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18 December, 2023

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Tester

rudolph the red nosed tester

It was December 23rd at the North Pole, and Santa’s software team were enjoying their Christmas go-live party. They’d pushed the new CRM (Christmas Resource Management) system over the line just in time, and they were very pleased with themselves about it.

They were all in Santa’s Grotto, the most popular bar in the North Pole. The Christmas hits were banging out, and everyone was having a holly jolly time. They were eagerly waiting for Santa to arrive and give out the annual Christmas prize – the best team member gets to ride with him on his sleigh and eat half of all the mince pies left out by children worldwide.

Dasher, the project manager, and Dancer, the UX designer, were standing at the bar, talking about their greatness and which one would win. The front-end devs, Prancer and Vixen, were shooting pool against the back-end devs, Comet and Cupid. The DevOps engineers, Donner and Blitzen, were chatting with a couple of the elves from the support team.

Everyone apart from Rudolph, the tester. He was sat in the corner, all alone. He’d tried talking to the rest of the team, but nobody had time for him.

The other team members always called him names – just a silly tester, not a proper part of the team. He never had anything good to talk about anyway, always moaning that their late code delivery didn’t give him enough time to test thoroughly. Dasher said Rudolph was like a miserable, broken record; it was the same story every Christmas. He never celebrated the developers getting things over the line; he always just complained about squeezed timelines. The rest of the team just laughed at him.

The team had been running Christmas for years without any problems. They didn’t even know why Santa keeps Rudolph around, all he’s ever done is tick a few boxes, why do they need a tester? Santa probably just felt sorry for him; he’s soft like that. Everyone else agreed that Rudolph is a waste of space… and he had that stupid red nose.

Finally, the song they’d all been waiting for started playing, Santa’s favourite. He always came in during ‘All I Want For Christmas is You’.

Everyone looked towards the door, and when it opened, they started cheering and whooping. However, Santa did not look like his usual festive self. In fact, he did not look happy at all. Santa shook his head at the DJ, and Mariah scratched to a halt… “Gift distribution has crashed! My route hasn’t loaded! I don’t know which kids are getting which presents! Christmas is ruined!”

Everyone freaked out. The team rushed back to their desks, but nobody knew what to do. There was so much to check and so little time. They knew something was broken, but what and where would they start looking?

Despite knowing he could help, Rudolph was reluctant to stick his neck out.

The rest of the team didn’t respect him and probably didn’t even want his help. After all, he’d told them they needed to test more, and he needed more time, but nobody likes to hear ‘I told you so’.

In a desperate attempt to save Christmas, Santa asked Rudolph for help, knowing he had unique skills and attention to detail. Ever the dedicated team member, Rudolph stepped up to the challenge. With one hand, he kicked off automation tests, with the other he built performance scenarios, and he used his toes for exploratory testing.

He methodically ran tests across four machines simultaneously, isolating the problems and identifying bugs the developers had missed. He started to compile the most accurate and detailed defect reports any team had ever seen. Seeing his skills in action, the developers worked with Rudolph, following his lead in addressing the issues.

Before long, everything was fixed, and the system was restored just in time. Santa thanked Rudolph before heading to his sleigh, ready to deliver gifts to kids across the world.

As he was about to leave, he looked at Rudolph, smiled and said, “Come on then!”

The rest of the team cheered as Rudolph jumped on board.

Stephen Davis
by Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis is the founder of Calleo Software, a OpenText (formerly Micro Focus) Gold Partner. His passion is to help test professionals improve the efficiency and effectiveness of software testing.

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18th December 2023
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