Testing Apple Maps—A Lesson for a New Generation

When the CEO of Apple has to apologize for such a terrible and buggy application, one has to wonderWhat was going through the senior managers’ minds when they decided to release it?

I would love to see the test plan for the new Apple Maps. Did the director of quality know about the issues? Did the director of quality assurance highlight the options to the other managers? Did the software testers go on a long vacation? 

For mobile application developers, this story is hugely important. Now that the furor has subsided a little, it is time to review what just happened. It will be discussed for years to come as a lesson for all. Which is more important—to deliver on time or to not deliver until it's ready? A new generation of application developers and managers needs to decide which view they are going to take.

Apple may be shouldering the blame, but who in Apple is shouldering the blame? I have to imagine that the senior managers wanted all of the features of Apple Maps delivered on time. Now that the damage is done, are they going to revisit their thinking on how to release applications?

Obviously the application needed more time to be ready; however, they could have released a version of the Maps that was basic and did the job correctly. Over time they could have released updates to the application that included the features they wanted—when the features worked flawlessly. 

So when the largest corporation on the planet can make such a huge and obvious mistake, then we may think it is okay to release buggy mobile applications so long as they are on time. This is a step back to the late 1990s when getting software out by the third quarter to impress the market was more important than delivering software that worked. Now Apple is on the back foot and chasing their tail to improve what has been delivered.

A new generation of application developers is among us. A word of advice: Don't let managers tell you when the software will be readyyou tell them when it is ready. Don't say it's ready when it isn'toffer options instead of unreachable deadlines. 

The test plan for Apple Maps, written by the test manager for that app, didn't say, "We are happy to release with high severity defects.” It started with good intentions to deliver a quality application. However, it seems a programmer or senior manager along the line decided to sacrifice time for quality. It is definitely a lesson for a new generation. 

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