9 months Opinion Pieces

Ghosts in the Machine

Tonight is Halloween and no doubt we will see some scary characters lurking around our street corners as children (and sometimes adults) go trick or treating.

Much like the nasties that lurk in software applications.

These can also be terribly frightening - especially if left to fester, undiscovered.

  • If found before they really materialise, they might not bother you too much
  • If found during development, they can really make you jump
  • If found just before go-live they will really give you the creeps
  • And if found in production they can make you collapse with terror

Left undetected, the cost of fixing these ghouls can rise exponentially.

It is frightening to know that sometimes, risks that could have been mitigated at the very beginning of programmes - before years of effort and millions of pounds invested – can cause the demise of them.

Fortunately, we are starting to see that senior IT leaders are starting to embrace the true value of software testing and quality assurance much earlier in the development lifecycle - but it still does not happen in all cases. We are still seeing terrifying failures in the news all of the time. Quality is being sacrificed for the need for speed – but users and customers are expecting both. Statements such as “it won’t happen to us”, “we’ve got it covered” echo around.

To think like this and become complacent, has caused some high-profile shake-ups of late. It can happen to anyone and any company, and it can be catastrophic - with millions of pounds wasted, jobs lost, reputations damaged and sometimes, lives put at risk.

We’re ok with a bit of short-lived terror on Halloween but we don’t want it to continue throughout the year.

We want to be delighted with amazing experiences that work time and time again. We don’t want to find evil spectres casting their shadows over our banking applications, ecommerce websites or the software we use at work.

There are also more effective ways to exercise these demons, one of them being ‘ruthless Test Automation’.

This is something our Test Automation Architect - Jonny Fletcher, will be talking about this at EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference on the 14th November. It is clear from the title of this talk that it is a much nicer story:

“Chasing the Giant Rabbit: A Tale of Software, Automation and Outsize Bunnies”.

You can find out more and how to attend here https://bit.ly/2RseesO


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