The Ant and the Grasshopper – Application for product development

I’m sure everyone is familiar with some version of the The Ant and the Grasshopper (or הצרצר_והנמלה)

While talking to a Product Manager today, I was asked “How come we always end up without QA resources at the end of the version” and was reminded of this tale. Most projects behave like the Grasshopper. Focusing on Features like Summer is endless, building a QA debt through the project/release.

When the Stabilization/End Game/Hardening time/Winter arrives, they find out they have a problem. Think of each feature as a child Grasshopper. They bred a family they cannot feed through the winter. They have too many features to take thru hardening, in a fixed time. (Yeah, Yeah, the metaphor only goes so far…)

Alternatively, in Agile/Kanban projects, we want to be the ants, always thinking forward, always staying in a sustainable mode, where we have enough food to feed ourselves and family throughout the winter, and don’t breed too much that you won’t be able to survive (here comes the part where you say – a lot of ants do die, its part of the plan, etc. – I have an interesting comment on that – related to Lean Startup and Discovery cycle, for sometime else)

What I love when I see it, is teams that start to understand this, where suddenly its a problem of the whole team to prepare for winter. Its not just a problem of the QA team anymore. The whole team starts to think about how to prepare better, and how to setup the right pace of features that we can sustain through the project.

I say to you developers out there – “To help testing be more efficient today is to be able to work on more features tomorrow”.

Remember – its either you think testability from the start, or you end up testing anyhow, under pressure, without the ability to really do something useful to help you, just focusing on survival mode.