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4867RE: [XP] Role of QA

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  • David Brady
    May 2, 2000
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      <DISCLAIMER>I'm new to XP myself, so I speak for me, not for


      First let me say that it's good to have a(nother) healthy skeptic around.

      I have worked only in environments similar to the one mentioned by Michael:
      where management wants to push code out fast and QA is what comes up when
      management doesn't get what it *wanted* in that short of a time.

      My take on XP is that it's ABOUT quality. I don't stop work on a unit until
      I believe that it can't be broken. If you have no QA team, that's your only
      hope. If you have a good QA team, it's easy to get lazy and write lots of
      hopey code, because if it doesn't work, QA should catch it. In a better
      world--one I believe *can* exist, but so far haven't seen, and therefore am
      trying to create--the developers write the Quality, and the (good) QA team
      does the Assurance.

      In perfect XP, the QA team may be unnecessary. In my XP reality, however, I
      just don't trust myself enough to write perfect code OR perfect tests. I
      actually appreciate having someone around with the particular demonic twist
      of mind required to destroy my happy little programs.

      I'm looking forward to hearing more from you; you've obviously seen projects
      where QA was not just a waste of resources or abused as a crutch by
      development. I think XP is lightweight enough to integrate seamlessly with
      that kind of QA.

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Michael D. Hill [mailto:uly@...]
      > I've never seen an external test group produce a
      > problem report other than identifying an installation process that
      > doesn't cover all the angles.

      In theory, this is still a good thing. XP does a great job of preventing
      "holes in code" before they happen. But a good QA department would help you
      find the holes in your *thinking* as well:

      What happens if name is null? What happens if the user pastes 400k of
      garbage into that 10-character field (Overrun exploit)? This is reduced by
      Pair Programming, but having a full-time devil's advocate on hand--or a team
      of them--would help me sleep even better at night.

      Just my $0.02.

      David Brady
      Diagonally parked in a parallel universe
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