Update/Clarification My client understands the need for their in-house testing and he/they always swears they will "do better" (i.e. do something) but it just doesn't happen. They don't have the budget for outside testing. I guess I am asking (vaguely, I acknowledge) about what could instill a "test early, test often, test on target machines' ethos?
Question: how to encourage users to take the time to explicitly test and report issues with new releases, not to "test-as-they-go" in production projects.
Background: I have a small client for whom I have written a suite of multimedia presentation tools. They are a nice client and we have a good relationship. The project is on-going, adding features as we go along.
There are two issues I have:
Feature definition is done on-the-fly, often over the phone, subject to change, revision, reversal. (a bit of like Kennedy's "We will go to the moon and do the other things" – I've always been amused by the "other things" part of that)
Virtually no QA testing is done on their end.
I can deal with #1, more or less. This is not a client who would even read a spec before a meeting, let alone write up one. I'm used to it. It is item #2 which I have the issue with: they don't or won't test new releases. What they do is to use them for production so when bugs come up, they either find a workaround and don't report it, or they are so in a hurry to get on with the project, that bug reports are vague.
We have had many discussions about all this but I have only been able to nudge them a bit (e.g. we use github for issues tracking – though mostly I use it). The root reasons are twofold: they are a small consulting company and don't have (or don't think they have) the resources for testing (nor the budget to outsource it). And cultural: although they think of themselves as "developers" they really are just users of a multimedia software package. (e.g. they have none of the
obsessive neurosis attention to detail of "real" developers).
This affects me as you would expect: without feedback I can't tell if a feature is complete (see #1), or if there are other consequences. It also is making me a bit lazy.