My work, my ideas, my faith, my life

If It’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing

My Programming Autobiography, Part 7

By Rex Goode

Repeatable Processes

After my contract with the State of Oregon, I had a short dry spell. The rain fell again in the form of a contract position where I was to create a bug-tracking database using Sybase and SQL with a front-end product called Scopus. This is not the same as the current product called Scopus.I enjoy bugs. I’m not talking about the creepy-crawly types. I’m talking about an error in a computer program. They’re there.

Sometimes they don’t cause much trouble. Sometimes they are the brink of destroying the world. No big deal.

I got to use X-Windows for the first time at that job. Most of my professional life had been spent with MS-DOS, VAX, and UNIX terminals.

It was a very short contract. I remember being in a meeting once where they were trying to decide a cool name to call the different levels of bugs and the involvement of the developer in identifying and fixing them. Most wanted something simple like A, B, C or 1, 2, 3. Where’s the imagination?!

Someone else suggested something like ants, beetles, and roaches. That led to the brilliant idea of calling the John, Paul, George, and Ringo. No one could decide what to call the worst bugs.

A Gray

I sat quietly through most of it, having a secret thought that I was reluctant to share. I was really an outsider there. I had only been there a couple of weeks.

What if we called them “Close Encounters?” We could use the Hynek scale to refer to our bugs.

Close Encounter of the First Kind: Someone sees that there is some kind of bug.

Close Encounter of the Second Kind: Someone sees the effects the bug has on the program.

Close Encounter of the Third Kind: Someone can figure out how to make the bug happen.

Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind: The programmer is “abducted” by the bug and is engrossed in finding out why it is happening.

Close Encounter of the Fifth Kind: The programmer has found it and knows why it is causing trouble.

Close Encounter of the Sixth Kind: The bug is fixed.

I know that these levels don’t go along that well with Hynek’s scale. It wasn’t intended to. It was intended to be a fun way to identify the bug-fixing process. I was the only one who thought so.

Well, at least the quality assurance manager like me–her and the guy who wanted me to become an Amway distributor.

In fact, the manager like me so much, that when the system was done, she wanted to keep me there. There were no programming positions opened, but she offered me a job as a tester. Rather than face another dry spell, I entered the world of software quality assurance.

The company sent me to a conference, right there in my own town, where I learned all about repeatable processes and how to test software. The basic idea of quality is that the doing the same thing should work the same way every time. If it does, it is highly repeatable and therefore, of good quality. In other words, if it is worth doing, it is worth doing over and over again.

I understood it all, quite well. The problem was, I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, I was bored to tears by it. It didn’t take me long to start putting out feelers for a new job.

Though I enjoyed my time at the company, I really don’t want to ever work as a quality assurance person in a software company. Unfortunately, with my resume out at different web sites and the words “Quality Assurance” as a title at that company, I get tons of recruiters wanting to know if I’m interested in doing QA.  I say, “No way!”

To be continued in Prone to Wander.

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One Response to “If It’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing”

  1. Rex Goode » The Pebble, From My Hand Take, Grasshopper said:

    […] be continued in If It’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing. Like Unlike Posted by Rex Goode under Postscript,Social Work,Software Engineering. « […]

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