Because Quality Is Job 2. Or maybe Job 3 or 4

It's the early 1990s, the Cold War is ending, and at the big defense contractor where this pilot fish works, everyone understands what that means: cost cutting.

"Management decided that there needed to be a consolidated Accounts Payable and purchasing system that would reduce the number of vendors and consolidate orders for better prices," says fish.

"This was a major effort to create a new system that contained the appropriate parts from the existing disparate purchasing systems for each division -- but without including the kitchen sink."

As usual, there are some political battles over which parts of the existing divisional systems are absolutely required. And, as usual, upper management has made savings commitments to the C-level executives -- and that savings has to show up in time for a particular quarterly financial report.

That means the deadline for rolling out the new system can't be delayed -- even as the project's requirements keep changing.

But as the deadline for software developers to release code to QA for testing approaches, the development manager comes up with his own workaround for that problem. He tells his team, "If it compiles, release it!"

And he's serious. If the code compiles cleanly, it goes to QA without even a basic test to confirm that screens will appear or reports will be produced -- never mind whether results are correct or data is stored properly.

The result: The development manager meets his release deadline and collects his bonus.

"On the flip side, the QA manager had all kinds of problems with the code not passing tests," fish reports. "His team did not meet their deadline and were shown as an example to the company, and presumably the manager did not get his bonus."

For Sharky, Job 1 is delivering true tales of IT life. So send me your story at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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