20 Years, 20 Stories: 2012 - A Picture Paints a Thousand Nerds

Author Bio

Author Bio

First let me break the ice by saying that I test software for a living, and I enjoy it. This is usually the point in the party where the conversation comes to a halt and then someone will say to the person next to me, “And what do you do?” Once the person next to me answered “I’m a psychotherapist”. It was the only time I was amused to be near one, because I discovered that is the other conversation killer.

I started in the R&D department at Confirmit in 2012. That’s the core department where the software is made, but of course we work with other departments such as sales, professional services, operations, legal and so on to ensure that we actually ship what our customers want! And a shout out to the lovely people in finance who pay the bills, marketing, and I.T. support which obviously helps keep things moving and grooving.

Since 2012, a combination of everything and nothing has changed. By everything I mean we have a range of new and enhanced products for our customers, including the new and shiny Survey Designer coming soon: that’s my team. The department moved from “waterfall” which means shipping a big chunk of changes only a few times a year, to “agile” which means shipping small incremental changes regularly. This involved changing our team structures and adopting Scrum methodology, which supports people getting things done in small bursts, essentially. We also had to adapt how we tested, which servers we tested on, how we deployed to those servers and almost everything else that supports the testing process. It basically boils down to supporting more automation and blinking lights… think Star Gallectica meets Battleship Wars. Or something. I don’t know, all those Sci-Fi shows look the same to me. And now I’ll start getting complaints from the nerds I’ve just offended.

Which brings me to what hasn’t changed. Software is still made by a bunch of developers, many of whom enjoy programming in their spare time. I know, right? This might surprise you, but what I am about to say next will shock you even more, dear reader, who has no doubt been frustrated by a computer or app at least once in your life. Ready? Developers don’t want to ship bad software. They LOVE sweating the small stuff, and they WANT to make stuff that is flawless. I’ve witnessed many passionate and extended discussions about things like “P vs DIV” because of [insert insanely impossible technical detail to understand], version 4.5.004 VS 4.5.0037 where the implications would be [insert incredibly complicated calculation about performance being affected by nanoseconds]. Ok, my examples are jumbled up to protect the innocent, but you get the point. They really care about the details.

What has also not changed is for all the years Confirmit has been around is that we only want to deliver great software that you will love to use. If we don’t do that, feel free to let us know. And we love feedback, so we don’t send it to a fax machine in Iceland that prints out over a fiery volcanic crater, although I’m pretty sure I overheard that becoming a possibility once after working hard on a particularly difficult suggestion.

We do want to get it right, and always will.