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  1. #1
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    Fundamentals of QA in crisis here

    I've moaned here about my company before and this post will be no exception, but I think management here has really gone TOO FAR this time.

    Let me give you a little background info first so this story will make sense. For the last fortnight a colleague has been trying to test a product. I'll call it "Oscar." There have been some issues with Oscar...functionality missing, buttons not having labels...but none were serious enough in my opinion to completely suspend testing. Even with some functionality missing, it was possible to test some other components in the application since they weren't dependent on each other. Pat (my difficult colleague) was the only tester assigned to Oscar and promptly suspended testing 2 days into the QA phase. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only problem with Oscar.

    While Pat was still testing and entering defects, another problem reared its ugly head. In my company we're using a new change management and version control tool which has thrown our workflow into complete chaos. In a nutshell, there are 2 separate applications...we'll call them A and B...that talk to each other. A is a version control tool. B is a "change management" tool that has been used for almost three years for defect tracking. A was only recently adopted here. During the last quarter of 2002, a lot of time and effort was put into migrating our code into A. A has an iron-fisted grip on our work. It's impossible to build a release in A unless all issues associated with that release are resolved in B. Also, when we enter a defect in B, the current workflow forces developers to check the code out and in for every single minor code fix.

    So we've got issues.

    Arguments went back and forth between the developers on Oscar and Pat, who insisted on entering an individual defect for each issue she found. I disagree with Pat on almost everything, but I agree with her 100% on this; using this tool, there is no other way to track issues if you don't enter them as individual defects.

    The arguments came to a head last week. Tempers flared. Insults were hurled. Obscenities were muttered. One of the managers (not the project manager, who had no idea any of this was going on) called an emergency meeting to sort out the problem with defect reporting on Oscar. Only one person from Oscar was invited to the meeting: Pat. The rest of the invitees were A&B administrators, programmers not on the project, and myself.

    The meeting was a complete disaster.

    Pat and I tried to explain to the attendees why it's important to track issues, but they weren't having any of it. They use B to track their own "tasks" and they want us to enter defects as a "rework task" against the "issues" they've already entered in the defect tracker. There would be no way for us to query the defect tracker for those "rework tasks." We would have to go through each issue manually and extract the defects to track in a separate spreadsheet.

    Anyone else see anything wrong with this?

    Pat, needless to say, was outraged as one of the attendees proceeded to publicly lash her for not using the "official" workflow. The "official" workflow was designed by a programmer who is on a project that has not seen QA for almost 2 years, so he clearly did not take QA into consideration when designing this workflow. He was smug and cocky, telling Pat that this workflow would not change and she better get used to it. Management sat dumbly through this meeting and nodded their tacit support for the developers.

    To me, they're telling us how to do our job. They're preventing us from doing real investigative testing. What they want us to do is basically rubber-stamp the development work they do for projects. Testing goes deeper than that...everyone in this profession knows that...but they don't seem to understand.

    I was absolutely outraged after the meeting. Words like "negative" and "stubborn" were directed at my colleague, Pat, and normally I'd have agreed with it...but she was 100% right in this meeting. The developers involved basically laughed in our faces after it was over. I thought this was very unprofessional.

    I need to know what to do. I have NEVER been in a situation like this. It is jaw-droppingly shocking. I think I'd have been less shocked and insulted if I'd gone into the meeting room and seen Osama bin Laden with a bald eagle in a headlock. Seriously.



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  2. #2
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    Re: Fundamentals of QA in crisis here

    You mentioned in another post that you do not have a QA Manager so to speak, but you guys must report to someone. Was that individual in this meeting? I think it's time for another meeting between QA and the person you guys are ultimately responsible to. It sounds like since you don't have a manager these guys are trying to get you to skew the numbers in their favor. You guys need to be united in the fact that in order to present accurate numbers to whomever you present them to, you cannot function in this way.

    It also sounds like Dev feels that QA is a token effort in this company and without a manager they might be right. Hopefully this helps a bit, but when companies feel that QA is not an important phase of the process, there's not much that can be done. You've seen many posts here about QA being the step-child; welcome to the family .

    ------------------
    Cat

    If you break it; they will come.

    [This message has been edited by CSNuts (edited 02-25-2003).]
    Cat

    If you break it; they will come.

  3. #3
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    Re: Fundamentals of QA in crisis here

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>The arguments came to a head last week. Tempers flared. Insults were hurled. Obscenities were muttered.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Sounds to me like things have gone way too far, regardless of who's right and who's wrong. Nobody wins.

