Pulp Fiction Testing
"I'm here to help. If my help's not appreciated, lots of luck, gentlemen." - The Wolf
I've had this concept in my head for a while. I feel like it fits the software industry as much as it fits the fictional mob world of Quentin Tarantino's classic "Pulp Fiction". Maybe it's a little far fetched, but stay with me here and let me tell a story.
It's about makers and fixers. Makers make stuff, and fixers fix stuff. Simple concept, mostly. It's an idea that coders are basically guns for hire. They come in, they get an assignment, they make the code. They ride off into the sunset, or collect their pay, or wait around for another job; whatever analogy you want to apply there, but they do the thing that needs doing. They make stuff happen.
|Two guys, making things happen.|
But then, in the process of making things happen, something else happens that was an unintended consequence of doing the thing that they were told to do.
|"Whelp, broke that, coffee time!"|
What happens then? If you are looking square at a problem that needs to be solved, or at least need to find a plan of action, you call up a fixer.
|"Excellent coffee, thank you!"|
The makers are no dummies here, they can contain the situation, maybe hide the bad code, parking it in a garage, out of the way, until someone can assess the situation and come up with another idea to fix the problem. You call in a fixer, "The Wolf", or basically a tester. They know the app. They know what will work with customers, they might even work with you to come up with a plan of action. They work with everybody to assess the situation and then help assign how to deal with it. They even do some customer service to smooth over things, because, what happened wasn't pretty, an no one likes to wait for information. They make some calls, get info to the right people, maybe call in other fixers to help out with specific issues that are time sensitive. The problem made is solved, or at the very least, the people it impacted are happy with how it was handled. Even the makers are all cool about it because they got information, and a plan and a place to get things done. Because it's embarrassing for everybody when a problem is visible, and if you can contain a situation, it's better for everybody that way. Well, in the case of code and software at least.
I know it doesn't work this way for everybody, and it might not work this way for most testers on a project, but I think it should.
I also think "The Wolf" types can be proactive. Analyzing things before they become a problem, getting out ahead of it. When the "The Wolf says, "That's thirty minutes away. I'll be there in ten.", he's working to get ahead of things, and being proactive about how to handle it.
I think testing and raising the quality bar is one of the most important things a fixer type can do. "The Wolf" aka the fixer is representative of the level of respect I have for the profession of testing. Testers may be creating more work for those maker/developer types out there, but at the same time, they are raising the bar, setting standards, and being efficient and professional as possible. Also, they know where most the skeletons are located.