Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to read is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. The guilty are too obtuse to recognize themselves in the story, even if their names hadn't been changed.

Playing the part of Alex in this story is you. Your current employer is a stock fund. Your current engagement: to work on FLASH, the in-house developed stock trading system. That's 'stock', the financial instrument, not 'stock', the live kind you find on farms.

The FLASH application gives traders (the people who actually decide which stocks to buy and sell) the ability to submit their trades for execution. You're assigned to work on backlog items as accepted by your team. A well organized ring of testers has been assigned your team. They are one of the most puzzling groups you've ever encountered. Your job: to not be broken by them.

What follows (which is the history log of one of the backlog items) is an attempt by the testers to break you.

DateTypeUser NameDescription
May 8, 2013Backlog ItemFrank JonesAs a user, I would like to limit the number of decimal places in the price of the security to 7. This allows me to conform to the limitation of a maximum of seven decimal places found in the DLS system.

Seems like a reasonable request. Certain the basic requirements are sufficient to look at possible solutions and choose the one more appropriate for the application. Let's get to it

DateTypeUser NameDescription
June 30, 2013ChangeMark Walch'Status' changed to "Committed". 'Assigned To' changed to Alex
July 1, 2013ChangeAlex Young'Status' changed to "In Progress"
July 1, 2013ChangeAlex Young'Status' changed to "Done"

No problem at all. As it turns out, the application includes a validation framework that makes this change simple. Set the status to done, move on to the next work item and let the testers do their thing.

DateTypeUser NameDescription
July 1, 2013ChangeMark Walch'Status changed to Rework - I attempted to test the solution, but as was unable to enter more than 7 characters, I can't be certain that the system will function as specified.

So the testers, being unable to test that more than 7 characters can be entered, won't accept the fix. Really??

DateTypeUser NameDescription
July 2, 2013ChangeAlex Young'Status' changed to "Done" - Allow more than 7 decimals in the Security Price field. Round to 7 places if more than 7 are provided. But only because 'Facepalm' isn't a valid status

And now, a couple of days later, the final entry in the history log.