    ------------------
    -- Jean

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.
    Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
    Margaret Mead
    Jean James
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    I deliver what I promise, and I only promise what I can deliver.
    ------------------------------------------------------------

  4. #4
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    Re: Fundamentals of QA in crisis here

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jeanj:
    Sounds to me like things have gone way too far, regardless of who's right and who's wrong. Nobody wins.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Normally I'd agree, but that's not the case here. Developers here have QA by the short & curlies...and they KNOW it.


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  5. #5
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    Re: Fundamentals of QA in crisis here

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by CSNuts:
    You mentioned in another post that you do not have a QA Manager so to speak, but you guys must report to someone. Was that individual in this meeting?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    We don't really "report" to any one person. We have what are called "resource managers" who manage us...the RESOURCES...and the resource team is split between the two bosses. We officially report to one or the other, but you'd never know it from this end. You can go for days without even seeing either one of them since they're always in meetings. The person who is supposed to take the "lead" in the QA meetings is not someone we report to. The result is complete anarchy. He goes to our meetings, sure...but he doesn't know diddly about QA and boy does it show.


    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>I think it's time for another meeting between QA and the person you guys are ultimately responsible to. It sounds like since you don't have a manager these guys are trying to get you to skew the numbers in their favor. You guys need to be united in the fact that in order to present accurate numbers to whomever you present them to, you cannot function in this way.

    It also sounds like Dev feels that QA is a token effort in this company and without a manager they might be right. Hopefully this helps a bit, but when companies feel that QA is not an important phase of the process, there's not much that can be done. You've seen many posts here about QA being the step-child; welcome to the family .

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Heh...I've been "in the family" since 1998, but thanks for the belated welcome.

    As for getting a QA manager, I think I have a better chance of winning the Miss America pageant than I do of convincing the I.T. director that we need one.


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  6. #6
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    Re: Fundamentals of QA in crisis here

    I gotta stick on this one. Regardless of what the problem is, who's right, or who's at fault.

    When insults are hurled, and obscenities are muttered, somebody's gotta go.
    If I were in your position, (and I have been there) it would be me that left. No one could pay me enough to suffer that kind of misery... not again!

    That's the most unprofessional and unhealthy situation any of us could find ourselves in, in the workplace.

    ------------------
    -- Jean

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.
    Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
    Margaret Mead
    Jean James
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    I deliver what I promise, and I only promise what I can deliver.
    ------------------------------------------------------------

  7. #7
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    Re: Fundamentals of QA in crisis here

    since you have stated in previous threads that you have never had a problem getting a job in QA any time you have tried - I would recommend updating the CSV and putting that statement to the test again.

    ------------------
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

  8. #8
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    Re: Fundamentals of QA in crisis here

    Sounds like your company needs to completely review its development process.

    Sounds like you need a referee or ombudsman to sort out the current crises? Surely there is some development/techie person who has some understanding of how to product s/w in your company?

    QA here has been controlled by various types of managers in the recent past & IMO the worst case was when managed by non-techie Quality/resource person as QA basically had nobody to fight for them which sounds like your scenario. Very hard to improve your qa or test skills with a techie manager overseeing.


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  9. #9
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    Re: Fundamentals of QA in crisis here

    Thats silly. Obviously it is way out of hand as everyone has said. Despite that, I think there is a real lack of communication between developers and QA at your company. The Developers have a point, and so do you. There needs to be a comprimise between both sides. Defects need to be individually tracked, but grouped together as rework tasks. There is probely a solution that everyone will be happy with, but it may have gone past the point of fixing the problem and disintegrated into personal attacks. As hard as it may be as an individual caught up in this mess, you must not get caught up in the emotional melee. If you can keep a clear head and cosider all sides,you may be in a position to strike a comprimise. Good luck!

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  10. #10
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    Re: Fundamentals of QA in crisis here

    qanerdinengland

    You can't replace poor management with an automated tool. Tools are at best 20% of the solution, proper engineering discipline is far more effective.

    I suggest you stop using their system for defect tracking at all and track them idependantly. I am not sure of your political environement, but it seems to much focus is being applied to these tools and not enough on the actual process. As QA you are required to act indepedantly anyway, so why not track them seperately and the development can use what ever they like.

    The most effective CM tool I have ever used was a Frisbee. If you don't have the Frisbee, you can't check files in. This example demonstrates people are more important than the tools.

    ------------------
    Robert Tehve
    rtehve@bigpond.com
    Robert Tehve
    rtehve@bigpond.com

 

 
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