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Unforgettable Brett Gonzales, Outstanding Tester

  • 08/11/2012
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

For any that do not know him, I’d like to introduce you to my friend, my mentor, my hero, the late departed, much lamented, larger than life and totally imaginary Brett Gonzales, who was, quite frankly, born to test. His parents knew their first born was something special when he reduced a teacher of 30 years experience to tears on his first day at school. The teacher wanted to impress the class of eager 4-year olds, and boldly stated: “A triangle has 3 sides”. Brett’s tear-inducing reply was but the single word – “Why?”

Brett’s sole purpose was to test – books, instructions, road signs, and eventually his crowning glory – software. His goal can be summed up in The Testers’ Mantra, Brett’s often quoted ‘Exploro ergo sum’ or ‘I test therefore I am’. He would try and break or find loop-holes in anything and everything. Amongst many other phrases that Brett gave to the world was ‘buggy software’, stemming from his time at the American store chain “Little Elmer”. The firm used systems to design prams and buggies, so the words were first spoken to describe the purpose of the software. However the term has since gone viral with a totally different meaning.

Testing everything, Brett would frequently miss flights, refusing to run but would walk briskly in airport terminals, obeying the signs: “Gate Twelve – 16 minutes’ walk”. Directions at Nons-ville, the capital of Ruritania now say for example: “Gate C – 12 minutes’ walk (or 53 minutes if on crutches with a heavy suitcase)” – a practical example of the lasting impact of Brett Gonzales.

When testing software, Brett regularly gave descriptive names to important test cases, so they could be meaningfully discussed. Whenever assigned to an HR or payroll system, Brett always had a “stuff the management” test case, denoting the situation when an employee leaves the company with immediate effect. Here the worker has walked away from any pay that is due or leave entitlement, and frequently pension-rights as well, and can be used when one or more of the work-force win substantial amounts on for example the Euro-Millions lottery. They in effect say “Stuff the Management”, giving a two-fingered leaving salute. Brett first saw the need for this scenario in Production when a disgruntled employee maliciously, brutally and fatally attacked the Project Manager, and was escorted off site in a van with blue flashing lights, in hand-cuffs. Unfortunately, the previously mentioned test case cost Brett his job at Zing-Zub Motor Cycles. A mischievous team member amended Brett’s white-board instruction Run ‘Stuff the Management’ – Brett Gonzalesto ‘Stuff the Management and Run’ – Brett Gonzales. After that he had to go!

Testers! Let me encourage you to not despair when in a difficult situation, perhaps with aggressive timelines, incomprehensive requirements or illusive users. Consider where you are, and then you be the one to ask what everyone is thinking. It will bring clarity and light to the darkest, most gloomy scenarios. Take a deep breath, look them all in the eye, and then say with a strong clear voice: “Well, what would Brett have done?”

What a friend! What a mentor! What a hero! What a tester! Brett Ignatius Gonzales. Gone, but definitely not forgotten.

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