Testing? That’s what customers are for!


Many years ago, circa 1990, as I was starting out my professional career as a software developer with Mercury Interactive, I went on a customer call to a Silicon Valley-based software company, to present our new product for automated software testing. Apparently, our message did not get through, as the response we got at the end of our pitch from the company’s VP of engineering (who shall remain nameless) is the title of this post.

I don’t want to go as far as saying that this was the prevalent attitude in those days, but I also can’t honestly say it was atypical. Back then, many in the industry, especially in engineering roles, thought it was a reasonable process to develop an application, debug it as best you can, ship it, and then fix the remainder of the issues as they surface at customer sites. This, despite numerous studies showing it is much more costly to repair bugs found in the field than it is to find and fix them before shipping.

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