Official Tester

Many years ago, I worked as a software tester. Undertaking formal software testing, especially using test harness software, is an awful, tedious job, and left me nothing less than mentally scarred. Years from now, they’ll find me underneath a desk with my head in my hands, rocking slowly back and forth and whispering “Compile… compile… JUST COMPILE…”

I vowed never to work in testing again.

Nonetheless, a large part of my current job does involve software testing, but the testing now is less formal: I try something; it goes horribly wrong; I call the supplier and try not to swear at their helpdesk staff. That sort of thing. While the procedure has changed, it’s still awful. This week has been particularly trying because it marks the 8th confirmed (and previously-unknown) bug that I have discovered in our new MIS system since we started using it in September.

When I get to 10, I’m seriously considering sending the gits an invoice for the work I have apparently been undertaking on their behalf testing their unfinished products.

About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

12 responses to “Official Tester”

  1. Mr M says :

    Imagine how mentally scarred I was after working as a software tester on a four week contract for … wait for it …

    RM

    Were it not for the fact I probably signed a NDA (I don’t recall), the stories I could tell…

    Enough said.

  2. p858snake says :

    Send them a cake

  3. Stephen says :

    Name the MIS!

    • AngryTechnician says :

      Tempting, but given it’s one of the smaller ones on the market, they’d probably figure out who I was and stop giving my bugfixes the priority I want.

      • Jamie says :

        Sounds exactly like the situation we are in, testing their MIS software for them… It’s probably the same one.

  4. Mark says :

    Sounds like both of the giant MIS’s in the UK, I’ve worked with both and every bug ever reported was previously unknown, fortunately our data manager now deals with that leaving me to get on with running the network

  5. ScottishTech says :

    We use Click n Go by a company called SEEMIS.

    I have no idea whether it’s any good, bad or indifferent. My involvement stops at the user being able to login. Which – going by your tales of woe pretty much confirms my thoughts that this is A Good Thing.

    It does – however – lead to looks of bewilderment when a user asks if there’s a problem or puzzle with the system.. A sort of physical “Does Not Compute” error message on their face.

  6. Technobob says :

    It seems pretty standard practice for companies to use their customers as unofficial beta testers. For the first “stable” release of much software and first production run of many new hardware devices, the product is really still in development. Just ask anyone who buys brand new Apple products – the first iMac, for example, was a piece of garbage.

    What I particularly hate is when supposed expert contractors come in at great expense to implement a software or hardware solution that they claim to know a lot about, only for it to turn out that they’re basically learning a new system on the job. Either the project takes three times as long as it should do and you have to struggle with a buggy system for ages, or you’re paying by the hour and essentially subsidising the contractor’s training budget.

  7. ScottishTech says :

    When we implemented our disk imaging/scheduling/remote install setup, several of us went on a 5 day “how to use” type course a few weeks before the consultant was due to arrive to install it all for us.

    On it was someone who had originally been responsible for implementing a similar package (in terms of what it did, not how it worked) by a company which had just bought out the company who made the package which we were implementing.

    Imagine our thrill and delight several weeks later when this same person was the consultant sent to us to implement our setup (at significant expense).

    We did point this out to the management team higher up the food chain than ourselves, but it fell on deaf ears.