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Pursuing quality is a lofty goal, and a good theme for this conference. But just because you are bent on pursuing it, doesn’t mean that you will necessarily achieve it, for a number of reasons:
- quality of software (at any realistic scale) is not achievable by any one person, be they a developer, tester or manager
-testing cannot instill quality into a software product, it can only indicate or measure what quality is already there
-because testing is infinite, it can never be finished, so how can you know about the quality of testing?
Does this mean that we should abandon the pursuit of quality? What should we pursue instead? Mediocrity? Rubbish? Nothing at all?It can be worthwhile to go after something even if you know that the ultimate goal is unachievable, because you may well achieve more than you would have done otherwise. But how do you know that you are moving towards quality?
Here are some things that don’t work:
-the “lone tester crying in the wilderness” – one tester bemoaning the lack of quality or desire for quality by everyone else
-an antagonistic approach (“I’m better than you, I’m on the side of quality! – and I can prove that you’re not!”)
-vagueness – yes, we want quality, but I can’t tell exactly what it is, but I think I’ll know it when I see it. (And by the way, this isn’t it yet)
Here are some things that do work:
-cooperation with other people – together we can achieve more than any one person alone
-communication – a necessity in working with other people, but there are good and bad ways of communicating
-making quality goals specific enough to measure whether they have been achieved or not
-taking small steps in the right direction