From the Inside

It was just a few years ago when I heard about the need for a software tester on a project with two people I had known for some years. It sounded like an unusual project; a project that I might be able to sink my teeth into. It was testing the software that communicates to and directs a medical device. I’d never worked with software that could so immediately affect a person. I recall asking what the worst-case scenario was if the software didn’t perform correctly. The answer “patient death” made me open my eyes wide and think hard about accepting the work.

After all, it wasn’t but a couple of years earlier that I had been working on an e-commerce site that sold groceries. On that team we occasionally made lighthearted jokes on stressful days that the worst that could happen was a customer would be missing his milk and bread. Before accepting the new project, I recall thinking that there would probably be no lighthearted days on this one. That was a good general realization to have before beginning work.

On a personal level, I knew one of the leads, Michael Purcell, from previous work experience, but I had never worked with him directly on a project. His reputation and work ethic are well known. I’d admired his work from afar, and the chance to work with him on a project appealed to me. Even more appealing was the prospect of being paired directly with him.

The second person I knew was Ed Young. I’d hired him some years before. I remember thinking that even if the work ...

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