More Cowbell Please

I think Will Ferrel is one of the funniest guys in the world. There was a Saturday Night Live skit he did years ago about “More Cowbell” for “Don’t Fear the Reaper”…It was by far the funniest skit I’ve seen in a while. For some strange reason I was thinking about that cowbell skit…I guess it was in the context of a past blog when I was pushing for the team to start thinking and better yet implementing weekly test loops and monthly test plans outside of the scope of the PVT.

I wanted to talk more about that blog and why it’s important. Each SPE that’s on a product or project team is still trying to sort out their identity on the team. I’ve said the token line…”Each of you is the owner of performance and scalability for your product or project team!”…but the clarity behind what that means is still not there.

I’m not trying to answer that for each of you, but rather I’m trying to get each and everyone of you on the team to collectively answer this question. What I do believe though is that that our #1 goal has to be able to provide feedback to the development team. Feedback comes a lot of ways. It can come from reviewing requirements to escalating antipatterns to raising bugs to sharing performance test data. One big kink in our feedback armor is that we are not testing out of cycle. The times between cycles are simply too big or long, whichever way you look at it. They are too big from a change perspective and too long from a time perspective.

So I see more testing (ie: weekly test efforts and monthly test plans) as that cowbell. More testing leads to more analytics…More analytics leads to more awareness of our subsystems and use cases…more awareness of our product area leads to more feedback because we will be able to share with confidence our thoughts and concerns about the performance and scalability of our areas of ownership.

“I’ve got a fever…and the only prescription is MORE COW BELL!”



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