At Atlassian we develop software using agile techniques so it’s unsurprising that our work is infected with tests, but testing is not limited to just our work.

Let’s party!

Recently I organised a bucks (bachelor/stag) party for my brother. As you do, we went swimming with Great White sharks. (After all making a lifelong commitment isn’t so scary once you’ve looked death in the face).
Hence nine of us travelled from Sydney to Neptune Island off the South Australian coast. There a large seal colony attracts sharks. Lots of really big sharks.

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Passing the time

Getting to the island involved a two hour voyage across open seas which afforded plenty of time to inspect the cage that would protect us.
Naturally, as a QA Lead, I looked for as many of its defects as I could. How many can you spot?


Whilst the cheap materials, amateur welding and small floatation tanks don’t inspire confidence and the cracked grille, “structural modifications” and use of twine are certainly alarming, are any of these actually defects?
It depends on the cage’s requirements. If the cage is required to put potential users at ease then yes, yes they are, but if the only requirement of the cage is to protect its users from becoming fishfood are they still?

Let’s find out…

To the point

So after seven hours in the water and five different sharks “stress testing” the cage, the answer is no, but the size of the gap in the cage is.

Raise your hand (along with me) if you didn’t spot that from looking at the cage out of the water.

Lessons learnt

1. Not everything that looks like a defect is a defect.
2. Important defects get missed if you don’t test under real world conditions. That’s why at Atlassian we dogfood our products.
3. Should you get the opportunity, go swimming with these awesome animals. It’s a humbling experience and hopefully one that’s less heart pounding than mine.

Sharks and the art of testing...