Today’s task on my Swiss project, post-testing, was to list all the problems we had during testing, try to determine what the issue was, and meet with the team lead to prioritize the problems. We had the usual:
- Test script errors.
- System bugs.
- My bugs. (in my code, I mean)
- User errors, often because we could have made the process more clear to them.
- Irresolvable issues.
It scares some to think you have irresolvable issues, but you can’t watch every keystroke every user makes to know exactly what they did. When no-one can reproduce the problem, it doesn’t mean you should give up, but you do have to make an educated guess which ones are most likely to truly be bugs to prioritize where to spend your time.
In our case, the priority list was quite clear. There are certain things the customer wants me to do while I’m around for the next few days, and other things they said they’d have their own LIMS support team handle, if I run out of time. For example, we all agree the technical documentation is at the top of the list. I need to leave something behind that the LIMS support team can use to support what I’ve created. Otherwise, they have to call me every time they have a problem or struggle unnecessarily with it. Some consultants love to think they’re indispensible by leaving customers needing to call them back to spend money for every change, but that’s Unethical (with a capital “U”!!). There, I said it, out loud. It’s true, though. A professional consultant might ask the customer for more opportunities to work together, but they DO NOT artificially create work for themselves. Okay, I’ll get off the soapbox, now.
On a side note, one thing I want to say about this customer is that I’m impressed by the way they treat their own people. They do actually treat them as living, breathing human beings with feelings and ideas. They really do seem to value the input of their employees. Even though they do have their own form of bureaucracy, I don’t think there’s been a time when I needed something and couldn’t find where to get it just by asking someone. If it wasn’t their territory, they knew how to find out where to send me, and they did so. I felt super-efficient with these people, and leaving with a great feeling of accomplishment.