CYA’s don’t

John McConda posted to the Software-Testing Yahoo Group yesterday, asking if it made sense to get rid of a test suite that took 2 people full time to maintain – yet never, ever, found a single bug, since he had been hired six months before.

This is my reply:

John McConda:
>I feel like the suite has been used as a parachute for
>some time, where if bugs get through to production,
>they’ve been able to point to it and say’ but look
>at all the tests we’ve run!”.

Ahh, Heusser’s First Law of Product Development:

“The desire to avoid blame is, if not the root of all kinds of evil, at least the cause of a many a death spiral on technology projects.”

Or, to quote Rich Sheridan of Menlo Innovations:

“If we ran hospitals like we ran software projects, the goal of the doctor would be – when the patient is dead, have a convincing explanation why it isn’t your fault.”

Or, Heusser’s First Law of Product Dev stated more succinctly:

“CYA’s Don’t.”

2 comments on “CYA’s don’t

  1. “The desire to avoid blame is, if not the root of all kinds of evil, at least the cause of a many a death spiral on technology projects.”
    Powerful “First Law of Product Development” and very frustrating to deal with…. Have you a further post on this? Have you a list of Heusser’s Laws?

  2. Hello Michelle, great to hear from you, and sure, if the muse strikes, I’d be happy to do a follow-up on the “flight from responsibility” I see in corporate America today – and what we can do about it. As for a list of laws, I really should start to write these things down. Hopefully, blogspot search can help. hmm …

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