9.8. "You Can Tell the Pioneers"... The Effect of Early Adoption on Test

As the saying goes, you can tell the pioneers in computer technology by all the arrows sticking out of their backsides. Whether they represent the first of a family of CPUs, a new way of connecting peripherals, a new generation of software, or a faster telecommunications process, complex software and hardware systems just never work as advertised early in their life cycles—a fact that creates major headaches for test managers.

As you might have noticed, sales and marketing staff love to have the latest technology bundled in their products. Nothing makes their hearts beat faster than to be able to say to a prospect or print in an advertisement, "We're first to market with this supercalifragilisticexpialidocious technology, and you can only get it from us!" Don't get me wrong. I appreciate sales and marketing people, without whom I would have far fewer job opportunities. And, in fact, they are right: being first to market with exciting new technology can make a huge difference in a product's success and, by extension, the success of the company.

Nevertheless, there's a price to pay during test execution for trying to evaluate this stuff before it is in wide use. It should come as no surprise to any test manager that some companies release products before they are fully tested and debugged. This is just as true of your vendors as it is of your employers. New products contain bugs, some subtle, some glaring. ...

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