If it’s a journey…

As those of you who have read previous posts of mine will know, at work we are installing a new ERP system, and taking out the very old one.
One of the phrases that are being used is we are on a journey, this provokes an irrational response of wanting to strangle the individual uttering it.
So I thought I’d explore what about it drives me mad.
The way it is used implies that we are following some path that leads us to our chosen end goal, and if we travel it we will discover what we need to know along the way and get to this nirvana.
However, there is no path, we don’t know what we will encounter, we are drawing the map as we go, as what we require is unique to us, as is each major software installation. We don’t even know if our compass works here, the things we have used before to direct us no longer apply, the context they worked in, isn’t this context.
This journey would be more akin to some explorers landing on a new planet and having to map it all by hand, without knowing whats safe and whats not, let alone having a known destination to head towards, best we have is large geographical features, ie it needs to me able to manage stock.
It is this apparent gap between the reality and the phrase that causes my sanity to fray.

Project drawing to a close

So for that last 4 ish months i’ve been involved in a sizable, for us, project to change some of the software used in our warehouse, I was brought in late to the party, they wanted to recruit a tester who had warehouse experience, we never found the right person, so they gave it to me. right of the bat I had to explain the volume of testing and checking needed for what they were doing was well outside what I had time to do, in the time frame they gave me. So they brought in a consultant to help with/run the testing.
From that point on, it all became about test cases, how many there were to do, how many had been written, how many had been done.
We had these amazing user stories that would have given us such a great place to test from, but they disappeared into the background, something I believe we are now paying for.
We bludgeoned our way through unit testing, well mostly, we did all the test cases so that must be good. the project team were happy though, They had a pie chart that was all green, I’m still not sure what they think its told them.
At this point i’ll say, i’ m not fond of how we have gone about this, but I didn’t feel able to sway the business over a trusted consultant and there decades of previous experience, I am after all just a very new tester, with no significant wins to point to to demonstrate my worth. So I have done my best to test what I can the way I know we should, and i’ve demonstrated how I can very quickly find issues.
We move on from those lovely unit tests to some system testing, out came those test cases again, even more this time, thousands (possibly an exaggeration), but as time went on, config was altered, stuff added, more tests cases were written to deal with the new or changed parts, and on this went, we still produced some lovely graphs, I’d managed to get a time required to test, estimate vs actual added to give some tangible info, unfortunately the consultant was really unsure about how to deal with this, so its been a bit adhoc in how it gets updated, no actually feed back from the team we now had running these test cases on how long they had spent on what, just an estimate on how long an area should take, and when all the test cases were done, that meant they musty have spent that long testing it!
I have learnt an awful lot on this project, it’s really  reinforced how much we as a company don’t know about testing, and how much I personally dislike the test case driven testing. The project is slowly drawing to a close, my work will be done in the next few weeks and I’ll be of to new and shiney grounds, which i’ll tell you about in another post.
Even though this was probably one of my least enjoyable projects I have come away from it a great deal wiser, and more experienced than when I started. I wish in those early days i’d had the confidence to push for using the user stories as the basis for testing. Hopefully I have learnt from it though.

Tell me about how you came to some of your critical learnings

Doug