The Day Best Practices Died

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Summary:

This week's column starts at the sad ending of Best Practices. What at first seems like a death caused by over exhaustion turns out to be caused by foul play. Author Dion Johnson investigates Best Practices' death and tries to figure out "whodunnit" by examining accusations and exposing dark revelations.

Ladies and gentlemen, today we gather to mourn the loss of a dear friend, Software Testing Best Practices.

A lady in the first row releases a loud, uncontrollable sob.

I know this hurts ma'am, because Best Practices meant so much to all of us.

No one is really sure how old he was when he died. Some believe he was born in the 1990s, around the time the trend toward process "maturity" began to gain popularity. Some believe he came into the world much earlier, during Edwards Deming's post-World War II work in manufacturing, or even during the 1980s when Deming summarized his quality principles in his "14 Points for Management." However old he was, Best Practices truly will be missed.

Best Practices has been credited with supplying methods and principles that contribute to effective, efficient product development. He's been called leading edge, and it's been said that his initiatives and activities have been shown in practice to be the most effective. Some might say that projects all over the world owe their success to Best Practices.

Oh, beloved Best Practices, you did not deserve this untimely demise.

A man in the back jumps to his feet and yells, "Murderers!"
 

Please try to remain calm everyone. We need to try to stay dignified for Best Practices' sake.

We need to . . . I think we . . . I, I can't do this anymore. I wanted today to be positive and a time when we could just reflect on the life of Best Practices and the good times he brought to all of us, but your outburst has made me rethink things. Your anger is justified. All of our anger is justified, and we cannot sit here and pretend that an injustice hasn't taken place. Best Practices was murdered!

We all know the culprits who participated in the beating that ultimately ended the existence of Best Practices. They are the Project/Test Manager, Software Tester, and Project Customer. That's right, the very people who claimed to be friends of Best Practices! May all of these Judases be held accountable for their actions!

The Project Customer is a ruthless fiend, and even saying his name puts a bad taste in my mouth. This suspect likes to play the innocent role but is responsible for ordering the hit on Best Practices. This villain refused to listen to reason when people explained that Best Practices was not meant to be applied blindly to a project. Sensible people implored the Project Customer to heed warnings that all processes and solutions need to be assessed in the context of the environment in which they are to be applied, but he wouldn't hear of it. He demanded that Best Practices be brought to him as is, despite the irrevocable consequences.

The Project/Test Manager, next in the chain of command, was responsible for luring Best Practices to the scene of the crime and for the cover-up operation. He ordered the documentation of processes, procedures, and templates such as master test plans and testing methodologies based on principles asserted by Best Practices. Then, when it was least expected, he ordered the Software Tester to begin beating Best Practices over the head!

"Oh, the horror!" someone gasps from the congregation.

And this is where the Software Tester fits into this diabolical scheme. This henchman has bragged since day one about his close relationship with Best Practices. For this reason, the Manager has Tester bring Best Practices to the project, trap him, and try to force him to work beyond
his means.

The Manager didn't give a second thought

About the author

Dion Johnson's picture Dion Johnson

As a senior test consultant and managing partner for DiJohn IC, Inc. and advisor to the Automated Testing Institute, Dion Johnson provides IT consulting services that focus on the overall system development lifecycle, with particular focus on the quality assurance, quality control, requirements analysis, and automated testing. He has presented at numerous SQE conferences and contributed to StickyMinds.com and Better Software magazine. In addition he is an editor for the Automated Software Testing magazine. Email Dion at dionjohnson@dijohn-ic.com or dionjohnson@automatedtestinginstitute.com.

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