we learn the hard way

i was really annoyed recently when a supposedly independent release wiped out my data entirely. when i say independent, it was supposed to be for a module that did not impact the one i was testing.

it did not take me time to realise that the release that was sent had a schema creation sql that truncated and rebuilt all the tables, including those that were being used by the previously delivered release. these tables did not undergo any change in the newer (independent) release and therefore should not have been delivered in the first place.

now the question is, should i blame myself for not checking the entire release contents or was i taking my testing tasks a bit too far?

i posed this questions to some of my colleagues and they were quick to blame the dev team for this. i was not entirely convinced, being the conscientious tester that i am. agreed, it does takeup my time, time that i have not quoted/costed/estimated i would take to carry out the ‘core’ testing activities; to do these checks, but it is certainly a time wisely ‘invested’ that causes us less grief further down the line.

a counter argument to support the critics would have been for the dev team to have documented this in a release note. not all testers (that i have worked with) are technical enough to understand such ddls; nor have many of them shown detailed interest in knowing exactly what the release contents are. i’ve argued with many testers who say “we only look at the release once its loaded/installed”.

a further argument to support them would be to question dev team on whether they had done any tests themselves and if they understood the implications thereof?

initial impact of this was i was annoyed that i will have to regression test previously delivered module and therefore add more time to my testing efforts; but when i thought about it, it made more sense for me to do that, giving me yet another opportunity to provide wider coverage than i did before, so better tests.

but on the whole, note to self: read not just the release notes, not just the sqls, but speak with dev team to see what the impacts are!