About a month ago a friend of mine named Peter Childs wrote an insightful blog post called Learning to Code, in which Peter describes what it is like to jump into a developer’s shoes. Peter has plenty of experience working with software developers, but this is the first time that he has coded a website all by himself. He is not limited by ideas or expectations, in fact he has plenty of both. So for Peter, a simple word press & theme just wont do. He envisions web 2.0 with all the fixins & media. He has been adapting and coding his ideas for a few months, and Peter has found out that with code, the devil is in the details.
My favorite part of his post is the end where Peter states,
“Oh! And to all those programmers that I antagonized by asking “how hard can it be” when some business pressure meant a 90 degree turn in code – I apologize. I now know software happens at the level of details not concepts.”
I have worked on a few projects with Peter, and he should rest assured that he is not the only one to have suggested a 90 degree turn in code. Also, Peter should know that his revelation will offer coders insight on how our non-coding coworkers view software development. I now know to simply remind my requirement suppliers that the details are not as flexible as the concepts.
However; The point of Peter’s post is a little broader than the coder/business dynamic. Peter has shared some new found respect, and I feel that I have had an experience in which I can do the same. For the past few days I have been dedicated full time on web app QA and managing our bug system. It has been a race to the finish line, and the other developers are working very hard to deliver top quality which I must somehow measure. I realize how challenging it is to be the QA gatekeeper for a team of developers. Every feature and change requires me to race to complete a number of feature and regression tests. [And don't forget about cross browser testing.] This task takes great patience, attention span and a tedious amount of concentration. Furthermore, it doesn’t take very long to realize that programmers will loose their appreciation. It starts off warm and fuzzy as you save their behinds, but after sending a bug back for the fourth time the programmers no longer feel like sharing the love.
So, in the spirit of Peter’s post… To all those QA tester’s to whom I have passed incomplete features or have forced to regression test immediately before a deadline – I apologize. I now know that the assurance of quality stems from meticulous attention to detail and a rigourous amount of searching, testing, and reporting. You have saved my butt on more than one occasion, and the nature of software QA means that only you and I will every know about the bugs we killed immediately before release.