Thursday, March 04, 2010

Adding to Acceptance Testing

James Shore has sparked a lively discussion about sense and nonsense of acceptance testing. To be honest, my very first reaction to this piece of text was forbidding:

"Acceptance testing tools cost more than they're worth. I no longer use it or recommend it."

But James expanded on his statement in another post. And there he impressed me.

"When it comes to testing, my goal is to eliminate defects. At least the ones that matter. [...] And I'd much rather prevent defects than find and fix them days or weeks later."

Yes! Prevention generally has a better ROI than cure. Not producing any defects in the first place is a much more powerful principle than going to great lengths to find them. That's why I like the idea of inspections so much, especially if inspections are applied to early artifacts.

James also very beautifully laid out the idea that in order to come close to zero defects in the finished product, you need several defect elimination steps. It is not sufficient to rely on a few, or even one. Capers Jones has the numbers.

I'd love to see this discussion grow. Let's turn away from single techniques and methods and see the bigger picture. Let's advance the engineering state of the art (sota, which is a SET of heuristics). Thank you, James!