Currently there is a thread ongoing on the XP mailing list. Based on a rant from Nick Robinson, the discussion started about programmers that take pride in their work as opposed to programmers that just do that coding stuff. Today, Kurt Häusler wrote a reply in which he states his experience. You should go and read it – now – the initial rant from Robinson is in there, too. I’ll wait here for you to come back.
So, after having read Kurt’s reply, it struck me. At once it all started to make sense. Do you remember James Bach‘s two pieces on why quality is dead? Great! After having read his two pieces on why quality is dead, I was curious about the third part, which he hasn’t written so far – unfortunately. Over the course of the last year, I re-read Bach’s entry, and got finally in touch with him, trying to find out, why he thinks that quality is dead.
In fact, this is also true for software testing. The bug tracking tools in use, the communication tools for online chats with off-shore teammates, just pick your piece. One lesson I noticed over the course of the last four months spent in Weekend Testing sessions is that any additional tool you bring into the process is a possible source for distraction. Many tools once initially used make testers spent less time on testing. Well, this shouldn’t surprise me, as Weinberg wrote in The Secrets of Consulting about the New Law (page 141):
Nothing new ever works.
So, any new tool brought into the process will not work – at first. But, in addition, I noticed that testers get distracted from working around problems, having the urge to use the tool, while it does not serve their purpose. Of course, having build the tools on multiple components, that need twenty dependencies to be installed is a great way to distract them.
As a reply to James Bach’s quality is dead series, Robert Martin wrote about the software craftsmanship movement being called to live – claiming that quality is alive. In fact, Uncle Bob recently noticed, that testers are taking care in their profession. Now, today I noticed, that developers just as testers are taking pride in their work for maybe 5% overall. The other 95% consists of hacking together frameworks, and banging keys. So, I propose to take Jason Gorman’s approach on it, and lead by example, hoping the others will follow.