Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Defect I Leaked

Earlier in life, in the late 90’s, I was hired to test a software application's installation. After the usual late hours, Development fights, etc., I certified that the product works fine and Okayed the release.

What Happened then?
Within 1 day of going live, the support team was flooded with a zillion calls saying that the application does not get installed. All the installations aborted with the error message - "INVALID OS". The products had to be re-called, the defect fixed and re-shipped.

Root Cause on Investigation
The installation software had logic to determine the version of the Client machine's OS. Both Dev & Test assumed the location of this entry in a particular location, while most of the live systems had this info stored in a different location in the registry. As a member of the test team, I did not do sufficient research before testing and missed out this important detail, which at that time seemed insignificant to me.

Who's to be blamed for the Fiasco?
3 People who were responsible --- I, Me & Myself.

Defect Leakage --- A 1st for me
It was the 1st defect I leaked which had very high business impact. The fault was mine, mine & mine. Like so many other people in the project, I assumed that the operating system version is stored at a particular location only. I assumed that it cannot be stored elsewhere and so, I DID NOT TEST FOR IT. BY ASSUMING, I LEAKED A DEFECT!!!

Till today, the bug haunts me every time I take up a testing assignment. It is the fact that I can still leak a defect makes me more determined to ensure that I don't leak defects at least now.

A Fake Software tester...
--- Never admits his fault to a defect that he's leaked
--- Always thinks someone else is to blame for a defect that he's leaked
--- forgets the leaked defect too soon in life and invariably, leaks many more
--- Tries to pass the root cause for defect leakage due to a different reason --- bad environment, bad specification, bad coding, time pressure, no requirements, etc. etc. etc....

In every interview of mine, I ask the test engineers who are applying for the job about any defect that they'd have leaked earlier. And to date, most of them have said that they have never leaked a defect in their entire life!!! This is coming from testers who have an experience of 6-10 years in the Software Testing Industry.

Do I see an entry here for the files of Ripley's believe it or not? (Personally speaking a tester who's never leaked a defect can be equated with a developer who has never had a single bug filed against his name).Unbelievable!!! Truly, Unbelievable!!!

The truth is that even experienced testers leak defects. And only we know about the defect that we leaked. And we have to ensure that we have to remember a leaked defect all the time to remind us that we are also vulnerable, so that we will at least try to avoid leaking defects in the future!!!

Fake Tester's Gyan (of course, the gyan giving is very important too)

1) Admit Blame --- Yes. Admit blame at least to yourself, if not to the entire world!!!
2) Shameful, it is not --- Though you might feel some shame in admitting a defect, trust me, it’s not. What’s actually shameful is NOT TO ADMIT IT TO EVEN YOU!!!
3) If I leaked defects, am I a failing tester? --- A common misconception is that you'd seem a failed tester to your peers if you admit it. You are not failing. You are the only one speaking the truth and you are sub-consciously scaling the success peak by your honest admissions.
4) It takes Guts. Do you have them? --- It takes guts to admit a defect you leaked. Am very sure that you do have a leaked defect. But do you have the guts to admit it?

If you are mentally strong enough to admit to a defect that you leaked, please feel free to share it on the Comment section below. If you are not bold enough to share it with the world, spend 10 mins in retrospection, admitting it to yourself!!! To own up to yourself about blaming self for a leaked defect makes you a better person; and a much better tester in the long run!!!

Happy Admissions, if you dare to admit!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment