Q: When is a lobster not a lobster?
A: When the QA team hasn’t tested it
By Brian Gaudreau – President, PNSQC
I can think of few better scenarios for emphasizing the value of quality in the software delivery profession than the one I heard about recently — the lobster emoji.
Many of the representations of lobsters that you see are anatomically incorrect. Lobsters have 10 appendages. Yet even the logo for the restaurant named after a red lobster shows only eight, a mistake often made when images of the crustacean are produced. So, when the Unicode Consortium standards committee created the lobster emoji with the wrong number of legs, it raised the question: Where were the quality reviewers?
Let’s look deeper at decisions and impacts of this exercise:
- Large corporations and significant public leaders become lobbyists for the Consortium to consider an emoji that benefits their stakeholders. Senator Angus King of Maine hailed the “great news” that his lobby for a crustacean emoji was accepted.
- But joy turned to chagrin when the initial design of the lobster emoji had only eight legs instead of the anatomically correct 10 legs. A public outcry ensued. An org petition currently has over 5,400 signers to have the lobster emoji not only available but correctly limbed!
- The Consortium’s design was refined to include 10 legs and was followed by several blog posts announcing the decision and clarification that large companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google actually get to finalize how the emojis will look. Now Unicode’s design and implementation processes for its emojis are under intense public scrutiny–an embarrassment that Unicode could have spared itself if it had employed a QA professional to review its work.
While I applaud the change management in place at the Unicode Consortium to update their lobster emoji design prior to final release based on user acceptance testing, surely there is a cost involved in making things right once detected at the public side of the dice. A profession that can analyze and improve quality in all phases of the delivery lifecycle is more valuable in today’s landscape than ever.
I am proud of PNSQC and the role it is playing to refine and understand what is working and what can be improved in software quality. Add your vehicle “on the road to quality” and submit your abstract during the Call open right now and/or plan to attend the conference in October!