There are times when things seem so clear.  Other times it is like looking through a cloud.

How many times have we stumbled across something in an area another tester had worked on and wondered just how it is that they did not see the problem?  After all, we have done piles of training and exercises and we have really good process models in place and – what is WRONG with them that they are not seeing these problems?

So, anyone else run into that?  It seems like there are piles of stories of people who were just “inappropriately motivated” or essentially a lazy individual, right?  People just don’t get it., do they?

Let’s see.  Something happened in Friday that made me wonder about some of those presumptions.

The last few months, my dear lady-wife has made “observations” on some “stuff” around the house.  Stuff?  Well, like, little fluffs of cat hair in the corner or bits of stuff on the carpeted steps or, well, yeah, stuff after I vacuumed (Hoovered for some folks).  Stuff like “How can you not see that?  What is going on? Aren’t you paying attention?” 

Well, I thought I was.  I was also having a problem reading really small fonts… and kept changing the resolution on my already huge laptop to make it easier to read.  Then dealing with small screws on small devices and really small screwdrivers – it just has been getting really hard.

So, I went more slowly and was more careful with what I was doing.  Still, there were bits of … fluff – like cat hair – that seemed to evade whatever I did, or tried to do, while cleaning.  Man.  Talk about frustrating.

Sounds kinda like what some of those “less than stellar” testers may have run into, no?  No matter how careful they were, glaring huge problems still got through.  Then they try harder and be as diligent as they can and they get in trouble for not getting through enough test cases each day.

So, folks may find themselves in a spiral without knowing what the problem is.  For testers, it could be simply that they are overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of stuff they are finding.  Maybe there are problems in their understanding of what is needed or expected of them or… yeah. 

In my case, the very nice eye doctor – yeah, I figured part of the problem was that my eyeglass prescription was in need of updating.  Well, that seemed reasonable – but it was wrong.  Way wrong.

In fact, the very nice eye doctor said “The lens for the left eye is still perfect.  That is correcting to 20/20 with no problem.  The problem is the cataract in your right eye.”  What?  No way.  Yeah.  She did some really simple demonstrations and showed both of us the problem wasn’t my glasses (my tools) it was my eye.  Funny.  Hmmm.  Who’d have thought?

In a flash, everything made sense.  Well, not really a flash, more like a “Oh, bother” moment.  So, now I know what is going on with my eye and what needs to be done to deal with that.  After that problem has been addressed, we’ll see what other problems may have been masked by this really BIG problem.  So, I may need an updated prescription after the dust settles.  But we won’t know until we get to that point.

Kind of like finding bugs in software.  We find a bunch of BIG stuff.  It gets addressed.  But we don’t know what else may be there.  And if time constraints get in the way, what then?

What BIG HUGE problems go undetected?