IBM IOD Conference started with big bang today morning. Tomorrow, Atul Gawande will be the general session's guest speaker at IBM IOD conference 2010. He has long list of accomplishments, but did you know he also contributed to Informix v11.70? Here's how.
When we were starting v11.70 work, I saw his interview with Charlie Rose where he was talking about simple checklists saving lives in hospitals by reducing mistakes in routine things like proper installation of IV lines. He had written an article on it in New Yorker, was discussing results of world wide study of results using 90-second checklist for surgery. Here's a quote from the article: If
a new drug were as effective at saving lives as Peter Pronovost’s
checklist, there would be a nationwide marketing campaign urging doctors
to use it. Later in 2009, He wrote the book , The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right.
Within Informix, we've had checklist for a long time(e.g. what all the code to make when we do parser changes), but didn't have a feature wide checklist. In analyzing customer bugs for the last few years, I had observed, even
though we try to cover all cases between unit, functional, integration,
stress and interoperability testing, we do miss some cases and
combination. We would depend on the requirements, design and test specs and their review to catch all scenarios. At the start of Informix v11.70 development, I created a simple checklist, that started with something like this.
We added all the statements from ALLOCATE to UNLOCK, all major features which would bring new scenarios (MACH11, Enterprise replication, Administrative API, etc), all the tools, and other features planned for v11.70. Development, QA analyzed these from requirements (both externally visible and engineering requirement), design issues that may crop up in that combination, what relevant tests are necessary for that scenario.
Every checklist analysis yielded new scenarios to consider, decide what should be the requirement, do design to include scenario and test in house. We saw improvements internally in scenarios we caught and addressed before we released the product. Hopefully you've tried Informix v11.70 by now and hope you see the improvements to the product and quality. Checklist is not an alternative to good requirement collection or good design, but it helps doing things right.