Whistling past the graveyard
monica914 060000WAY8 Visits (18804)
When I was a kid, we would either chant or whistle when walking or driving by a graveyard. According to Wiktionary, the meaning is clear:
"To enter a situation with little or no understanding of the possible consequences."
Or otherwise stated, an incantation can protect you from something you ultimately can’t avoid. I.e. one day, we are all headed to the graveyard.
I think about this saying a lot when talking to teams who say “we don’t have time to improve our <insert anything you like here>”. These projects are frantically working to get features out to their customers… once or twice a year. They can barely keep up. Teams are exhausted. They are pushed to respond to fire drills to supply a feature for a big customer. Or an escalation for some other big customer.
How can they be expected to do the work of implementing a continuous delivery pipeline, or unattended test automation or even test automation? That would mean taking time away from some feature that they have to ship now! I’m hearing this everywhere… conferences, forums, LinkedIn discussions.
Their product management teams are whistling past the graveyard. Decisions to not invest the time now to save time later is going to send them directly to that graveyard. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. And it’s going to be sooner rather than later.
Why is it different now? Well, first, it’s not different, it’s just worse. For over 20 years as a test automation engineer across a number of different companies, I would have these conversations each time I was directed to stop automating & to do manual testing to get a release out. But now, we are being pushed by our competition. The speed of newer companies (and no, they are not ALL “born-on-the-web”) is setting an expectation for all of our customers. And I mean IBM’s customers, but also the customers our customers serve. You need a fix to that mobile app? If it doesn’t come soon, you’ll uninstall it. You missed that TV show, you can just stream it. There is an expectation now that our users will have what they want when they want it.
And they don’t want it only one or two times a year. Period. So keep making the choice to do without investing in your infrastructure and eliminating technical debt. It might get you past the graveyard for a while (like whistling), but we all know how it’s gonna turn out. There’s still time though, to avoid the (product) graveyard entirely. Time to invest in the future and get on the Continuous Delivery train instead.