Slinger's Thoughts

February 1, 2013

Don’t they test that?

Filed under: SharePoint — Tags: , , , — slingeronline @ 9:29 am

Well, today is my last day at Idera.  I was a Quality Assurance engineer testing their SharePoint disaster recovery product.  I have seen behind the curtain at a software vendor and I know a lot more about what goes on in the life cycle of a piece of software.  I can assure you that yes, it is tested. Part of my job was to test the functionality of the software and all of the new features that were included in each new release, and that has enlightened me to some very interesting things. 

  • What does QA do?

First, we didn’t test our software against your environment. In the QA department here we have over 100 different SharePoint farms of varying configurations with different options and features in each. Every SharePoint farm is different. I will admit that there are things that we didn’t test. There are probably many things that we overlooked. With the 186,985,356,782 different combinations of SharePoint configurations and features, there is a pretty safe bet that we didn’t test your exact set of configurations and features.  We try to include and cover as much as we can.

  • What do developers do?

Our developers do incredible and impossible things, and they do it daily.  They can’t do everything they want to do, they want the software to be perfect and flawless.  But there are also deadlines, customer issues and priorities, etc. that make perfect difficult.  They have to pick and choose what stays and what gets pushed off until the next version.

  • What can you do?

If you have an issue with some software that you are using, instead of cursing and asking “don’t they test their software,” I would rather you did this. Call the company’s tech support and let them know. There are several possibilities that may have happened.

  1. The company may not be aware that your issue is an issue. Remember, we didn’t test the software in your environment, we tested it against a template of environments.
  2. The company may be aware of your issue, and already has a way to workaround it. It’s not a perfect solution, but it does get you moving.
  3. The company may be aware of your issue, and it was not addressed yet and will likely be corrected in a future version.

Trust me, these companies want your business and usually they will work with you to find a solution to your issue.  If you want to know what they do to try and find out what issue your having, read the debug logs for the software.  That isn’t just a bunch of noise generated to make you think that something is happening, those debug logs (or ULS logs,) tell Tech Support, Quality Assurance, and Development what is going on, and in many cases what is going wrong.  On more than one occasion the issue has not been with our product, but with a mis-configured environment.  We will let you know if that is the case. We aren’t trying to pass the blame, we are letting you know about an issue that you have that may have an impact some time in the future.

  • And lastly, to my colleagues at Idera;

I’m going to miss working with you guys.  Over the past several years I have been completely amazed by what you accomplish.  I appreciate your passion for what you do, and it definitely shows.  I’m heading back over to working as a customer in the SharePoint world instead of working for a vendor.  After seeing what goes into developing and producing good software, I promise that I will never again ask in frustration “Didn’t they test this?”  I already know the answer to that question.

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2 Comments »

  1. Great write-up and look behind the scenes, Jay. Your post helps to balance things out and show the “human” picture of life inside the ISV.

    People get downright angry about software problems at times, and I think this post will become my recommended “read this before you call and scream at someone” reference.

    And … I’m going to miss working with you, as well. The SharePoint space isn’t that big, though. I have a feeling we’ll bump into one another again before too long :-)

    Comment by Sean McDonough — February 1, 2013 @ 10:08 am

  2. […] Each one has strengths and weaknesses. Make sure that what you do get, if your DR policy needs a 3rd party tool, meets all of your requirements. With whatever you do choose, test it to make sure meets your requirements.  If you find after testing that you are running into some roadblocks, read this.  […]

    Pingback by High Heels are not Hammers – How do you create backups | Slinger's Thoughts — June 10, 2013 @ 12:33 pm


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