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Re: [Axiom-developer] Software Checklists and Quality

From: Eugene Surowitz
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Software Checklists and Quality
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2014 16:24:16 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/31.3.0

Once upon a time in the land of HAL,
I had to nursemaid thirty systems that were to be
kept or brought up to a common level.
Since they had to intercommunicate,
level differences were not tolerable.

There was a multi-page list of procedure steps,
to be performed in sequence but was never called a checklist.

The most important thing experienced was that the steps
could never be followed in exactly the same way two times in a row.
Each update would vary something that required updating
and modifying the list.  Not the pilot's type of list.

But it did perform a form of knowledge capture and enabled
bring other people into the fold, which I think is what we
would like to do.

Cheers, Gene

On 12/27/2014 12:23 AM, address@hidden wrote:
I took flying lessons. My instructor was a complete fanatic about
checklists. I learned their value in that context. For example,

    Landing Checklist: Wheels down and locked?

Checklists matter a LOT. People do forget.

It never occurred to me that they could be applied to programming.
This article
expresses the idea that they ought to be applied in software.

There is a nugget of the checklist idea in the regression tests
but it isn't fully formed and reified as "checklisting". Some of
them are encoded in Makefiles but not in an explicit form.

Years ago I started a "release checklist" to make sure I did all of
the steps necessary to pre-check a new release. I thought of checklist
as a crutch for my bad memory rather than an encoding of knowledge.
I'm now trying to encode the list into a continuous integration system.

Given the blog post, I feel that the idea of an explicit effort of
creating, maintaining, and automating checklists could do a lot to
improve the quality of Axiom.



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