was fixed, it seemed that two more would materialize in its place. Time was ticking down to the FAT, yet I would not relent in my demands that my team meet the magic date.
The day before the FAT, we were still fixing showstopper bugs. We still had not executed a dry run of the FAT tests. Significant areas of the system were almost completely untested.
The morning of the FAT dawned bright and clear. A herd of customers, consultants, project managers, and the like trooped into our test lab, and we started executing the FAT. We immediately ran into trouble.
Because we never ran a dry run, the tests were not properly scripted. My test engineer was, in effect, winging tests on the fly. This gave the whole FAT an unprofessional, ad hoc aura. We also started turning up serious problems with most of the tests. All in all, there were thirteen sections to the FAT, and problems were found in twelve of them.
I figuratively found myself face down on the ground, spitting out leaves and dirt, wondering what had just happened to me.
About the only thing that I did correctly in all this was taking full, public responsibility for what had happened. I explained the steps that we would go through to ensure that the re-test would be successful--full testing, less thrashing, and at least one dry run of the whole FAT.
The customer took it all with amazing grace. They chided me for being so ill-prepared, and told me that it was not the sort of behavior they had come to expect from my company. They allowed us to install the system right after Christmas, although they were disappointed in the delay.
If I was going to pick something that led to my undoing, it would be my arrogance in thinking that I knew better than my team and that I could blithely short cut our processes. Beware: Reality has a way of rewarding arrogance with a double-dose of humility. I can assure you that it is a bitter dose to take.