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The Bug Not Forgotten

Blayne Roselle Blayne Roselle  |  
Jun 12, 2017
When interviewing QA candidates, one of the questions I like to ask is: ‘What is the most memorable bug you have found?’ It still surprises me that candidates can either not come up with a response or I receive some unoriginal phrase like “I’ve found so many bugs, I just can’t choose one” or “They are all so memorable…it’s so difficult to just pick one.”   

For me, there is definitely one bug that stands out. Early on in my career I worked for an employee benefits consulting firm that provided the record keeping for other companies’ benefits [Health & Welfare, 401(k) and Pension]. My title was ‘Defined Contribution QA Analyst,” meaning I helped companies implement the software solutions for their 401(k) plans. It was standard practice for this company to assemble a large team to implement a client’s solution. Then, after the implementation was complete, several associates stayed on to support the client, while others rolled off to assist with a new implementation or to help out where the client relationship could use some extra attention.

The latter is what occurred for me. I rolled off an implementation to help out where the client wasn’t happy with the current quality of work. As with any new client/implementation, I began reading the Summary Plan Description (SPD) document to familiarize myself with the client’s 401(k) requirements. While reading through the document, I began playing around in the test environment to see the requirements working in action. One of the benefits of this particular client’s 401(k) plan was the ability for a participant to take a loan from their account. The interest rate at which a participant was charged to take a loan differed for each company’s 401(k) plan. For this particular client (according to the SPD), the interest rate was the prime rate + 1%.  

While in the test environment, I initiated a loan and quickly realized the interest rate was higher than the prime rate + 1%. I wasn’t overly concerned because many times the test environment was never updated with the new interest rate. However, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to see what the interest rate was in production. The interest rate hadn’t been updated in production either. I then began doubting myself (and hoping, because of the strained relationship, that I must have the incorrect prime rate). Nevertheless, after doing some digging, I unfortunately was correct, and the prime rate had changed about 4 months prior. Therefore, anyone who had completed a loan in the past 4 months was being charged too much interest. I wrote a query to get the number of impacted participants and presented the findings to my manager.

We then had a conversation with the client (surprisingly they were understanding) and the decision was made to adjust all of the participants that were impacted. My reward for catching this issue? To manually correct the loans of the impacted participants by calculating a new semi-monthly payment and then applying all previously made payments to the new semi-monthly amount. I spent 3 full days making these adjustments. So for me, this is one bug that I will never forget.


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