I'm having a rant



  • A new product is out in the field being tested and they are finding problems with our dodgy software, the hardware could work a lot better than it does if it wasn't for the software dragging it down.

    Every time someone tweaks it in an attempt to add a feature or fix an existing bug, it introduces more problems and the whole thing is so badly written and uncontrolled it has become an obscene balancing act (hmm that just made me think of sitting behind a human pyramid constructed entirely of naked cheerleaders armed with a....). Unexpected behaviours that are not there by design (i.e. bugs) become relied upon by other features so now fixing something can actually make things worst!

    This is not my concern right now though, currently my job is testing and fault finding, last night I got a "Customer says it does this and this, put it on repeat testing and see what it does..."

    "It does that boss, I've told you before it does that. Its been doing that for months, its been in my reports for months and no-one has fixed it yet."

    "I'm not sure that it does." he says.

    So I set up my test jig and point a camera at it. I came in this morning and as expected, it had done it. I had videos of it doing it and I had serial cables coming out of it to log the internal debug messages when it did. As usual whenever I produce a set of test results the boss doesn't like he goes through the same steps of trying to blame something else. In short he wanted me to test it so that I could say to him "It ran non stop for two days and never did it boss!" but of course I can't because it just won't.

    Step 1. The fault lies elsewhere.

    "The batteries were flat!"

    "It was on a bench power supply."

    "Err, you had the current limit on, the power supply dropped out when the motors started."

    "But only on cycle two hundred and seventy two? Besides, its set to 3A it never draws more than 500mA."

    "Well it was the air supply then!"

    "Are you saying we have 'faulty air' ?"

    "Well it was the test equipment then, yeah that was it, RFI from the servos."

    "There is no problem with the servos."

    "Well the solenoid coils then!"

    "Last time I looked I wasn't an android and I've had do it in my hands."


    He does this often, whatever I'm testing for whatever. If he likes the results I'm amazing and he doesn't "..know what this company did without you!", if the results say there is something wrong and I suggest a fix he doesn't want to hear that his product is imperfect, spend anything on implementing and testing my fix, or have to give me credit for fixing it. So in his mind, the problem doesn't exist.

    What is the point in paying me to carry out testing if he doesn't want to hear the results? (Not that I'm complaining about getting paid.)

    What is the point of R&D if you ignore the R and don't turn it into some D?

     

    Step 2. Test it until it passes.

    Basically, repeat the test until the 'problem goes away', which of course it doesn't, if I'm lucky enough to get a clean run second, third, fourth time around all record of the previous failed attempts will be flushed from his memory and apparently, so he thinks, the field tester/customer/whoever is reporting a bug will be happy with that. Obviously because he says the bug as gone away that just makes the product they have there suddenly start working. I remember we had a conversation on Skype with a foreign customer a while ago that went along the lines of:

    Do

    "Our tests show 10%"

    "Yes but ours clearly show 20%"

    Loop Until Hell.Frozen

     

    Step 3. Change the conditions of the test.

    This happens a lot, some problems don't occur every time and some aspects of our product have a margin of error, I need to gather as many results as possible to get a clear picture of something.

    I'm forever hearing "I think fifty tests is too many, just do five for me right now."

    I do, he likes those "These are great! I can't see how YOU managed to get such bad results last time." As if to imply I somehow cocked up the test when he wasn't watching me doing it.

    "I can pick a block of five that look perfect out of these fifty, if I pick these five the problem never occurs AND we have 0% error!" Then I feel like a fool for saying that because I can see this gleam in his eye like he is taking that suggestion seriously.

     

    Step 4. Ignore the obvious conclusion and assume its a different problem which is easier to fix.

    I guess this is his way of being seen to be taking action without having to make any tough decisions.

    If I say something like "There a fundamental flaws with the architecture, you need to change this, replace this IC and re-write the software to incorporate the lessons learnt. Then you need to remove this assumption here because although it makes it faster its damaging the long term stability. What do the customers want more, speed or better accuracy with less frequent calibration?"

    He will say "Actually you know what I think? I think it might be this small plastic part that's causing all the trouble, lets change that for a slightly larger one."

     

     So... I get the impression my latest job is nothing but a front, the aim is not to achieve the stated goal but simply to be seen making an effort. I strive to make things better and fail whilst seeing our competitors making a better product, that of course makes me worry for the future of this company and my job.

