[MUD-Dev] Quality Testing

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Tue Oct 16 20:32:53 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


John Buehler posted  on Monday, October 15, 2001 12:25 AM
> Dave Rickey writes:

>> Our QA process was pure blasphemy: Everyone was expected to track
>> and fix their own bugs.

> I find it remarkably scary that this is considered blasphemy, even
> said tongue in cheek as I assume it is.  I started my career at
> DEC, and while there, we had very strict responsibilities.  As a
> developer, you were responsible for coding and testing your area
> of functionality to make sure that it worked.  You knew the
> boundary conditions, you knew the mainstream scenarios, you knew
> the performance expectations/requirements, etc.  When I moved to
> Microsoft, I was aghast at the casual attitude of many engineers
> about writing code shoddily and then assuming that testing would
> pick up the bugs.  It's the kind of thing that makes you fall out
> of your chair.

Hmmm, I ran in testing circles and have a few years of experience
under my belt as both project manager of web design and the
corporate culture.

Dave's right -- it is blasphemy.  It's a very dangerous way to go.
Because this system generally assumes that every programmer is a
mature, responsible adult who will do everything he or she can to
ensure a fully functioning product.  Dave's team was obviously
solid, capable, and unilaterally motivated to make the game a
success.

This works on a smaller level, because it's pretty easy to spot the
guy who doesn't give a crap.

Quality initiatives, Six Sigma testing, et al, exist because -- to
be frank -- sometimes people don't like their jobs.  So they do very
poor jobs.  The larger the group, the more likely this is going to
happen.  This is why you need testers, trained testers, to beat the
living daylights out of the best (and worst) your team has to offer.

Of course, it's hard to admit a QA department is necessary or
appropriate, as it's admitting you are creating a flawed process
before you even start it.  Which is, of course, how half the
travesties that are MMORPGs get made.  Things that are obvious to
players are horrifying surprises to their creators, who of course
self-tested the whole thing (and didn't see what they didn't see).

It's entirely possible to have a rigorous, useful QA process.  It is
also entirely possible to have an effective team without a QA
process.  Neither are absolutes.

Mike "Talien" Tresca
http://www.retromud.org/talien

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