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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Shark Tank: But for authentic user testing, he's perfect

"Big data-import application is finally finished, and developer pilot fish releases it to the quality assurance group for testing.

It's a fairly complicated program, but it's designed to run as a scheduled task -- once it's set up, no user interaction is required. And setting it up only requires entering the proper command sequence into a job scheduler.

And to make sure there's no confusion about the command, fish sends QA a 20-page document that covers program usage in such detail that it's foolproof.

Twenty minutes after QA starts work on the application, fish gets a call.
'So how do we run it?' the QA guy asks.

Fish wonders if the documentation somehow didn't arrive, so he asks about it.
Nope -- the QA guy has it sitting right in front of him.

Section 2.1, fish suggests through gritted teeth. It's titled 'Program Execution.'

'Well, yeah,' QA guy tells fish. 'But we just want to know how to run it. Could you e-mail us the command?'

It's not worth fighting over, fish thinks. He fires off a quick message containing the command: 'dataload.exe -f \[insert filename here].'

Later that day, fish gets a message in response: The dataload application doesn't work.

How could they possibly have messed this up? fish wonders as he walks over to the QA department to investigate.

He opens the job scheduler to see what command line the QA guy used. And there it is, exactly as fish sent it:

dataload.exe -f \[insert filename here]

Astonished fish asks QA guy if he did not realize that 'insert file name meant he had to insert a file name there.

QA guy: 'You should have been more specific.'"

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