Tester’s Wildlife

Putting your feet into the wild, corporation jungle might be intimidating at first.

Environment is strange, huge and full of mysterious signs, colors and elements. You hear plenty of loud noises — coming from all over the place — making it difficult to focus.

Cables are laying on floor like wild snakes just waiting to be stepped on and there is a huge chance that at some point you will encounter crowded pasture full of coffee machines.

Such dappled sight and piercing noise attacks your senses making you wonder how anyone could survive in such peculiar environment, not to mention — why?

And then, all of a sudden, you meet creatures known as IT beings and everything starts to make sense.

You see I’m one of those animals — known to outside world as a Tester — who is struggling each day to coexist peacefully with a separate, wild specie called Developers.

Our lives and encounters are usually loud, bloody and full of unexpected plot twists but, you see, they are unfortunately necessary for the product to be delivered to the Client.

Our day to day battles can be stressful and difficult at the same time but you wouldn’t expect nothing less dramatic from clash between lions and elephants, would you?

And this is where our story begins.

Due to the fact that some people tend to believe life in IT corporation is only full of rainbow and sunshine let’s pretend for a minute we are David Attenborough and spend few next minutes on discovering — how one day of wild Tester looks like?

Testers wake up irregularly and as result they also show up at different period of day. Some get out of the burrow at 7 am and some appear at 10 am— it depends on day of the year and specific male.

All of them, without any exception, will however start there day by meeting near the watering place full of coffee. They will interact with each other by using verbal noises full of laughs. It seems this is the time they fell most comfortable and in fact it is the only time of a day when they will fully charge their batteries.

After this initial meeting those creatures will eventually come back to their nests full of prototypes, test devices and test documentations.

Each nest may be located in different part of the office as this depends strictly on territory of the project they are assigned to guard. Each territory is represented however by obscure forest called open space. Place where time slows down and energy of young brutes is transformed into lines of code.

The biggest Testers blocker comes however in form of watch duty full of unexpected twists due to the fact the same territory is occupied by wild Developers. And believe me — tension between those two is solid especially when there is one Tester versus dozens of them.

Just spending few minutes on silent observation leads to first encounter initialized by one of the code makers. You see at some point, without any signal, one of them will stand up, move silently from his coding land and come close near Tester with one intention — laying his paws on small and shiny thing known as DUT (Device under test).

Of course he won’t bother saying why he wants that item but he will repeat like mantra one sentence “let me debug the problem”.

This behavior is known as JIRA reproduction. You see each of the Alfa males is assigned to one, specific task. This means they need to take care of this job unless they want to be kicked out of the herd. As they don’t trust Testers — who they recognize as their arch nemesis — they command to give them the DUT so they can perform war dance called “local problem debugging”.

This situation leads however to voice conflict and act of domination which is usually solved by strange, mysterious creature called PM which all animals seems to be afraid in the same way. Anyway DUT is transferred from one side to another and the mentioned Developer will celebrate this by doing small hand shake indicating “It will only take 20 minutes to fix the problem”.

It goes without saying that it never does but I’ve discovered fascinating fact — all of IT creatures are unable to specify exact periods of time when it comes to saying how much time something will take.

Even if they mark their territory by booking meetings or deadlines. What is even more striking is the fact that Developers have strange tendency to never come back once they borrowed the property and hide in the nest.

But hey, at least they do keep the word and provide patch that fixes the problem. And additionally adds regression to five new features. But have no worries — this will be fixed ASAP once new ticket is created. Thus, new Tester will be hunted and the story will begin all over again.

Speaking of which if we take closer look at Testers as a group we can notice that most of them sticks together, covering each other back and making sure they focus all their energy to achieve PASS results. This leads to cooperation, splitting tasks and overall doing their best.

However, not all of them seems to share the same passion as once in a blue moon there comes this one black sheep that really can’t help to grasp the idea of team work and tries to be really annoying. This sheep — which usually, for some unknown reason, is an extra contractor working on the other side of the globe — seems to always see some kind of trouble even if it doesn’t exist.

He alarms all members of the herd by reopening once closed tickets (even if it means using obsolete, budget, 3rd party devices) and usually panics by saying “Problem is reproduced 10/10 times” even if no one else had similar issue for a long (if ever) time.

Conversation between two sides of the testing teams, living on two separate parts of the world resembles ping pong match where JIRA comments create mountain of text so huge that at the end nobody even remembers what was the case.

What can we say? Animal kingdom is puzzling place very difficult to explain.

Rest of the day usually goes smoothly for the quality makers — they hunt for sweet donuts on coffee corner meetings, fetch some test summaries, stroll to lab to do some specialist checking and, what is most frustrating for them, they try to prepare setup to reproduce specific bug coming from creatures called users.

And boy, oh boy, this is really magnificent moment to behold.

Flashing the phones, updating the firmware, adding the binary files — it is tedious yet doable part but making sure that something works with environment like Linux/Windows/Mac/Android is all new level of abstraction.

Downloading latest updates, sudoing packages, downgrading the versions, reverting changes or adding that funny little line in system file using VIM just to discover something is no longer supported or backward compatible takes most of testers’ energy and passion.

It also costs sweat, pain and time but trust me — even if reflecting user’s land might sound like unproductive, meaningless thing to do this is a must. This is how quality and flawless products are being born and this is why nature is not always pretty.

Yet with all the wildness and unpredictability of land where Managers and other predators are waiting for your mistake by asking difficult questions like “Can you estimate this problem for the deadline?” and place where simple camouflage of “Strange, it worked on my machine” decides between saving your life or being sacrificed on next SCRUM’s meeting it is still the greatest place to live.

Community, besides what I’ve just said, is usually nice, completing tasks bring wild — no pun intended — pleasure and each new day is more interesting and beautiful than previous one.

Granted, every aspect of life of humble IT creatures is fascinating at the same level and few disadvantages can’t overshadow the purity of their work.

Question remains — will you be brave enough to become part of this jungle and if so how long will you survive?

Marcin Sikorski — IoT Freak. Tester. Writer. Public Speaker. Trainer. Owner of smartrzeczy.pl Also — big enthusiast of China.