My First Testing Experience – Part 1

I thought it would be fun to relive the event that really pushed me into testing. The first 5 years of my career were spent doing business analysis and development work. Apart from unit testing my own code, I had no testing experience or expertise. I was an average mid-level developer doing his thing when out of nowhere, I fell into the world of testing. This is Part 1 of that story.

My company was in the process of upgrading/migrating their web platform to SharePoint 2007. The project was broken into two teams; the platform team, and the migration team. The platform team was tasked with re-writing the entire platform (internet, intranet, and extranet sites) while the migration team was responsible for writing throwaway programs that would transform and move the company’s data from the old systems to the new one. I was a developer on the migration team.

The platform team had a typical setup. There were stakeholders, a product owner, a BA, requirements, developers, and several testers. The migration team however, was simply a handful of developers. Our job was to make sure the data was taken from the old system, transformed, and then migrated to the new system.

Since the old system wasn’t documented very well and the new system was still being developed we had little information to guide us. We had to dig into the old system’s data then talk to the developers to see what their new code expected then go write a tool to do the work. As the platform matured and changed, our migration tools had to evolve to accommodate those changes.

Many months went by and the platform and migration tools started to take shape. Every component on the platform had a specific tool, or part of a tool, that would handle its migration. Not surprisingly, the migration project grew very fast to the point where, in terms of lines of code, it was actually larger than the platform.

At this point there was a test manager and 5 testers working on the platform but no one was testing the migration tools. One day the project manager came to me and said:

“We are almost ready to start migrating data, but we need to make sure the migration tools work correctly. I’m gonna need you to go ahead and test them OK?”

Yeah, that was me (except I’m not a baby and my head isn’t shaped like a football).

“Let me get this straight, you want me, someone with no testing training or experience, to test an incredibly large and complex set of tools, without any documented requirements, by myself, all while the platform project, which is similar in size and complexity has had 5 people testing it for the past 6 months?”


“Wow…. Well, OK”

In part 2 panic sets in.

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