September 2nd, 2009 | Published in Google Testing
By James Whittaker
Sorry I haven't followed up on this, let the excuse parade begin: A) My new book just came out and I have spent a lot of time corresponding with readers. B) I have taken on leadership of some new projects including the testing of Chrome and Chrome OS (yes you will hear more about these projects right here in the future). C) I've gotten just short of 100 emails suggesting the 7th plague and that takes time to sort through.
This is clearly one plague-ridden industry (and, no, I am not talking about my book!)
I've thrown out many of them that deal with a specific organization or person who just doesn't take testing seriously enough. Things like the Plague of Apathy (suggested exactly 17 times!) just doesn't fit. This isn't an industry plague, it's a personal/group plague. If you don't care about quality, please do us all a favor and get out of the software business. Go screw someone else's industry up, we have enough organic problems we have to deal with. I also didn't put down the Plague of the Deluded Developer (suggested by various names 22 times) because it dealt with developers that as a Googler I no longer have to deal with ... those who think they never write bugs. Our developers know better and if I find out exactly where they purchased that clue I will forward the link.
Here's some of the best. As many of them have multiple suggesters I have credited the persons who were either first or gave the most thoughtful analysis. Feel free, if you are one of these people, to give further details or clarifications in the comments of this post as I am sure these summaries do not do them justice.
The Plague of Metrics (Nicole Klein, Curtis Pettit plus 18 others): Metrics change behavior and once a tester knows how the measurement works, they test to make themselves look good or say what they want it to say ignoring other more important factors. The metric becomes the goal instead of measuring progress. The distaste for metrics in many of these emails was palpable!
The Plague of Semantics (Chris LeMesurier plus 3 others): We misuse and overuse terms and people like to assign their own meaning to certain terms. It means that designs and specs are often misunderstood or misinterpreted. This was also called the plague of assumptions by other contributors.
The Plague of Infinity (Jarod Salamond, Radislav Vasilev and 14 others): The testing problem is so huge it's overwhelming. We spend so much time trying to justify our coverage and explain what we are and are not testing that it takes away from our focus on testing. Every time we take a look at the testing problem we see new risks and new things that need our attention. It randomizes us and stalls our progress. This was also called the plague of endlessness and exhaustion.
The Plague of Miscommunication (Scott White and 2 others): The language of creation (development) and the language of destruction (testing) are different. Testers write a bug report and the devs don't understand it and cycles have to be spent explaining and reexplaining. A related plague is the lack of communication that causes testers to redo work and tread over the same paths as unit tests, integration tests and even the tests that other testers on the team are performing. This was also called the plague of language (meaning lack of a common one).
The Plague of Rigidness (Roussi Roussev, Steven Woody, Michele Smith and 5 others): Sticking to the plan/process/procedure no matter what. Test strategy cannot be bottled in such a manner yet process heavy teams often ignore creativity for the sake of process. We stick with the same stale testing ideas product after product, release after release. This was also called the plague of complacency. Roussi suggested a novel twist calling this the success plague where complacency is brought about through success of the product. How can we be wrong when our software was so successful in the market?
And I have my own 7th Plague that I'll save for the next post. Unless anyone would like to write it for me? It's called the Plague of Entropy. A free book to the person who nails it.