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#1 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Quality Assurance: Your experiences

Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:48 PM

Ran across this comic:

Posted Image

And it made me realize how true that is. "Working as intended", "cannot reproduce", "it's a training issue", etc...

I didn't see any QA threads here, so I figured I'd start one.

We've done a lot of interviews lately, and I've learned that for all the devs out there that actually know how to interact with their QA team, there are plenty that have never even had QA for their work.

So, have you worked with QA? Do you learn to love your testers, or do you see each bug report as a personal insult? Do you have your own code words that mean "I'm not fixing this", or are you at their mercy? Do you have any funny stories to relate?

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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Quality Assurance: Your experiences

Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:09 PM

Worked with QA, was QA, and now I am my own QA and developer.. yeah.. covered the plan for that one!

Worked with QA - oh yeah.. most were great folks. A few bad apples. The bad apples would be people who fail to provide any information on what was going on, what actions they took, or what failed (outside of the test case)... or the ones that would purposely pick a project to reject a third of the test cases (typically at the end of the month) to make themselves look busy... or were stupid slow.. or thought they could over ride signed off system design specs late in the testing phase because they didn't like the work flow.

As for bug reports - nope.. not a problem. It just means I should have done better the first time, or 'shit - thank god someone was in a different mind set / point of view than me to catch that!'.

Though there are bug reports I hated - typically from 'bad apples' that didn't quantify what was wrong.. just 'there is an error', flagged it as high, and stopped testing the rest of the test plan.

"Working as intended" was a typical one of mine. Another was 'test for completeness' as I shoved it back into the QA queue to fish for more information. Another one I loved when a bad apple would reject a test section and start with "User research shows..." which means the tester didn't like the program's functionality and want it changed to fit their ideals - event if that means super late in the game. (No users would have been consulted).

I follow 'The Trenches' frequently.. solid comic.
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#3 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Quality Assurance: Your experiences

Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:42 PM

Funny story wise.. back when I was finishing up college I made the jump to the testing side thinking that would get me an in as a dev for the company (in short - it didn't).. but my 'department mentor' was a nice lady with oodles/eons of system knowledge but not much technical. A quiet and super nice lady. So.. a week in and I was tagging along for a 'qa/dev' meeting to review why test cases went wrong. The devs were a bunch of jackasses who shredded this lady, her testing, and generally decided to 'talk geek' above her to twist the knife a bit more.

I started to fidget, quietly asked her if this was normal, and she meekly said 'yes'. I had about enough and proceeded to explain (with screen shots) what was failing, why it was failing, and drove home some jabs about how seasoned devs shouldn't be making basic for-loop errors. Side note - this app's dev team's idea of error messages was to dump a chunk of the code, and some arcane error message, and maybe some exception text all in a text box to show the users .. so yes.. I knew exactly what was wrong.

The devs were shocked silent for a minute then turned on me with furious "how dare a QA person tell *US* how to write code!? What were my credentials?!".. I calmly got up, walked over to the window, pulled up the blinds, and pointed to my campus building across the way and informed them I graduated from _there_ a few weeks back. I gave them copies of their code they need to fix, a few long term running bugs (with some help examples of what they need to fix with those), and the meeting concluded.

The word spread that 'they [qa] had a dev on their side' and meetings tended to go a bit more civil afterwards.
Lesson - Bullies suck.



The other fun story was a year later when I was paired up with the 'chief regression tester'. He was using some automation testing tools as a glorified scratch pad and claimed, loudly, how he was the only one that knew how to use them.. though he never actually got the automation part working. We were on a quiet period so I dove into the help files, the websites, and the tools.. by the end of the week I had a pretty darn stable automated test plan, had it pulling from our excel test plan sheets (for test data), wrote the results back to said excel sheet (versus doing it by hand), and put the results in a pretty graph.

I mosied into my boss's office and asked him how he would like to get the automation testing done. He laughed and said it was a 'age old issue' that the 'chief regression tester' has put in four years on with no success. I asked him to swing by my desk later... Near quitt'n time he came over, already chuckling, to see what the green horn had to show him. After kicking off the automated testing I explained how the backend was a vb6-ish system and after recording the activity I can totally fine tune it. What took three full days of testing completed in ten minutes. Boss did a little jig, got the junior vp over to see it, and promised status built in my honor if I could do that for all of our regression testing by the next cycle. I did.. no statues though.. and the 'chief regression tester' wasn't quite aware what was happening until I was nearly done. He was not pleased, but continued to do it his way because "what if i missed something?!".

Lesson learned: spend time learning your tools, adventure out on down time, and look for a better way.
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#4 stackoverflow  Icon User is offline

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Re: Quality Assurance: Your experiences

Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:23 PM

If it's one thing I learned working as a developer it's I don't want to ever work as QA.

PS,

My code word for "I'm not going to fix that." is "Yeah, I am not going to fix that.". I don't mind bug reports-- assuming they are valid bug reports and not "working as intended."

This post has been edited by stackoverflow: 08 May 2013 - 10:26 PM

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#5 depricated  Icon User is online

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Re: Quality Assurance: Your experiences

Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:53 AM

My 'phrase' is "Perhaps we could add/fix that in the next iteration" or if it's something I have no intention of fixing "that's something we'll have to learn to deal with."

My Boss does my QA, and I do a bit myself - he's incredibly thorough and I appreciate it, even if it can be a headache at times.
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#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Quality Assurance: Your experiences

Posted 09 May 2013 - 07:45 AM

I've worked with QA on our current project, triaging their bugs, and before they came on to the project I was writing and running tests just to make sure that our team was keeping on track and we could make efficient use of people who would offer to help out on the project. (yes, we do get that around here - "I have some time this week, is there anything you guys can use help with?")
So I'm not a QA person, but I've spent some time in QA. Our QA team is very good at running through the tests that they're given to run through, as long as everything is spelled out in excruciating detail. They're not so good at figuring stuff out, which is a good and a bad thing. We want them to break the test that we wrote, not something else they came up with - on the other hand, a little initiative and explorative curiosity might make their work more effective.
One thing I've seen is that the best testers are never people on th QA team. Even the woman who handles audit compliance does a better job - she has no technical expertise at all, and doesn't claim to have, but she's smart and she can understand instructions and figure out what the instructions mean. If I were looking to handle QA for a firm, I'd probably avoid having a dedicated QA team and try to find a way to rotate people through the role. This would mean your QA would be more expensive - you've got a lead dev doing QA? WTF?? - but it would be done right, and from my experience that might well save money.
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#7 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Quality Assurance: Your experiences

Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:05 AM

That's right jon - folks who are users make great testers. Well most do; gotta find the ones that can rub two brain cells together and get a spark. ;)
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#8 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Quality Assurance: Your experiences

Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:37 AM

The way I see it, it's just a problem of management priorities. Testing requires the same sorts of skills that are required for development and design, but it pays at a rate more like the janitor, and gets about the same respect. So nobody who's qualified to do QA is likely to take a QA position - why would they?

This means that most developers are used to less-than-competent QA testing, so they get used to not trusting the reports, which diminishes the value of the exercise for all concerned. Personally, I love good bug reports - if you can tell me what happened, what you were doing, and show me that you've tested a few hypotheses along the way, then you're helping me make the product better, which means you're helping me do my job better, which means I like you lots. On the other hand, if you leave me wondering whether you even understand what the product is for or how it's meant to work, and it takes me an hour just to turn your bug report into a fixable item, then I'm going to be a lot quicker to reject your reports.
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