Tips for testing with customers without making a fool of yourself
Once in a while, a QA manager comes up with the grand plan of testing with customers before a go-live event. The benefits seem obvious: the QA tester gains exposure to an actual customer and their specific application user workflows. The customer benefits by imparting their knowledge on how the application works in their setting with a member of the development staff. The problem is that the majority of testers don’t receive training before being sent out to the customer.
For example, customer service or sales personnel receive at least basic training on how to approach customers, what to say, what not to say, and basic business principles for interacting with customers directly as company representatives. However, QAs typically don’t receive this information.
Now, one would assume that most experienced testers have enough professional knowledge and skills to manage on their own. But think about that for a moment more, and consider some of the QA testers you know or have worked with. There are likely several examples of well-meaning, highly intelligent people with little to no personal interaction skills. Is it really wise to send unprepared personnel to a customer site without spending time reviewing etiquette and expectations?
The answer is no, and it really isn’t respectful to the employee or the customer, but it happens all the time. In order to receive the benefits of this practice, employees need to be prepared with at least the basics of how to gain information without offending or otherwise unintentionally causing harm to a business relationship with a customer. QA testers should equip themselves by thinking through possible situations and keeping the following tips in mind to make the experience worthwhile for everyone involved.
Respect is a two-way street
When arriving at the customer’s business, remember that mutual respect is essential. You may not get it, but you need to give it. It’s important to acknowledge that development staff and customers operate with different objectives for the software, whether in workflows or points of view. Discover more about this by observing their actions or reading through their tests. See if you notice a common theme where the application has repeatedly failed for them or they’re working around a configuration setting they don’t realize they can change. Ask direct questions in a professional manner. Explain what you’re trying to accomplish by gaining information about their workflow up front, so participants have a chance to give you the data you’re looking for.
Blue Water Task Force
Why do you want to test the water? What are you concerned about?
It is important to have a clear objective for your water-testing program before you begin. A clear objective or defined purpose will help you design a water testing program to meet your chapter’s unique interests and needs. All the rest of the details can then follow.
Does your chapter suspect a pollution problem at a particular beach? Are there beaches in your area that are not being tested by the authorities? Are there seasonal gaps? Are you looking for a program to activate your membership or to reach out to youth? Perhaps you have a data need for an ongoing campaign.
Who else is testing your beaches?
Before you choose what beaches you want to sample, or if additional testing is even necessary, you should find out who is monitoring water quality in your area and which beaches they are sampling.
Where & when should we sample?
Once you determine who is testing in your area, look for any gaps: either beaches that aren’t being sampled or perhaps months or seasons when no testing is being done at all. You also might want to test the water at the most popular surfing beaches or at beaches where you suspect or know there are sources of pollution nearby.
How much money can my chapter afford to spend on this program?
Testing water costs money. The Blue Water Task Force uses IDEXX Enterolert/Quanti-tray Sealer methodology to measure enterococcus bacteria levels in water samples. This method is an EPA- approved method for sampling recreational waters and is easy for volunteers and students to learn and use competently. Bacteria results are obtained after a 24 hour sample incubation period, but this method is somewhat expensive.
Lead in Drinking Water
What is lead?
Lead is a toxic metal that is found naturally in the air, soil, and water. It is also used in mining, manufacturing, and burning of fossil fuels. The amount of lead Canadians are exposed to has decreased since the 1970s, mainly due to the removal of lead in gasoline, paint, and solder in food cans
Who is at risk?
Although people of all ages are at risk of lead poisoning, it is most serious for infants, young children and pregnant women. Children absorb lead more easily than adults and are more susceptible to its harmful effects
With exposure to low levels of lead, symptoms are often not obvious, but can still be a danger to your health. Talk to your health care provider if you are worried about lead exposure. A simple blood test can find out your lead levels.
Did you know?
The maximum acceptable concentration for lead in drinking water is 5ug/L (Government of Canada, 2019). If your water supply is higher than 5ug/L and you have kids or are pregnant, you should use a different source, such as bottled water.
Is there lead in my drinking water?
The amount of lead in natural water supplies in Canada is very low. However, lead can enter the water supply from lead pipes, lead-containing brass fittings, or faucets. Homes built before 1975 often have lead pipes and those built until 1990 may have lead containing fittings.
The Medical Health Officer advices that, unless you get your water from a public water system, all water used for human consumption should be treated before use
It is up to individuals obtaining their water directly from wells, creeks, rivers and lakes, to treat their water before being used for drinking, washing dishes, brushing their teeth, etc
Options for treatment range from boiling water, using bottled water to installing in-home water treatment systems.
Water Testing Services Information
The documents below contain information regarding water testing services available to residents of Cattaraugus County and educational information on how to interpret your results
The “CCHD Certified Water Testing Services Price Sheet” contains a list of all potable water testing services available through the Cattaraugus County Health Department Laboratory.
The “Coliform Bacteria Brochure” contains information regarding bacteriological testing (the standard test for potability). This brochure aims to help interpret the results of your water sample.
The “Nitrates in Drinking Water” download contains information regarding common sources of nitrates in drinking water and way to reduce their impact on your water supply.
“CCHD Instructions for Disinfection of Private Water Systems” describes how to perform a temporary disinfection of your water system. The Department recommends that this be performed following repairs to your system, whenever starting up a seasonal water supply, whenever a bacteriological water test indicates contamination, or whenever you suspect that your well might have been contaminated.