Has the Time for the Adversarial Organization Passed?

Gerard Meszaros, Independent Consultant

The concept of an independent test organization is considered a "best practice" by many experts in the industry. Is this degree of autonomy actually a good thing in the real world today? In such a structure, some testers can only play "Battleship" with the delivered software, shouting gleefully when they find a defect. On their first tours of Toyota's factories, American automakers were astonished to find no "rework area." Toyota engineers didn't subscribe to the approach of inserting defects on the production line only to remove them later in the quality control and rework area. Yet this is exactly what the independent test group excels at! Is it time to discard this organizational model and focus on working together with developers to prevent defects in the first place? Gerard Meszaros examines the sacred concept of independent test teams based on experiences from the agile software movement and Lean production systems. Both have shown that it is possible to replace the often dysfunctional, blaming relationship between the builders and the customers with one of mutual respect and cooperation. By applying the same "whole team" model within the technology organization, Gerard proposes to build quality in from the beginning rather than trying to test it in after the fact.

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