Tales from The Trenches Archive

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This is an Easy Job!

When I was younger and a more junior tester, I did my time as a footslogger in the testing war. I flicked through menus, loading screens and fairly boring apps thousands of times.

In April 2010, I thought I’d finally broken into a more lucrative market. I was scheduled to test a mobile app. My fellow testers and I were shown into the ‘secured’ testing lounge - a converted cafeteria which had been installed with a multitude of sound-proofed pods and cubicles (the Devs wanted us to test in isolation for the first few days, before we all met up at the end of the week to combine our results).

I sat in my pod, and a mobile device was brought to me. As I fired up the program, I began to get excited. The premise of the game was simple enough - various food items would be launched across the touchscreen, and using my fingers I had to chop through these delicious consumables whilst avoiding deadly explosives.

So for a couple of days I sat riveted, slicing away. I didn’t even care about the repetition, it was refreshing to test a fun game. I didn’t even really need to fill out any bug reports, the app was working really well.

I gathered with my colleagues on the third day, excited to compare notes (and most importantly, scores!). We sat around a table with the Devs, and I reported first. I commented on some minor Scoreboard bugs, and a couple of crashes I had on loading screens. I also complimented on the nice Watermelon graphics in the game. Everyone was silent in the room - ‘Did … did no one else think the Watermelon was nice?’ I inquire.

The Lead Developer took the mobile device from my hands, before informing me that the app I should have been working on was a data management app for medical professionals. Apparently someone on the dev team had taken a test device home and their son had installed the game on there.

I was asked to leave the facility for wasting company time and money. No one seemed bothered that I had wasted my own time sitting in a booth playing phone games - though I suppose many people see that as a normal day at the office.