July 7, 2014

Eight Years!

What does the future here look like? Reply hazy, try again later.

Today marks my eight-year anniversary at my current company.

It's hard for me to believe that I've been here eight years already. Yet when I look back at all we've accomplished, it sometimes seems like far more:

  • When I started, there was no real Quality Assurance Team.  Whatever small bit of testing occurred was being performed by Product Management folks in their spare time.  Since then, we've created a terrific team in the US, augmented by some good contractors, and a small team in India as well.
  • Bugs were not being tracked in any central system.  There were a few emails floating around, and an occasional spreadsheet, but no place where people could go to find the status of bugs.  Now, we use Bugzilla, and people have grown tired of me asking "Do we have a bug report for that?"
  • Lots of people have come and gone over the past eight years.  Initially, the biggest change was the prior CTO being replaced by my boss.  Since then, many other folks have left.copyrightjoestrazzere
  • We've changed a significant portion of the infrastructure behind most of our applications.  It's far more scalable and sustainable now, although we continue to make changes
  • We've formalized many of our development and testing processes, and created the necessary processes where none existed before.
  • We've gone from fighting fires every day, to a much more stable, dependable set of systems.  Where before many of our systems needed manual, hands-on attention every day, they now run in a much more automated fashion.
  • Our product lines have changed over time.  We have weeded out some products that were single-customer, poorly funded products.  We've created some new products, and retired others.
  • A few years ago, we were purchased by a much larger corporation. It hasn't been all bad, and it hasn't been all good.  The volume of big-company administrivia started out small, but has increased, and it continues increasing now.
  • We are still in the middle of a massive project to move our production infrastructure into the corporate facility. We have purchased new hardware, new software, database upgrades, etc, etc. We have embraced new processes for security, administration, installation, and support. And of course we are "improving the applications" as we migrate them. With almost all the variables being changed at the same time, this has been a big task for everyone involved, and a very big testing task. It has been "interesting", and a huge drag on our time for building and testing revenue-producing applications.
  • My QA Team was re-orged last year. And my current boss is now reporting to someone in the corporate office, rather than the local General Manager. She also has responsibility for more than just our local division. That means I have even less contact with my boss these days.
  • As part of reporting up into corporate, we are now being required to use some of the formal corporate time-reporting, project management and metrics systems. For me, it's a lot of time spent on administrivia, rather than more productive work. I'm trying hard to minimize the impact on my team, but I can't eliminate all the overhead.

Lots of work, lots of changes, lots more to come.  All in all, a good eight years.

This article originally appeared in my blog: All Things Quality
My name is Joe Strazzere and I'm currently a Director of Quality Assurance.
I like to lead, to test, and occasionally to write about leading and testing.
Find me at http://AllThingsQuality.com/.

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