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Great Testers of our Time – 12: Brett Gonzales

  • 02/11/2011
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR



After Brett Gonzales was found to be ineligible for the European Tester of Excellence award, the EuroSTAR offices were inundated with requests for more information about his career. (Inundated = two e-mail enquiries [both from [email protected] , as it happened] and an incoherent answer-phone message). So after wide-ranging investigations, we would like to share with the wider testing world further details from this giant of our industry. This continues the “Great Testers of our Times” occasional series, with previous entries appearing in the Norwegian Midwives Journal and the Geneva City Newsletter as well as on the Great Testers of our Times web site ( ).

The best way to illustrate his long and productive career is to give information on four projects Brett has worked upon. Four project, four continents; how cool is that! Readers will be amazed at his incisive insight, determination and sheer hard work as he fought against aggressive timelines and internal company politics, forever keeping his end-goal in mind: ‘How can I ensure that I make myself indispensable, and hence able to command large fees into the future?’

Brett was the sole tester involved on the Implementation and Conversion for the Euro (ICE) project for Danish United Mutual Provident (DUMP). He was brought in 5 months before the introduction of the Euro, after his turbulent time at the Danish Cheese Board (DCB)*. Design and coding had been underway for many months, and Brett managed to turn the project around, and enable the immovable target to be met. Or it would have been, if Brett had not revisited the documentation four days before go-live, and seen that the whole of the requirements, written years before, was prefaced by the words “On the assumption that Denmark will join the Euro, the following matters need to be covered in their entirety ……..”. This signalled the end of THAT particular project, and sunk the promising career of many of those involved. But not Brett!

* At DCB, there were problems with the production control software, and the organisation almost went broke when unable to sell 15 tonnes of ‘Danish Purple’ cheese and 20 tonnes of ‘Danish Black’.

In late 1998, Signor Gonzales advised the Malaysian government on Y2K issues. His novel approach was the realisation that Malaysia would not be the first country (in terms of sunrise) that would encounter 00:00 on 01/01/2000. There would therefore be over five hours to solve the problem – surely this would be sufficient to fix one defect, for “the Millennium Bug” was only the one problem, wasn’t it? Australia and New Zealand would have fixed ‘the bug’ first, so Brett reasoned that he could use his extensive network of worldwide testing contacts to “borrow” the solution. His action on this project alone saved the country $millions; more that the combined GDP (at 2010 values) of at least 14 sub-Saharan African countries.



Brett also saved millions when he worked for Bolivian State railways. His initial suggestion for process improvement was to introduce inspections. This was misunderstood (lost in translation, perhaps, as his Catalan Spanish is sometimes deliberately deemed incomprehensible in Latin America) and instead of software inspections, ticket inspections were implemented. Revenues increased dramatically, and Brett was awarded free rail travel throughout South America for life.



Aside from his usual role, Brett worked as Project Manager to implement in-bound and out-bound passenger segregation at Johannesburg airport on behalf of “a major South African airline”. His idea of using step-wise refinement was received enthusiastically and embraced by the whole team. Subsequent recommendations for escalator-wise refinement and corridor-wise refinement were not implemented. However, the project completed within time, within budget and was of higher than expected quality, yet another time that Brett hit ‘the big three’ in his long and illustrious career.



Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Brett Gonzales; a true ‘Great Tester of our Time’.

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