     



  • @EncoreSpod said:

    human pyramid constructed entirely of naked cheerleaders armed with a....

    More of this please



  • @EncoreSpod said:

    a human pyramid constructed entirely of naked cheerleaders armed with a....

    55 gallon drum of lubricant?



  • @EncoreSpod said:

    ..last night I got a "Customer says it does this and this, put it on repeat testing and see what it does..."

    "It does that boss, I've told you before it does that. Its been doing that for months, its been in my reports for months and no-one has fixed it yet."

    ...if the results say there is something wrong and I suggest a fix he doesn't want to hear that his product is imperfect, spend anything on implementing and testing my fix, or have to give me credit for fixing it. So in his mind, the problem doesn't exist.

    "you're right, Boss - there's nothing wrong with it, my test rig is flawed, and the customer is lying when they found something wrong. Will you tell them, or shall I?"



  • On my first program I worked on they used to have some bad management with regards to testing (this fortunately occured several years before I started work on said program).  Managment did not like to see defects being found by test since that showed that the system was unstable and not ready for production.  So any time test opened a ticket against the system, they (as in Test) would get yelled at by management for breaking the system.  So testers bypassed the ticket system and had developers fix issues on the side to avoid the wrath of management.  This went on for a while until one tester said screw this and proceded to open a ticket for every single issue that was being dealt with on the down low along with a whole bunch he recently had found.  As a result the lovely low issue rate that managment loved got surged, and they were extremely unhappy.  So this tester was brought in before management and experienced their wrath for 'destroying' the system.  However the management did not realize that such a surge in open tickets brought the attention of the upper manager (in this case the program manager) who after several meetings realized the managers were idiots and had them all fired.  Tester stayed on the program and eventually became test lead.



  • @EncoreSpod said:

    "Well it was the air supply then!"

    "Are you saying we have 'faulty air' ?"

     

    I have a new favorite buzzphrase.

     

     



  • @Anketam said:

    However the management did not realize that such a surge in open tickets brought the attention of the upper manager (in this case the program manager) who after several meetings realized the managers were idiots and had them all fired.  Tester stayed on the program and eventually became test lead.

    Stop turning this into a house of lies.



  • @Anketam said:

    one tester said screw this and proceded to open a ticket for every single issue that was being dealt with on the down low along with a whole bunch he recently had found
    Sounds like the kind of thing I'd do. I once closed a bunch of support tickets with the reason 'closed without resolution to meet SLAs' because an idiot manager insisted that we had too many tickets open rather than getting us sufficient staff to deal with them. The manager responsible for that little stunt had his desk cleared for him because he wasn't allowed back in the building. I got fired too, not surprisingly, but then got employed by the client to act as their liaison with my original employers for the last three months of their support contract, on the basis I knew all the tricks they tried to pull. That was good fun :)



  • @Anketam said:

    This went on for a while until one tester said screw this
     

    And Jesus said, "Fuck your fucking fuck."



  • @EncoreSpod said:

    "Are you saying we have 'faulty air' ?"
    Actually, it is possible to have "faulty air".  Maybe not in this case, which seems like more of a  "boss is an idiot" situation, but having worked my entire career in industrial settings I have seen many cases of condensation in the pipes carrying compressed air and the resulting water causes problems with equipment.



  • If only there were some way to surreptitiously replace your boss with GLaDOS... she would make sure the testing is done properly!



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Anketam said:
    However the management did not realize that such a surge in open tickets brought the attention of the upper manager (in this case the program manager) who after several meetings realized the managers were idiots and had them all fired.  Tester stayed on the program and eventually became test lead.
    Stop turning this into a house of lies.
    Believe it or not there are rare times when the leadership above your sucky leadership actually know what they are doing.  I realize that is a WTF in its own right, but it can happen.



  • @serguey123 said:

    @EncoreSpod said:

    human pyramid constructed entirely of naked cheerleaders armed with a....

    More of this please

     

    . . . box of tampons as the upper tiers begin menstruating on the lower tiers.

     



  • @nonpartisan said:

    @serguey123 said:

    @EncoreSpod said:

    human pyramid constructed entirely of naked cheerleaders armed with a....

    More of this please

     

    . . . box of tampons as the upper tiers begin menstruating on the lower tiers.

