Bug-related incentives to do work

Take a squiz at Jeff Fry’s article “Incentives for Developers and Testers“. I found the article from the same comment on the Google Testing Blog that he wrote it in reply to:

I have a simple question as a former-programmer, now business guy, between dev and QA.

Why not put pay performance targets on both sides as incentives per testing release?

In other words, each QA person gets $10 for each bug they find (up to 10, or whatever). Each development person gets $10 for the number of bugs not found under a certain target (10, or whatever).

Seems like an easy way to get people more motivated about the whole testing process.

When I saw the comment, my first reaction was pretty similar – “Ooh, there’s a dangerous thought”. Jeff’s article explains my reaction a lot better than I ever could, and further elaborates on the link between salary and job motivation (or lack thereof).

It reminds me of something Scott Adams once said about how the requirements given to the guys who designed the pyramids were probably just the area of the base, and the height of the structure. The Egyptians were probably expecting something in the rectangular prism family, and instead got the most efficient design to meet those requirements.

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