Monday, 24 October 2011

“I have a Legacy System” is a lame excuse

Q: “why have you not written any automated unit test until now?”
A: “ look, we have a and complex big system. no one has written automated tests for it. it will take me too long to do it just now. I know its important but we have XXXXXXX so we cant do it now”
This kind of excuse, which sadly I hear way too often,  rate high among the “list of most lamest excuses”.
Don’t believe me?
How about this?
Q: “when are you going to cut down on your expanses and start saving money?”
A: “Look, I’ve already have a big mortgage on my house, and the cost of living has risen lately. So now is definitely not a good time to start saving. In fact since I just need to replace my car with a new one I’m just on my way to the bank to get an additional loan.”
or maybe this?
Q: “you know that you were diagnosed with high cholesterol, when are you going to start a healthy diet?”
A: ”you know you are right. But we are just entering the holiday season so now is not a very good time to start. In fact I cant wait for the family dinners, Health is not high on my family priorities, I’m guessing that’s why its so good”.
and this?
Q: “why aren’t you using a source control system?”
A: “well we have this big batch of code and its kind of a big mess. We thought about starting to use a source control, but it will take us too long to port our code into such a tool, and train all the developers. And you know we need to do XXXXXXX, so now is not really a good time”
Its Never too early to start
I think you got the point.
It all boils down to accumulating debt, technical debt in case of software development. That is,  you know you need to do something now. ASAP! But since  the effort involved seems to be high, you delay. You decide to take on additional debt, and with it comes additional interest. Causing you to do more rework and have less time and the monster feeds itself.
Face it, like most necessities in life there will never be the perfect time to do it. Test automation on all levels (unit,integration acceptance E2E,…) is not an option.  More and more teams realize that and do something about it. To stay competitive you will have to do it also, later will only make it harder. 
The fact that your system is big and complex is the real problem, Test Automation is one proven way to tackle that problem.


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