Friday, 31 July 2009

9000 hours of billing with no single bug found yet

In a discussion on Test Republic at Pradeep Soundararajan summarised the evil, immoral, corrupt dark heart of the commercial side of the testing profession so well I wanted to make sure his words were captured here so they wont be lost. The commercial reality is just that, a reality that we can’t escape but I hope we can generate amazing revenue while adding value and avoiding fleecing our clients. Too many consultancies have been sued because they didn’t – you know who you are.

Reply by Pradeep Soundararajan on July 28, 2009 at 6:17pm

Thanks for not posting it earlier. It gave me an opportunity to get you post it.

I do exercises in my exploratory testing workshop that demonstrates that those who seem to care so much about RBT aren't actually caring about it. As Michael Bolton pointed out somewhere in Test Republic that those who profess so much about documentation themselves don't bother to read and write good documents.

A good RBT requires skills that people appear to be reluctant to build. By saying that I don't mean, "Yeah, I have built it". I have been trying to develop it as much as possible and constantly practicing it so that I am prepared for a war anytime.

My perhaps more militant stand against RBT (the misuse of terms and vocabulary for ‘coverage’ aside) is because the Behaviour Driven Testing approach I advocate more and more these days focuses on behaviour relevant to the user. Ticking off Requirements against test cases is of no use to the user. Answering the questions above and formulating testing around them AND the requirements is. "

Exactly. You would call it misuse and businessmen would call it fair-use. I am starting to realize that the scripted approach survives because there is more money out there for business people through that.

Mark, outsource work to me:

I would spend a couple of days analyzing your requirement document and bill you for X hours per person involved in my team.

I would spend a couple of days writing a test plan document ( and not refer to it ) and bill you for 2X hours per person involved in my team for preparing it.

I would spend a month or two writing test case document ( and refer only to it ) and bill you for 10X hours per person involved in my team for preparing it.

I would then again create a traceability matrix ( just to fool you and your boss about our coverage ) and bill you for 5X hours per person involved in my team for preparing it.

18X hours per person involved in the team. Assuming X is 50 hours and there are about 10 members in my team, that's 18 * 50 * 10 = 9000 hours of billing with no single bug found yet. If you are paying $20 an hour per person on an average, you would have actually given me a business of $1,80,000 without me or my team finding any bug yet.

Then comes the test case execution cycles and more billing. Why wouldn't a businessman be glad about the traditional approaches to test software?

Lets bother about the users of your product later during our maintenance billing phase ;-)