Many testers have chosen to make their jobs stressful by taking on more responsibilities than they should, obscuring their skills with those of others on their teams. Choosing to make your job less stressful will not only help you enjoy testing, it will also allow you to focus on testing, and improve your standing as a test leader. Here are some things I’ve learned over the years…
- When people ask me “Did you QA Certify this for production?”, I remind them the question of when to ship is a business decision, but I can tell them much of what they need to know (e.g., how it currently works under certain conditions, what bugs exist) to make that business decision.
- When I hear users complain about the product not working for them due to the way it was designed, I feel empathy for the users….then I remind myself that I never tell BAs/devs how to build the product or what it should do.
- When I’m faced with really scary technical things to test, I turn to my team. I only have to look stupid to the first person I talk to, because by the time I get to the second person, at least I have what I learned from the first. As I continue to share my test ideas, they gradually change from lame to sophisticated. Soon, I realize everybody else on my team was just as confused as I was.
- Crunch time. I expect it. I chillax at the beginning of an iteration and work harder/longer towards the end. I maintain my work/life balance by keeping my personal calendar free right before and after a production release. Working late with other team members is often just as fun as spending a quiet evening at home with my wife (don’t worry, she doesn’t read my blog).
- Too much to test! Too little time! This one still stresses me out on occasion. But when I’m thinking rationally, I pose the question to my BAs, “I have 2 days left, would you prefer I test these new features or focus on regression testing?”. It trains them to respect my schedule and understand that it is finite. It also shows that I respect their business sense and value their opinion.
- Your product went live and the quality sucks. Okay, you can feel somewhat guilty...along with your devs and BAs. But remember, you didn’t code or design it. Quality can only be added by the programmers (e.g., if you have no code, you have no quality.). If it sucks now, just think about how much it would have sucked before those 471 bugs you caught!
What things do you do to make testing less stressful and maintain your sanity?