Now that the Worse than Worst Case Has Happened

  • of various scenarios such as the destruction of your office building, the inability of staff to commute to work, or the loss of connectivity to off-site data warehouses.

The skills and experience you bring to your job are equally valuable to your community. If you have any spare time, volunteer. As a QA professional and a concerned citizen, you can conduct research, analyze systems, and ask reasonable questions. Find an under-funded, under-staffed institution and offer your services. Learn about the emergency communications infrastructure, both the official government-affiliated media and the grassroots networks. Review evacuation plans. Inform yourself about public health facilities and procedures. Explain technology to the uninitiated. These activities can be especially rewarding for erstwhile dot-com employees who may be between jobs right now. Not only will you feel more useful when people start thanking you for your altruistic efforts; you may also impress someone enough to recommend you to your next employer.

In war, sports, and even office politics, some say that the best defense is a good offense. While aggressive action undoubtedly can chase evildoers back into their caves, and keep them there at least for a while, real security depends less upon armies winning battles than upon ordinary citizens remaining vigilant and looking out for each other in a spirit of trust and cooperation. Others may yearn to play Rambo, but most QA professionals are better suited for the role of Paul Revere. There will always be a worse case than the worst we can imagine; our goal should not be to envision cataclysms in minute detail but rather to ensure that the markets and institutions of civilized society can continue to function even when they are attacked. No matter where we work or live, we can still do a great deal to preserve and protect the quality of the American dream.

About the author

Patricia Ensworth's picture Patricia Ensworth

Patricia Ensworth is the author of The Accidental Project Manager. She is a Vice President of Systems Development and manager of software quality assurance at a global financial services firm. Ensworth holds a Masters' degree in anthropology from Columbia University, and specializes in cultural issues affecting the usability and internationalization of technology. Her articles about software engineering and other subjects have appeared in many technical and general-interest publications.

AgileConnection is one of the growing communities of the TechWell network.

Featuring fresh, insightful stories, is the place to go for what is happening in software development and delivery.  Join the conversation now!