Look at your calendar (or that of another tester).  How many meetings exist?

My new company is crazy about meetings.  Perhaps it’s the vast numbers of project managers, product owners, and separate teams along the deployment path.  It’s a wonder programmers/testers have time to finish anything.

Skipping meetings works, but is an awkward way to increase test time.  What if you could reduce meetings or at least meeting invites?  Try this.  Express the cost of attending the meeting in units of lost bugs.  If you find, on average, about 1 bug per hour of testing, you might say:

“Sure, I can attend your meeting, but it will cost us 1 lost bug.”

“This week’s meetings cost us 9 lost bugs.”

Obviously some meetings (e.g., design, user story review, bug triage) improve your bug finding, so be selective when choosing to declare the bugs lost cost.


  1. Stephen Blower said...

    I would say that, that could set a dangerous precedence, as it could be used against you.

    "You've been testing for 4 hours and you've only found 1 bug, what gives?"

    I've previously worked in a place where all meetings lasted 1 hour for 2 people, for each other person in the meeting the length of the meeting was reduced by 10 minutes. This had the effect of keeping meetings short and not crowded with 20 people.

    Meetings are a necessary evil and using tactics to help keep them short and not happening to often are useful skills to have.

  2. Unknown said...

    What a great way to quantify the impact of missed time testing! Sometimes I think it is hard for project managers and other stakeholders to fully understand what missed time testing really means. I will definitely try this one out.

  3. Always fearful said...

    Really? is counting bugs is how you measure your productivity?
    Besides the fact that I can't say I find X bugs per hour - even when I'm testing a new feature (instead of maintaining automation or doing something else), I think that most of the value I (or, for that matter, any other software tester) is not the bugs I find but those that I prevent by asking "won't it be better to do *this*?" or "won't that impact this flow?"
    My suggestion is to make the meetings you go to count - if it's a meeting that is useless for you, don't just skip it: say clearly that you won't be attending since you have something better to do with your time. If you'll keep that long enough, and contribute in the meeting you are going to - you'll find either that your schedule has less meetings or that you have more meaningful meetings that fill your time (A side effect of contributing to every meeting that you are in is that you gain more knowledge and become more helpful, so you get invited to more meeting since your perspective is needed).

    Just remember - it's way easier to fix a bug that wasn't yet coded.

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