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Broken Windows

How the Broken Window Theory applies to QA Testing

Anyone that works in QA should be aware of the Broken Windows Theory.

The broken windows theory is a criminological theory that states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes.

While not directly related to Quality Software Testing, it's important to understand how "a broken window" can make people feel that the area is neglected and as a results, its quality has gone downhill.

I would suggest rewording the above, for QA purposes to:

The broken windows theory is a quality assurance theory that states that visible signs of bugs, anti-quality behavior, and poor usability create an environment that encourages further bugs and complexity, including blocking issues.

Broken Windows Pages

Read the article on The Atlantic - 100 Years of Atlantic Stories, Broken Windows, "The Police and neighborhood safety"

Thing Things QA should take away from the Broken Window story:

  1. Fixing the small bugs will give the appearance that the product is more stable - even though bigger bugs still exist.
  2. "If you take care of the little things, then you can prevent a lot of the big things"
  3. When testing functionality - everything matters. It's QA responsibility to document and report why issues should be fixed.

What do you think?

Have you read the "Broken Window" story? Do you think it has some message to QA engineering?



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