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First Class QA. Why not?

, Friday, June 29th, 2012

The Washington Post published an article the other day about a man named Terry Lynch. When Mr. Lynch wanders around Washington D.C., he pays very close attention. Some think, perhaps too close.

The litter on Ogden Street NW makes him stop. Then it’s the seatless bicycle locked to a lamppost, the tree with dead branches, then a graffiti-splattered mailbox. He sighs when he comes to the sidewalk dotted with a measles-like outbreak of blackened, flattened chewing gum.

Mr. Lynch wanders around Washington, and immediately spots things that are wrong. He then reports them to the authorities. “The town should be green, clean and safe,” he says. “First class. Why not?”

Some people think he’s too picky. Others find him downright annoying. But he is just assisting in pointing out violations to an existing law. Laws that are meant to make Washington D.C. the best city possible.

If Terry Lynch is Washington D.C.’s most annoying man, then I am Beaconfire’s most annoying employee.

You see, I do Quality Assurance Testing (QA, for short). Let me rephrase that. I perform QA. Because it is a dance, a graceful balancing act between making sure you have the most perfect website possible, while still launching on budget and on time.

Being the QA person makes me a bit unpopular sometimes. Interface Engineers roll their eyes when I point out that their square corners should be rounded. Techs sigh when I point out that their email sign up form doesn’t do graceful error-handling. Designers stomp their feet when I point out that their placeholder image doesn’t scale on other pages, in other browsers. Project Managers cringe when I find 30 small bugs 2 days before a site launch.

Yes, people can be sensitive. But QA is not about telling people they are doing their job wrong. There are hundreds of communications between a website team, and literally thousands of details into making a great website. Things slip through the cracks. Items are overlooked.  It is no person’s fault. Being a good QA tester is about separating yourself from the process. It’s just you and a website.

Yes, sometimes I feel the hate.  But at the end, everyone feels the love, because QA makes sure that you have a first class web site. Why not?

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