anonymous tech woman

Yet another woman in technology blog. I'm actually a developer who uses a variety of Java and database technologies on a variety of platforms.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Testing Systems on Users without their knowledge

There was an article in this weeks print edition of computerweekly that states that:

"The government and Whitehall are warming to a new way of testing complex new systems: trying them out on captive taxpayers, benefit claimants and patients."

The article goes on to point out that the Passport Office online application system was a test but users who submitted their applications that way and did not get a passport in return where not told about this suppose "test". When the users, members of the public, tried to contact the passport office they couldn't get through. It took a journalist to investigate the matter before the Passport Office informed all the online applicants to submit a paper application.

I have had the unfortunate experience of working on government systems and so have members of my family. The problem is that civil servants are motivated by internal politics to get ahead. They are not interested in supplying a decent service to the people who pay their wages and their benchmarks often reflect this fact. They also try and hide their ignorance about not knowing enough about technology, when in fact all they need to know is how they want to use a system and let some of the most junior members in the department who will actually use the system day-to-day test it. Government policy changes at the drop of the hat due to the mutterings of the tabloid press makes matters worse.

Technorati Tags: software testing, UK Government, government, politics


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