Perceived vs. Objective Quality

I recently heard this story, but I can’t recall who told it to me. I don’t have proof of its veracity so it might be apocryphal. Nevertheless, it illustrates an important point that I believe to be true independent of the truth of this story. As the story goes, in the late 1990s, several Microsoft…

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Data Driven Quality

My last three posts have explained how test lost its way. It evolved from advocates of the user to a highly efficient machine for producing test results, verifying correctness as determined by a specification. Today, test can find itself drowning in a sea of results which aren’t correlated with any discernible user activity. If only…

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Halt and Catch Fire

I just finished watching the first episode of the new AMC show called Halt and Catch Fire.  The name comes from an old computer instruction which would stop the machine immediately.  The show follows a small Texas company trying to build IBM PC Clones.  The company and the people are fictitious, but it seems to…

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Test Has Lost Its Way

In a blog post, Brent Jensen relays a conversation he had with an executive mentor. In this conversation, his mentor told him that, "Test doesn’t understand the customer." When I read this, my initial reaction was the same as Brent’s: "No way!" If test is focused on one thing, it is our customer. Then as…

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A Brief History of Test

In the exploration of quality, it is important to understand where software testing came from, where it is today, and where it is heading. We can then compare this trajectory to the goal of ensuring quality and see whether a correction is necessary or if we’re going the right direction. I have been involved in…

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