downstream testing implies a policy constraint

As usual, it takes me multiple attempts to figure out what I really want to say, and how to express myself. Here’s a bit more discussion of what I believe is implied by downstream testing:

The very fact that downstream testing occurs, and is heavily consuming resources, means that management haven’t understood that such activity is waste. (If management had understand that, then they would re-organise the process and put the testing up front — prevention of defects, instead of detection.) No amount of tinkering with analysis or development will alter that management perception, and therefore the process will always be wasteful and low in quality. So the constraint to progress is management’s belief that downstream testing has value.

4 thoughts on “downstream testing implies a policy constraint

  1. @ Ashley:

    Clarke Ching emailed me the following answer:

    “Generally you don’t exploit a policy constraint. A policy constraint means that you are wrongly exploiting and wrongly subordinating to the true physical constraint. So, you still need to identify the true constraint […] then figure out how to exploit and subordinate.”

    So, having demonstrated that downstream testing can never be the bottleneck, we then need to go back to the flow and find out where it really is…

  2. Hmm, I’m confused. When he says a policy constraint means you’re exploiting the wrong physical constraint, does that mean as creators or victims of the policy?

    My first reaction (probably naive) in that if the perceived constraint is the downstream testing, either there’s a failure to communicate requirements or a failure to implement them correctly. Assuming there’s no policy in place to prevent developers writing tests (and I have worked somewhere where I had to fight for permission to use Selenium), maybe that means the true constraint is either an insufficiently-on-site customer, or inadequate BDD skills (and hence either inadequate training or self-learning time). I’m not sure though, I may have misunderstood.


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