Ay, marry, is't,
But to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honoured in the breach than the observance.

Hamlet Act I, Scene IV

Quotation by Hamlet in William Shakespheare's famous play. It has been used to describe a situation or process that is illegal or discouraged, but because the rules have been so frequently broken it now has de facto legitimacy.

I recently put the term to good use in an e-mail:

  • This is a matter I had asked censored person to pass on, but given his absence yesterday, the lack of time available at the team leaders meeting, and the seemingly permanent postponement of any kind of PIR (post-implentation review), I'll just present my views here.

  • Could I get a consensus from the technical leaders of censored organisation that for future releases, analyst-programmers will not be fixing problems associated with test data loaded to censored system ?

  • We have seemingly surrendered to the notion that our censored file loaded test data will invariably have mistakes in them, and that good ol' Mister or Ms Techie will save the day by updating the censored system test data to the values as determined in the test matrix. I would like to point out:

    a) In principle, technical staff should be isolated from the SIT testing process.
    b) Updating censored system is risky - put one semicolon in the wrong place and you risk screwing up every test case using that authorID, including those belonging to other people.
    c) Technical staff are quite busy towards the end of a release cycle, and may not have the time to fix mistakes made by other people.
    d) When the technical staff member or business analyst checks the results of runs for data errors, the role of the tester in STC is made redundant.
    e) Not getting it right first time round causes delays for the testers receiving test results.

  • As the problem lies with business analysts not compiling test cases correctly, I believe this is where solutions should be focussed. My point is that the current practice of fixing up fucked test data is honoured more in the breach than in the observance. A straightforward prohibition of this activity will put more stress on the BAs to take more care.

Makes me sound pretty well-read.

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