Saturday, May 31, 2008

Introducing Developer Testing Into an Existing Team - Project Manager Thoughts

Last time, I posted our developer's thoughts on the answer to this question: What was the tipping point for you that helped you decide automated developer testing was a worthwhile thing?

Here's what one of our project managers thought:

dalesmithtx: I've asked some of our developers that question, but I'm curious about your perspective as a project mangler, err..., I mean manager

 Project Manager: The past weeks on [our current project] have shown the value

 Project Manager: for sure

 Project Manager: The challenge is getting the business folks to agree on that value

 dalesmithtx: What value have you been able to see?

 Project Manager: We saw that we could refactor and not miss a beat

 Project Manager: assumes that your project is going to have time to refactor. When you only get one shot at integration testing that's a challenge

 Project Manager: too often we follow the path of (1) code in silos (2) come together for a few days of integration (3) jump into QA

 dalesmithtx: right

 Project Manager: in that case the value goes way down because any refactoring the team does is in their spare time as they fix bugs and prepare for launch

 dalesmithtx: Do you think you are going to be able to sell it to the business folks?  Or do you see a need to do so?

 dalesmithtx: (from my perspective, as long as they're getting sausage, why do they care what happens in the sausage factory?)

 Project Manager: my last point was it still has value on the NEXT project or even the next hotfix. It increases your chances for quality follow on releases

 dalesmithtx: sure

 Project Manager: understood but if they KNOW about it they are going to fight to give you less time as you're doing work that could be cut

 dalesmithtx: I dig what you're saying

 Project Manager: If you just build it in and don't draw attention to it ... then yes

 Project Manager: build it into the schedule I mean

 dalesmithtx: At some point when we have an hour or so, I would really like for the [our current project] and [our other current project] teams to sit down and talk through a "lessons learned" session on this stuff

 dalesmithtx: Not so much a post-mortem specific to our projects,...

 Project Manager: right

 Project Manager: a technical seminar sorta

 dalesmithtx: But a post-mortem about the development techniques we used in an agile setting and in a waterfall setting

 dalesmithtx: pros and cons

 dalesmithtx: right

 Project Manager: yep I mean it had a cost in [our current project] but since the work so far has been so lop-sided on the UI side compared to the rest of the engineering folks, we had time

 dalesmithtx: right - that's an important point...

 dalesmithtx: I want to claim victory, but I want to claim it on solid ground, not by hiding behind latency elsewhere in the project

 dalesmithtx: I guess I'm looking for a real measure of the value that developer testing has brought to us so far, and what we think we need to change if we expect to get more value out of it on future development

 Project Manager: ok

 Project Manager: yeah I agree I don't like hiding tasks

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