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Stupid is as Stupid Does

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Thank you Mrs. Gump.  Truer words were never spoken.  My mother used to tell me “There are no stupid people.”  Sorry Mom – there are.  Sadly  some of them work in software development.  Unfortunately, more work in project management and test management.  You know the ones.  They’re the ones that make you shake your head and say things like “Seriously?”

I’m not without my own moments of stupidity.  I recently decided the reduce the stress level in my life and only accept contracting jobs that were pure testing.  No more Test Management jobs!  I just wanted to run my tests and go home for the day and leave work behind me.  I know, I know.  What was I thinking?  The stress is still there – it’s just a different kind of stress. Most of that stress comes from having to work for completely inept managers.  The rest comes from other testers who have absolutely no clue what they are doing.  At least as a Test Manager I have some control over that part.  Then I just have to deal with idiot development managers.  Let’s face it – I need to be in charge of something.

Now, I’m not God’s gift to software development – but I’m no slouch either.  I don’t admit to knowing all there is to know about Test Management.  I don’t!  But I’ve been doing this for a long time and I have a pretty good record to back it up.  I do know a thing or two.

So I tried to be “just a tester.”  I tried really hard.  But I couldn’t keep my Test Manager’s mouth shut.  It was definitely a learning experience.  The most valuable lesson I learned – most project managers and test managers have absolutely no clue what software quality means or what it looks like.  Worse – they really didn’t want to hear from me what it was either.

I know what quality is – I have a pretty good track record of insuring quality products are provided to the customer.  It completely blows me away when any manager dismisses any defect as “not important.”  Take for example spelling and grammar errors.  Minor? Sure.  Insignificant?  No way! It’s these stupid little errors that will make you look like a complete moron.  Stupid is as stupid does! 

That said – mistakes happen.  Especially early in the development process.  Errors are made, builds will break.  If they don’t then I seriously question your development process.  If you don’t make mistakes you are just not trying hard enough.  You’re being too safe.  FYI – I’m a Tester.  If you make me a developer, I can do it, but I may break a build or two.  I know me.  I’ve seen me do it!  If you’re the Test or Project Manager that made me do development work – as Bill Engval says – “Here’s your sign!”

There is a serious difference between stupid and inexperienced.  For example, If you hire less expensive, off-shore, or imported, test or development resources that barely speak the language or understand even simple grammar, you’re going to have problems.  The developers and testers are not stupid – they’re inexperienced.  Now the managers that don’t realize this and don’t come up with ways to verify it don’t get off so easy.  They too may be inexperienced.  But when I tell them about it, and they still do nothing – they enter the realm of stupidity.

To make a short story long – If I have to deal with stupidity, I need to get paid for it.  So Test Management community – I humbly return to your ranks, head held low.  I was wrong.  Please let me come back.  The stupidity ends here!  I’m gonna need more signs.

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