     

    And the blood dripping slowly down their cheeks while they lick it and try to catch it...(oh yeah) with their mouths



  • Have I ever said you people are disturbing?



  • @Sutherlands said:

    Have I ever said you people are disturbing?

     

    CHOP

     



  • @Sutherlands said:

    Have I ever said you people are disturbing?

    I have done my good deed for the day.



  • Re: The third and final insult

    Firstly I must say your cheerleader suggestions have ruined my fantasy. :)

    What I really came for was a follow up rant which I shall call "The third and final insult"

    1. For the last two days I have had to go on a compulsory 'All staff must attend' training course on this company and its products which is a joke considering I already work at this company, use their products everyday, rip them apart, put them together again, have copies of the circuit diagrams, the source code, understand the physics and maths which makes them work and actually came up with some of the features, statistics and software packages they are training me on.

    2. When one of the project managers had to give his section on 'New Product', he presented various stats on its performance and stability blah blah blah and none of them tied up with the real test results I just spent the last three months gathering.

    3. The third final and most devastating insult, as if being given a certificate for attending wasn't patronising enough... its written in COMIC SSSSAAAAANNSSSSSSS!!!!!!!



  • @EncoreSpod said:

    Firstly I must say your cheerleader suggestions have ruined my fantasy. :)
     




  • @EncoreSpod said:

    3. The third final and most devastating insult, as if being given a certificate for attending wasn't patronising enough... its written in COMIC SSSSAAAAANNSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

    I'm sure they'd be willing to change it to Papyrus for you.



  • @EncoreSpod said:

    1. For the last two days I have had to go on a compulsory 'All staff must attend' training course on this company and its products which is a joke considering I already work at this company, use their products everyday, rip them apart, put them together again, have copies of the circuit diagrams, the source code, understand the physics and maths which makes them work and actually came up with some of the features, statistics and software packages they are training me on.

    Entertain yourself by correcting the people giving the course when they say something that isn't [i]quite[/i] right, and see how long it takes before they glance at you with every statement they make.



  • @Gurth said:

    @EncoreSpod said:
    1. For the last two days I have had to go on a compulsory 'All staff must attend' training course on this company and its products which is a joke considering I already work at this company, use their products everyday, rip them apart, put them together again, have copies of the circuit diagrams, the source code, understand the physics and maths which makes them work and actually came up with some of the features, statistics and software packages they are training me on.
    Entertain yourself by correcting the people giving the course when they say something that isn't quite right, and see how long it takes before they glance at you with every statement they make.

    I did that to my bio teacher in high school, she actually asked for my approval of any statement during her class (she was a very odd person too).



  • @serguey123 said:

    @Gurth said:
    @EncoreSpod said:
    1. For the last two days I have had to go on a compulsory 'All staff must attend' training course on this company and its products which is a joke considering I already work at this company, use their products everyday, rip them apart, put them together again, have copies of the circuit diagrams, the source code, understand the physics and maths which makes them work and actually came up with some of the features, statistics and software packages they are training me on.
    Entertain yourself by correcting the people giving the course when they say something that isn't quite right, and see how long it takes before they glance at you with every statement they make.

    I did that to my bio teacher in high school, she actually asked for my approval of any statement during her class (she was a very odd person too).

    I had two teachers in high school (one was math and the other history), where I was told to stop raising my hand to answer questions, and ofcourse I would be the only one in the class to raise my hand.  In the case of the math class I would have the answer (and my hand raised) before she would finish writing out the problem, this annoyed her for some reason.  It was so funny near the end of the year when we actually got to the more interesting and tougher (still easy) questions that when no one would raise their hands the teacher without even looking at me would just say my name (with a slight sigh), at which point I would give the answer.



  • @Scarlet Manuka said:

    @EncoreSpod said:
    3. The third final and most devastating insult, as if being given a certificate for attending wasn't patronising enough... its written in COMIC SSSSAAAAANNSSSSSSS!!!!!!!
    I'm sure they'd be willing to change it to Papyrus for you.

    <FONT size=3>Papyrus is an awesome font.   I love [ab]using it for 'fancy' looking stuff, or lyric slides for church, comic sans is reserved for the kidies.  Back on topic though, you have my pity in this.  Next time pay a coworker to mark you present for it that way you can skip it.</FONT>


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