Process Management / Transition Manager

Legent / Computer Associates

1995 - 1996

I was hired by Legent to build a Quality Assurance department for them. This not only included building the team, but also building a process, and building a lab. They had no test equipment, no test procedures, and three testers to work with about 60 developers.

I spent my first weekend there doing on-hands testing on the product that came out of development late Friday night, and was due to be released on the following Monday. We borrowed everyone who was willing to come in to conduct the tests manually (no automated test tools). I even pressed my boss and my wife into service! Clearly, we needed to start with QA as part of project planning.

I was three weeks into the process of outlining what the QA department and its role in the company should look like when a unique thing happened: Computer Associates announced that it was taking over Legent. Shortly thereafter, a long list of "thou shalt nots" came out including hiring freezes, blocked equipment purchases, and orders to stand by until directed what to do. At least one improvement happened; the ratio of QA people to developers doubled. Half the development staff was working elsewhere a week after the announcement.

I was willing to give the new company a fair shot, but it eventually became apparent that the company was not for me, and that if they got around to finding out who I was, it would also be apparent to them that I wasn't the kind of player they wanted. So I started a job search, after working out a new job with my Legent boss.

Since I could not build a QA department, I could at least transition the plans I started for configuration management, test lab, and test processes. We had a lot of software and other intellectual property just "out there." It became my job to find it, organize it, and turn it over in a manageable fashion.

About this time, I met an acquaintance on the Internet to whom I confided my plight. She volunteered her skills as an expert in Microsoft Word to format my resume. I sent it to her, and she sent me back a transcript of an ad from the Greensboro News and Record for a QA Manager position - specifically for someone to build a QA team. I applied, I interviewed, I accepted.