QA and the Art of Caring
Test and Monitor | Posted December 27, 2005

So, two days before Christmas, I found myself barricaded out in the garage for about 2 hours, surrounded by piles of parts, tools, four tires and a pair of small pink bicycle frames.

Yes, I passed some sort of fatherly rite-of-passage and assembled my own children’s bikes with nothing but sweat, bloody knuckles, a fine collection of hand tools and instructions containing near to no English. And let me tell you, those bikes are safe. Well, as safe as bikes can be – I mean that their construction is solid, double- and triple-checked. In some cases, I completely disassembled entire modules in order to meet my less tolerant tolerances.

What or who could have possible provided a higher level of quality assurance for my daughters’ bicycles than me (their father)? I daresay no-one! (Well, maybe my father, but I suspect he would have chosen to build entirely new bikes, reappearing from his enviable wood- and metal-work shop after a few days with steel-frame cages on wheels for his angels.)

Anyway, because of who was going to be riding these bikes, I did what was arguably my finest job of concentration and focus ever.

Now the big tie-in: it’s almost certainly safe to say that the quality of quality assurance is dependant upon the QA engineer’s attachment to the end user of a product.

How can we, as QA engineers, more fully connect with a software end-user to naturally provide higher tolerances in our testing? For me, it’s less of an issue since the users of our software are long-term health care facilities. All I have to do is picture my sainted grandmother under the care of a facility using our software, and I push forward with still more diligence. I encourage you to find a similar connection.


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