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Monday
Feb132006

Software Tester in a Pharmaceutical Robotics Company

Date of Interview

  • February 13, 2006

Person Interviewed

  • Respondent is a software automation specialist in performance and load tests for a manufacturer of pharmaceutical robotics systems.
  • Respondent manages an in-house network of multiple servers and client systems that are designed to emulate customer installations.
  • Respondent also participate in the customer service follow ups and and in managing the "bug tracking" associated with field testing and field service.
  • In addition to his "day job" as a tester, respondent is a Microsoft MVP and consults occasionally. In that capacity he is also an active blogger and is personally familiar with blogging and "Web 2.0" concepts.

Interview Notes

  • Respondent has tried unsuccessfully in the past to interest his employer in blogging and other related technologies. We spent the bulk of the interview discussing the special situations of this manufacturer and the potential areas for Web 2.0 applications.
  • While the company's products incorporate an embedded Windows XP operating system, they are closed, hard-coded systems that do not provide standard computer functionality and would not be able to serve as hosts or clients for typical network based applications such as web browsing.
  • The amount of documentation provided with the company's robotic products is minimal; this is by design as company's products are designed to be used on a regular basis by non-technical in-store staff after formal training.
  • "Developing a relationship" between the company and its customers appears to be outside the relationship envisioned by the company with its customers.
  • Respondent uses a standard bug tracking product for managing testing and bug tracking progress; it does not incorporate email threads or collaborative content management. respondent does not see testing, product testing, and bug tracking as a vehicle for adding Web 2.0 functionality.

Interviewer cmments

  • The  complexity and sophistication of the company's products appears to create a situation where building and maintaining an ongoing collaborative relationship betwen the company and its customers appears potentially beneficial. This may not be the case, however, given the company's preference for tightly controlled communications that de-emphasize documentation.

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