Tales from The Trenches Archive

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Please help us test! Don’t report bugs!

I worked for a large company as a lead in customer service. As a major project launch date approached, management realized more skilled testers would be needed and moved staff familiar with the product from other teams temporarily to testing. I was interested and actually excited to do this, because I had never tested before. I was under the impression that my involvement would help my CS team out in the long run, and the product would be better for it. Make sense?

I tested full-time for four weeks. I was given a huge list of testing scripts to work through but it was all mundane happy-path stuff. I thought I’d do better with some guerilla testing, and since I wasn’t officially a tester I didn’t have a supervisor to argue with me, I just ran around trying to break things. As it turned out, I broke just about everything.

I submitted an obscene amount of bugs every day because I wasn’t burdened by what were obviously poorly-conceived test scripts.

Somehow—perhaps because I was a team lead—I ended up in a final meeting of producers and testers where we went around the room and all the test leads unbelievably stated that their area was good to go. I assumed it had to be pressure from management, but I hadn’t felt any of this pressure and wasn’t going to lie, so I was the only one in the room that said the game should be a no-go.

I stated from my perspective that the title was probably a year out from being consumer-acceptable. The testers all stared at their hands. The managing producer nodded thoughtfully and said “Okay, we’re launching on schedule.”

The game launched two weeks later and was a buggy disaster. My team, the poor CS guys, were overwhelmed by rightfully pissed-off customers for months.

Two years later the company found themselves in the same position and again reassigned internal staff to testing. The only lesson they apparently learned? They didn’t invite me to test again.