The process used to test new applications before delivering them to the user base at Eric's company had never been particularly formal. This is not to say that there was no process at all. Of course there was. After all, what kind of a company would develop software and then release it to the user base without running it through some testing. But 'rigorous testing' and 'robust validation' were not phrases used within his organization. Neither was 'successful rollout' or 'satisfied users', but that's a story for another day.

One reason for the lack of formality was that the company didn't feel that having dedicated testing resources delivered sufficient benefit for the cost. Shouldn't developers just write code that didn't have any bugs? Was that so hard?

Still, it seemed prudent to someone at the company to have users test new applications prior to their release. So they assigned some people as testers. However, the testers only spent a portion of their day in that role. They also had other responsibilities that had to be performed in addition to testing. In Mark's case, that was customer support. Specifically front-line customer support. That guy that everyone either despised or tried to get around by asking for a supervisor.

Mark had been tasked with testing the new application that Eric had written. So it was not a surprise when Eric received a notice that a new bug had been logged into the tracking system by Mark. Since he was trying to meet a delivery date that was only a week away, Eric quickly read through the description.

Short Description: Paste not working
Summary: I selected some text in Notepad. I went to the application and attempted to  
paste the text into a text box and nothing happened. And when I look at the Edit menu, 
the Paste option is greyed out.

Eric was slightly puzzled. But only slightly. It wouldn't be the first time that he had missed enabling the Paste button when the clipboard had content. Spinning up the application, he tried to follow the steps that Mark had listed. But to no avail. He couldn't seem to replicate the problem. Even a cursory examination of the code seemed to indicate that the Paste option should have been enabled. So he added a note to the bug and reassigned it to Mark.

I tried to replicate the problem you mentioned, but I had no luck. Is there something else you did that might provide a clue?

A couple of days later, the bug was reassigned back to Mark with the following addition

I may have forgotten a step when I created the bug originally. After I copied the text, 
I shut down the application. Does that help?

Now that's the kind of information that could be useful, thought Eric. Energized, he dove back into debugging. He tried shutting down Notepad. He shut down and restarted his application. He shut down Visual Studio. He even tried to shut down the local nuclear power station. And still that Paste option would light up. Even looking line-by-line at the code failed to turn up even a whiff of a cause. Frustrated, he added another note to the bug and assigned it back to Mark

Have tried a number of different combinations of shutting down applications and I still 
can't seem to replicate the problem. Is there anything else you can think of that you did?

It only took a couple of hours this time to get the bug back into his task list.

I'm afraid I might have forgotten one additional step the last time. After I shut down 
your application, I restarted the machine. Hope that helps. :)

Eric didn't move for about two minutes. A number of conflicting emotions coursed through his head. Rage at the company for not having competent testers. Pity for Mark because...well... Relief that a significant bug had been put to rest. As the emotions passed through him, they left only weariness. Slowly and deliberately Mark moved the mouse over to the Status combo box for the bug, opened up the options and selected "Closed - As Designed".