding point 4, Joel’s article is a bit outdated.

  • Joel says that “most people who are that smart will tend to get bored with day-to-day testing, so the best testers tend to last for about 3 or 4 months and then move on“, and gives some ways to make your testing scene look more inviting.
    C’mon! If your testers become bored after 3 months, you are probably hiring the wrong people. Good testers are passionate about tests, and know what it takes to be a tester. They know the work can become boring if they let it, so they manage the work in a way it will never be boring. Good testers are built for testing, even before you hire them.
    Myself, I started to work on testing out of curiosity, after a few years of development. Man, this is fun! The analytics mindset of a tester cannot be compared to the algorithmic mindset of a developer. They’re two different things, that level on the same job-satisfaction. Humm? What do I mean with Passionate Testers? Read the blogs of Braidy Tester, and of Pradeep, you’ll know what I mean.
    So, Joel, hiring those non-traditional workers as your test-base will just give you big turnovers and you’ll never gather that cool techie testing group that laugh about bugs found.
    A funny quote from the article: “Recognize that you will have a lot of turnover among your top testers. Hire aggressively to keep a steady inflow of people.“. I doubt anyone would treat the development team like that. It should not be different in the testers team – – recruit a winning team, treat them like kings, and you can expect them to serve the company for years to follow.

Last point, point  5. Again, not a very accurate/scientific approach:

  • We can summarize Joel’s reply in this point as “Don’t skimp on testers, because you can find some cheap testers”. That’s the same as saying “Don’t skimp on Customer Service, you can hire any outsorced company on India to answer your phones.”. Ahh! Doesn’t make that much sense now, does it?
    The real reason not to economize on testers is that bugs and defects will cost much more than your testing team if you don’t test. If your customer find a bug, one of these which you could have avoided, the sum of costs of all the activities related to fixing and re-releasing your product is big – – very big (not to mention the harm to your reputation!). If your software is a shelf-product, it is even harder and expensive. If you are on hardware, the mere thought is making you pale.

Of course, I am not expecting any answer from Joel, but I like to believe that he agrees with me. :)

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