Corporate bureaucracy and testing

This is a four part series about the bureaucratic mess that so many corporations became embroiled in. Social and political skills become more important than competence, with potentially damaging consequences for testing. I had originally envisaged this as a simple, single essay. However, the deeper I immersed myself in the subject the more I became convinced that this is a hugely important topic. Understanding why bureaucratic corporations act the way they do is essential if we are to try to deal with the problems that arise. I therefor decided to set out my analysis and arguments in more detail. It could have been much longer! There is a potential book in this subject.

In my first post “Sick bureaucracies and mere technicians” I talk about Edward Giblin’s analysis back in the early 1980s of the way senior managers had become detached from the real work of many corporations. Not only did this problem persist, but it become far worse.

In my second post, “Digital Taylorism & the drive for standardisation“, I explain how globalisation and technical advances gave impetus to digital Taylorism and the mass standardisation of knowledge work.

It was widely recognised that Taylorism damaged creativity, a particularly serious concern with knowledge work. However, that concern was largely ignored, swamped by the trends I discuss in my third post, “Permission to think“.

I finish off by attempting a a more optimistic conclusion in which I offer thoughts on how testers in large corporations might respond to the trends I’ve described, how smaller firms might respond, and I raise the possibility of a framework of guidelines that might provide the reassurance that is falsely offered by ISO 29119.

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