Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cheap Pizza and Software Testing

Yes, pizza and software testing have a relationship, and not in the way you might expect. Of course, pizza is the fuel of any test lab (One of my friends said there were visible rings in one of the test lab tables where pizzas were often set!).

However, my mind is going a different direction.

In our neighborhood, we have several pizza places, some small mom and pop places, some large chains, some franchises. You probably have the same mix in your area. They have varying levels of quality. In fact, the "big name" is the worst by far. The smallest place was the best by far. The word "was" is because they closed this week, which really disappointed me.

What has happened over the years is that the price point for a "large" one topping pizza has reached $5. Anything over that is seen as "too much". Quality isn't a factor, only speed and price. So a race to the bottom has ensued.

Really, at $5 a pie, that's in the frozen pizza range!

I see the same thing in software development and testing. How much is "expensive" for an iPad app? $1.99?  $5.99?  $19.99?

How much is a bug worth? $1, $5, $5,000, $40 Million (If you are Nasdaq!)

How much are testers worth? (What if they really knew your business and were the glue that holds a project together?)

How much is a good developer worth? (What if they were crazy good, not "kings and queens of their domain" and your products were amazing?)

Pizza has become a commodity and unfortunately so has software development, testing and training.

How much is a really good pizza worth to you? I'll bet it's more than $5. How much would you pay in a place like Rome, or with a good friend or loved one?

Cheap pizza, like cheap testing gives a false sense of value. Cheap doesn't necessarily mean bad. However, cheap is often bad.  Value is good outcomes for a reasonable cost.

By the way, I would have gladly paid much more to keep my favorite place open. At this point, I must confess that I am part of the problem whenever I buy things on price over value. It fuels the problem.

As testers and software people, we need to provide value to a market that wants cheap and quick. When we stretch things too thin, we provide little value and even negative value at times.

Now...I know you all will suggest great places for pizza that is not cheap. Feel free. I travel a lot and keep a list. I just need a good place close to me!

I wish you all a very blessed Christmas and a very prosperous and healthy 2013!



Vik said...


Happy Holidays and new year 2013! I follow your blog and website and want to do ISTQB certification early next year and like the content very much.



Randy Rice said...

Hi Vik,

Thanks your your kind words and the same to you! We have some new things planned for ISTQB preparation in 2013, so stay tuned...