Crying Wolf


While searching for a seemingly missing file tonight I ran across one of my old, favorite testing papers. Back in my Intel days (about 7 years ago) I wrote a Web tester’s training paper entitled “The Quality Assurance Web Tester’s Handbook”. I thought I’d spoil you with you with a funny little excerpt that still is a common phenomenon with a “rookie tester”. The section is entitled “Crying Wolf”:

One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen from new QA tester is what I call the “Cry Wolf Syndrome”. Medically I think, this syndrome is caused by an over-stimulation of adrenaline on the brain causing testers to take a new found bug and run screaming to the nearest manager without first verifying the bug exists on other PC’s. Although this is a severe and problematic condition it is curable with a little self-discipline. It can be exciting to find a huge “showstopping” bug, but if the bug is not verified on another machine or the details properly gathered you may be “Crying wolf” and wasting peoples’ time with something that doesn’t make any sense. Here is an example scenario, starring Joe the rookie QA Tester:

While QAing for Microsoft, Joe was one day casually surfing the beta Microsoft.com site for bugs when his browser caused a GPF and smoke began to billow from the back of his computer. Joe jumped up and exclaimed “Microsoft has succeeded in blowing up computers via the web! I’ve got to tell the QA manager”. Joe hastily tracked down the extremely busy manager and asked for a few minutes of his time. Joe’s manager (being extremely busy) took a moment to test the proposed bug on his personal computer. Upon entering the site and same area, they both cringed waiting for the GPF and smoke but nothing happened. Joe’s manager became angry and exclaimed “Thank you for wasting my time, did you verify this before you came to me”? Joe answered “No” in a shaky, meek voice. Needless to say Joe learned his lesson and still to this day triple checks his bugs and gathers all details before reporting or submitting the bug to anybody else.

The concept is real… BUT OH MY, how my knowledge, process, terminology, and writing skill has grown…. or rather, evolved with the industry? This paper is ahead of it’s time, dorky, inspirational, and funny. I’ll see what I else I can dig out and share with you. I won’t waste your time by posting this 22 page “The Quality Assurance Web Tester’s Handbook”.

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