Tuesday, 21 August 2007

The monk who sold his bugs

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monk set out looking for a job in India that could help him earn enough to feed his family. Monk knocked the door of a few software companies and by God's grace, a company did consider him for an opening in testing that they had.

The monk was new to the software industry and had calculated his monthly salary by dividing the CTC ( or cost to company per annum ) by 12 and felt happy about it but when he received his first pay check, he did come to know that maths in software industry, especially when it comes to salary is different. It was not possible to run his family with the monthly pay check he received and hence had to find a way to earn more.

Looking out for another job means, taking time off the work, which also implies that he earns lesser for that month and might end up not getting an offer. So what is the way to work in the same company and yet earn more?

In conversation with other testers in the company during lunch, the monk heard a couple of testers lament about the development teams not fixing the bugs found by them. One tester said, "I bet a 100 rupees on each of these bugs" and other testers too started making similar statements. The monk who was listening to this got an idea and asked all these testers, "did you say 100 rupees to convince developers to fix a bug?" and then testers replied, "Oh yes!"

The monk went back to the monastry in search of his Guru to seek help to win the bet that was placed on each bug. The Guru had left for a world tour but had left a note to all the monks who came in search of him and the note said, "Your problems will be solved even if I am not here to help you and the one who can help you this time is yourself". After reading this the monk didn't get disappointed but thanked his Guru for leaving such a wonderful note.

The monk boarded a bus to head back to office and at the bus he handed over a 10 rupee note to purchase a ticket. The conductor said, "Sorry, I cant give you the ticket, the low battery condition in this ticket generator will make the ticket get stuck during the print out and its a very painful job to remove the paper out and fix the roll in the position and hence we are losing money and business because of this" and the monk said, "Thank you! I got the answer for a question that was bothering me".

The monk, on reaching office called for a meet with other testers and asked them to bring their bug report print outs. Everyone gave their bunch of reports and the monk started his homework.

He picked a bug that was logged with a low battery operation of an embedded product where the developers had commented "Users are not supposed to use the product in low battery". The monk went to the developer and narrated the incident that happened in bus and also added that, "I guess the government is planning to sue the company that provided that machine. As ours is a huge company where different products are developed, are you sure its not our company thats going to be sued?"

That question to a developer was enough for the monk to make his first 100 rupees. As days passed, the monk narrated a lot of real time stories to developers who had offered reluctance to fixing a lot of bugs assigned to them and the monk made a lot of money. As the stories from the monk became popular among the developers in the company, developers loved listening to monk' stories and the monk had a very high credibility among all teams.

The testers conducted a meet and discussed about the monk who made a lot of money through them and decided to cancel their bets thereafter and some testers said, "Ah! I can say better stories, what big deal? Let me convince the developers hereafter and I am not going to pay that already rich monk anymore"

The monk had not only caused a revolution within himself, he had also created an evolution, the way other testers wanted to work.

The monk decided to go to a new place looking for more and different kind of problems. He made a lot of money solving such problems and eventually became one of the richest tester of the world!

Lessons to learn from the story of a monk who sold bugs:

1.Everyone needs something convincing to take up a task, be it fixing a bug or executing scripts.
2.Developers need some real time scenarios, facts, customer information and information about customers knowledge, models in which the customer uses a product in a packaged form - story - to get convinced to fix bugs.
3.One who constantly thinks of solving a problem, will find the solution anywhere.
The most reliable person for help, is yourself.
4.Testers need to develop and practice a skill of story telling to get better at selling bugs.
5.Testing is not an activity of improving quality, its an activity of finding information and it is the product/development teams who fix those issues for improving the quality. In case you still want to think that testing is an activity of improving the quality, you might want to become a best bug seller to continue thinking of it.
6.Testing is not necessarily a computer science subject and its life science, social science, ... all science and all non science, too.
7.There is a traditional way of making money and as a tester if you take the traditional way, you make less with it.
8.Some bugs are born with self explanatory story but some aren't and testers need to build them.
9.More your sales figure ( selling bugs, I mean) higher is your credibility and as testers if you don't have credibility, you might not be able to boost your sales figures further.
Source: http://testertested.blogspot.com

1 comment:

Arun said...

Good one Vasu!