At times it felt like a futile situation. Why had we been hired at all if we weren't given what we were needed to do the job? But our team's managers said to do what we could and they'd keep working with the developer and agency managers. We gave up butting our heads against the brick wall and did the best we could with what we had.
As it turned out, the government agency's point person for the project had previously worked in the very end-user job that our application was supposed to serve. He couldn't let us talk to the end-users, but was able to provide us with many ideas of various real-life scenarios to try out. Finally, a ray of hope!
As the project continued, our tests caused all sorts of problems to bubble to the surface -- if they didn't outright crash the application. This resulted in a large number of defect reports. Development management was definitely not happy about those metrics, but in contrast, the developers themselves appreciated the feedback and offered their fixes quickly.
The whole project took longer than it should have -- likely due to our inability to get more real-life scenarios from a variety of users. The desire not to "waste time" with tester/end-user collaboration up front was more than offset by considerable time and effort spent later identifying and fixing a host of easily preventable bugs, then retesting the application before a workable version could finally be delivered.
Those of us in the trenches managed to eke out one positive from the experience: The developers and testers considered ourselves on the same team with the shared goal of delivering the best, most error-free product possible no matter what. We found ways around the baffling roadblocks, and in the end, we were proud of the robust, useful application we delivered to the end-user. It easily could have had a different ending.
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This story, "When developers battle testers, users lose," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.