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How safe is your phone number?

  • 08/08/2012
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

As testers we have a gloomy outlook on life, with a start point that the software doesn’t work. That is our default position. As a group, we are never happier than when breaking something. However, no test team will always break everything that they are given, and as far as the organisation we work for are concerned, they NEED software to go live. As hard as we try to find reasons for something not going into production, software will be released. How confident are you that the delivered software will be problem free?

That is where ‘Brett’s Beautiful Boast’ is a useful plumb-line, to check on the quality of the delivery.

One place I worked, the Test Manager, one Brett Ignatius Gonzales, refused to sanction the delivery of any software into production until the whole team, developers, designers and testers, were willing to put their phone number on the line. Not just were all phone number made available but given on a 24/7 basis to the operations team. The operations team are as likely to phone at 03:00 as they are to use the number provided at 09:45 on a Tuesday morning. In fact, unless you cultivate good working relations with the Ops team, they could phone at 03:00 when the problem was known some 16 hours earlier!

So, could you use the 03:00 phone number test as entry criteria for promoting the code into Production? Don’t get me wrong, there has to be other criteria, but the 03:00 phone number test is very useful. Other criteria allow the exit from other stages of testing: no high priority open defects, the User Manual available and accepted, the UAT stage completed and signed-off. However, listen to this: ‘The project team are so confident in the software that they have all supplied their phone numbers to be used at any time should there be a problem’ was known as Brett’s Beautiful Boast. He had to work hard to get all to put their number on the line, but that was because we believed in the quality of the deliverables.

Does you software pass the 03:00 phone number test? It is worth considering using the phone number test to measure the confidence of the whole team in the solution. Until they all exhibit this confidence, it may be worth considering a delay in the release schedule.

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