It is interesting to me how many people, pundits, whatever, mutter about whatever legislative system the citizens of the country they live in has to deal with.  It does not seem to make much difference where you live, the legislature – Parliament, Provincial, Federal, whatever – House of Representatives, US or individual State Houses or Assemblies – Senate, US or State – every legislature seems corrupt or broken or failing by some measure. 

Every few years a new crop of bright-eyed idealists run promising Reform – throw the bums out – make a change – represent… whatever.  And they start out great guns – NO one will influence them.  No “special interest” group will get their vote.  No one will corrupt them.

Except that is not how a lot of legislation works – particularly in the US.

People make compromises.  I’ll support your proposal if you support mine.  This can benefit both of our districts.  And so it begins.  Soon, they are being challenged by some bright–eyed newcomer talking about how corrupt they are.  But they are not the corrupt ones!  They fought the system and… challenged the status quo and… found out that the real world does not always work the way people want to believe it does.

In order to change the system, you must be willing to fly in the face of opposition.  You must be willing to be called an unending string of names.  Face accusations, and accusers, and know you are doing the right thing.

Why then, if this is what it takes to change the way legislatures work, do we not think that something similar must happen to change the way that so many organizations view testing?

We cringe at phrases like “QA this” or “as soon as this is QA’d.”  Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

We might object once or twice – possibly more.  Eventually, how many people simply give up that fight?

Then we get heavily documented test processes – the ones where we match test scenarios to requirements from the requirements document and we record in the exception document why we need more than one test scenario to test this requirement.  Then we make sure that all the steps and all the expected results for each step in each scenario align with the documented requirements.

Then we find that we are going to do more of the same.  Forever.  We spend more time documenting stuff than we actually do testing.  Then Managers and VPs and Directors scream about the cost of testing and how could we have missed the defects the customer is complaining about.

My dear testers… and QA representatives and analysts and specialists – if this describes your work world, you have no moral right to complain about legislators “selling out.”  You have as well.  You are in the same club.

When was the last time you were proud of the work you did?

What value are you adding? 

Consider this…