And That Word Is Risk Compensation

A recent reader writes about his experience as new QA where none was before:

It seems like the longer the developers rely on me as their only real dedicated tester, the lazier they get.

Engine Developer: Now makes changes that impact every single portion of the program as if it’s nothing, then asks me to “TEST EVERYTHING!”
Web Front-End Developer: Routinely forgets to verify changes made across all of our supported browsers, introducing simple bugs he’d notice if he actually tested across all five that we support.
Java Developer: Changes the Java Web Start launch routine, and fails to test his change and notice that he broke it right before going on vacation.

That’s called risk compensation.  It also explains why, although cars are getting safer with stasis fields and whatnot, people still die within them.  They factor in the safety of having them, and then drive faster while drinking Red Bull, vodka, and whiskey (or whisky if you’re driving on the left side of the road).

When a bunch of developers who never had QA suddenly get a tester, they throw off the shackles of whatever sort of unit testing, compatibility testing, or feature testing they had done and just leave it to the poor besieged new guy.  This approach, of course, means that this guy is doing part of the developers’ work in addition to SQA as it should be, and it also means that more crap will get through the net than would have if the developers had spent a minimum of time making sure that their work didn’t fail the most basic checks.

But I understand it takes a lot of developer brain cycles to RT a bon mot from another developer.

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