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Grand Designs and performance testing

My friends and I love Grand Designs! I don’t really know why but we always seem to be talking about it. Last week, for instance; instead of talking about the weekends big rugby game, we were talking about one of the creations made on the show. Last night was no different. In my WhatsApp group, one of my friends mentioned how a Japanese style home was built in the Wye Valley. A classic east meets west encounter, I had to watch.

To cut a long (but enjoyable) programme short, a British chap and Japanese lady met in Japan, fell in love, married and now reside in Wales. They wanted to redesign their home incorporate traditional Japanese design into the build. Like all classic Grand Design episodes, the couple had a limited budget and no experience of building or project management. To make matters even more complicated, the couple were using an out of date architecture plan and had no definitive version of how the house should be finished.

The couple plodded along with their project and fixed problems as they came across them. Unfortunately, they found lots of problems and their build dragged on due to the constant stoppages. I felt sorry for them, as they had such as positive outlook but they seemed unprepared and could have wasted less time if they had planned more.

One particular moment exemplified  their lack of planning. They had forgotten to add a lip above the window frames; so whenever it rained, water would seep into the window cladding. To rectify this problem, a joiner had to carefully cut into the wooden window frames and add a lip over each of twenty seven windows around the house. A dangerous job, the joiner cut himself with his circular saw.

It was at this point that it struck me. Many of the problems the couple faced are the similar to those that businesses have with testing.

Businesses need to plan more and test sooner. When talking to the testers at Trust IV, their single biggest qualm is when performance testing is not done soon enough or is done as an afterthought. It’s a very basic concept; the later you test in your development lifestyle the more it will cost you. If you get to the point where you eventually release your software or application and it fails – you are looking at even more pain both financially and in terms of reputational damage.  Using our couple from Grand Designs, their inability to plan has cost them; time (to move in), money (more than they had budgeted for) and a whole lot of pain (ask the poor joiner). If you're in business, you don't want to be like them! 

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