Do Engineers Use Their Software?

As a software and product development project manager I always find it interesting when other's write about developers/engineers testing their code. I just read a brief post by J. Rothman: Do Engineers Use Their Software?. I know, I know – it's a touchy subject. A lot of the time there is such a schedule crunch that dev's barely have time to check an update in before the next scheduled build, and test/QA is often pushing for the code ASAP so they can get a head start on preparing test cases or updating automated smoke tests. However, far too often we see sub par code simply tossed over the wall with no thought of going beyond a few clicks on the engineers dev box. How worn out is the phrase "It works on my box." and how frustrating is it when a capable coder continues to churn out sloppy code or considers it QA's job to run the first pass? When did accountability for complete functionality, including, at a minimum, a first pass, and personal quality stop counting, and when did "good enough to get by" replace the desire to be the very best at what you do? I know, it sounds like I'm picking on developers today and perhaps I am, but only the sloppy Joe's that rip through a task and head for the door with no thought on ensuring the code will integrate successfully, or even function, for that matter. For all of the brilliant engineers out there – I salute you! It's a dirty job and you do it well! Now I'll step down from my soap box and refer a great post from J. Rothman: Do Engineers Use Their Software?, which is what brought my diatribe on. Check it out:

My friend and colleague, Stever Robbins, has started a blog, and one of his early posts is Are engineers living on another planet? Don'?t they use their software?

Unfortunately, not always. It takes self-discipline and the desire to look for problems to cause people to create systems that allow them to use their own software. If a project team only builds once a week, they're not going to use their software. If they fix a bunch of defects at one time, the testers can't do a complete install and test pieces in isolation. Instead, the testers need to install the whole darn thing and test everything together.

The current phrase for using your own software under development is "eating your own dog food." (Anyone know the origin of that phrase? I'm fairly sure I was using in the 80's, before Microsoft popularized it.) It's not easy to use the product under development. And, it's a great idea.

Direct URL to post: http://www.jrothman.com/weblog/2006/04/do-engineers-use-their-software.html

Thanks to Johanna Rothman for the great info and check out the post she references: Are engineers living on another planet? Don'?t they use their software? for another interesting view point on the topic. As always your comments are welcome – Enjoy!

source post: Raven (http://spaces.msn.com/members/ravenyoung/)

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