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09/03/13

Diagram

New comics every Tuesday & Thursday


Tales from the Trenches

QA Bug Detective

Dear Share Your Tale,

It is an ego thing. Hopes, dreams, expectations. Developers learn that the gaming industry isn’t what they expected. It’s all math calculations and deadlines from the higher ups. I used to want to be a QA for the gaming industry, but I’ve learned that QAing, the business as it is now, is just not right. Developers will ask if it’s in scope of the project: If not, bugger off.

It’s not different from the film industry. I’d know. I worked as an editor and a screenwriter: But I’ve found myself in the position of a QA for a survey company. It’s not gaming, but I still put in 12+ hours a day to do my best.

Every day I feel like I’m about to lose my job, I’m a single QA to a project that involves 10 developers. Every day is a regression test and THEN test the new add-on. (Automated testing is slowly being constructed) I was originally a contractor for the company, moved to a salary position. Not what I expected, my voice CRACKED when that happened.

Every company operates differently: You’ve got your usual industry standard that works off fear of people afraid to get fired. Then you’ve got the small fries of people who dropped out of college and wanted to hit their dreams running. Their inspiration will fuel those under them because they will always throw themselves in the trenches.

Our CEO still takes up customer support calls if we’re short on man-power, stays up late to help the development team to hit their 7 day deadline for a major release. The company’s belief is to put in over 100%. If a customer asks for something, we’ll give it to them and go steps further that’d take them off guard.

I’m the QA that checks out the stories to make sure the fixes work out and do not break anything else along the way.

We started adopting the “Open book” method, where people could voice their opinions anonymously. It backfires when there’s only 1 QA. I stood up and said “I’m proud of all the code you put out and how fast you guys react, but I will watch your back. You are proud of what you do, but as a QA, it’s my job to make sure it’s PERFECT. I’m psyched to see what you push out. BUT I will cover your mother f***ing a**es to make sure it’s perfect. You can shrug me off and say it’s out of scope, or you can gain the company’s respect with a 1 line code change. Your choice.”

QA and Development are in the same pot (even though off the books we’re two different groups), they do not realize this. Once we realize we’re in the same trenches, and both sides put aside their egos, we can push out the best products out there that the world will be psyched to see. The funny thing is this. Brand names are just that: Names. The developers and QA’s create the code and solidify it. Without it, they’re just names.

I’m now a QA to 10+ developers. When the developers learned we’re all on the same side, things got better. But it comes down to if they’re willing to listen. If they’re not, it’s better to look for people who are willing to. The war is won when the scout says “Tanks with support’s coming.” not with “We can take it with hand guns.”

Regretfully that gaming industry will always be filled with wide eyed youths who think the brand name will score them the dream they want to live, but for those who are thrown into the industry inside and outside of gaming, where a mistake can cost a company thousands of dollars in a day’s time, we’ve got to stick together and back off when the higher ups ask for unreasonable deadlines and expectations. If they expect us to fail, let them realize the fault of their ways. The best things come out of team work, not out of exploitation.

This is over 400 words, but I hope it’s a good read. It’s still just me: I still put in 8+ hours a day, but there’s something to it when you’re in the office with the CEO and the developers, for a 60+ employee company, still working late in the building with you. Laughing, joking, and trying to perfect the application that makes you feel appreciated. Sometimes the old system’s and BS needs to be torn down to make way for a better adaptable company. If you speak up and everyone turns their back on you, let them. Get to know those who share your vision.  Hard work is not handed to you on a silver platter, it’s done by support, friends, and team work.

I am a QA; and I am happy with the team I work with.