As we begin our work day, we often hope for it to end quickly. Unfortunately, 70% of the time, the day doesn’t go as smoothly as we’d like.
Every day brings different challenges. We often find ourselves working on urgent tasks demanded by our clients, especially on Fridays when we have personal plans. While we desire a change in how the service industry operates, it’s not always possible.
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In this article, we will explore some of the challenges faced by testers and discuss how small measures can help overcome them.
We will also outline how the ideal day should look like for a tester and a test lead.
Also read => How Will My First Day as a QA Tester Look?
We’ll start by highlighting important considerations before starting the day. This will help you plan your work and anticipate any issues.
What You Will Learn:
Things to Consider Before Starting the Day:
1) Task Awareness – Make sure you are aware of the assigned tasks for the day.
2) Creating a Checklist/Defining Priorities – Compile a checklist of planned action items for the day and assign priorities to start with the most important tasks.
3) Setting Targets – Once you know your tasks, set achievable targets to accomplish by the end of the day.
4) Time Allocation – Allocate time for each task and ensure that it can be completed within the working day. Low priority tasks can be carried forward to the next day.
5) Work Timings – The strict work timings are changing. Flexibility is now more important than ever. You may be required to attend calls or work outside of regular office hours. Communicate your work timings to the team and inform them if you will be away for a few hours.
If you have to work late at night, you can start your day late. Transparency is key.
Here is a sample daily task planner template that can be used to track and plan tasks:
- Daily task planner for testers
- Daily task planner for test leads
Benefits of Having a Daily Task Planner
- Keeps data organized – Many organizations require hourly activity details. This planner helps fill out timesheets.
- Provides data for statistics or reporting purposes. You can refer to the planner to accurately report on work done in the past.
- Easy to maintain – Updating the planner takes only 10 minutes a day.
- Suitable for team leads with some modifications to the template.
- Can be customized as a local copy for individual editing.
An ideal day for a tester and a test lead should involve:
A Test Lead’s Day
A test lead takes on the role of a tester and also manages a team, interacts with other teams, and provides timely reports to management. Testers turn to their leads for guidance when they encounter issues.
A test lead should be reachable whenever needed. They don’t have to be in the office before the team arrives or leave after everyone else. They need to be flexible and available in person or via call.
It’s the test lead’s responsibility to allocate work and ensure that the team knows their tasks. Checking emails first thing in the morning is a good practice since plans might change overnight for teams operating in an onshore-offshore model. The test lead should keep the team informed about any changes.
The test lead should have a good understanding of the functional requirements to assist the team with technical challenges throughout the day. Daily status reports need to be sent before ending the day.
Also read => Expectations From a QA Team Lead
A Tester’s Day
Junior testers often wait for their leads to assign tasks. It’s important to have a discussion with the team lead about assigned tasks and any anticipated obstacles.
Any obstacles that need immediate attention should be raised and resolved promptly. Testers should also be flexible. They may need to stay late for test case reviews or important test reviews, and they should complete their assigned tasks before ending their day. Reporting on time and with accurate data is crucial. Testers should send complete status reports on assigned tasks, including any challenges or pending work.
Now let’s address some resource management challenges faced by test leads and testers, along with their solutions:
Resource Management Challenges Faced By Test Leads:
Issue #1 – A tester calls in the morning to inform about an unexpected leave. How should the test lead handle this situation?
Solution: The test lead should reassign the work to other team members, ensuring that the deliverables are still on track. It’s the test lead’s responsibility to prioritize tasks when a resource is unavailable. Having a backup plan in place for emergencies is advisable. If none of the testers can handle the task, the test lead should step in and complete it.
Issue #2 – A tester is unable to travel to work but can work remotely. Should the tester be allowed to work from home or take a leave?
Solution: The decision depends on the situation. If the task doesn’t require secure connections, the test lead may allow remote work. However, if test execution needs to take place in a secure environment, the test lead can assign other non-secure tasks or documentation work to the tester if they don’t need to take a leave.
Issue #3 – A tester working from home logs off without sending status updates to the test lead.
Solution: Remote work should be closely monitored and only allowed for committed and dedicated resources. The challenges of working remotely should be communicated to the resources and how it impacts the overall project and their own progress.
Issue #4 – A tester leaves the office without completing assigned tasks.
Solution: In such cases, the tester should discuss the incomplete tasks with the test lead before leaving. If the task is urgent, the test lead should find a way to complete it. Otherwise, the task can be assigned to the tester for the next day.
Issue #5 – A tester completes the assigned task for the day but leaves the office without sending status updates.
Solution: The test lead should establish a process where each team member understands the importance of reporting their status at the end of the day. A clear cutoff time should be set for sending status updates.
Issue #6 – A tester arrives at the office but doesn’t check emails and continues working on tasks from the previous day.
Solution: The test lead should encourage the team to check emails first thing in the morning to stay updated on any changes or updates. This ensures that important tasks are prioritized.
Challenges Faced By Testers
Issue #1 – A tester arrives at the office before the test lead but has to wait because no task has been assigned.
Solution: If the test lead is unavailable when testers arrive, it’s the test lead’s responsibility to inform them about their tasks either through a call or an email sent the previous night. If the test lead is on planned leave, task allocation should be handled by the replacement. Testers should never be left waiting without knowing what they need to do.
Issue #2 – A tester approaches the test lead for technical assistance, but the test lead is unable to help.
Solution: A good test lead should have functional knowledge of the application to assist team members. While immediate answers may not always be possible, the test lead should address tester’s problems within a couple of hours. If testers are unsatisfied with the test lead’s response, they should discuss the issue or escalate it to their managers.
Issue #3 – One tester is overloaded with work while others receive few opportunities.
Solution: This is a common problem where only a few key resources are assigned high visibility tasks while others are left with few opportunities. If team members feel that they are not given equal opportunities, they should raise the issue with the test lead and, if necessary, escalate it to the next-level manager. Teams should operate on an equal opportunity basis.
Also read => Leading a Happier and Successful Test Team
This article has covered some resource management challenges we face daily. No matter what level we are at, we all encounter challenges. By approaching challenges logically, we can find solutions. Prioritizing and addressing the need of the hour is essential.
Author: This article was written by Priya R., a member of the STH team.
Take a moment to reflect on the challenges you face. By understanding your problems, you can be the one to find the solutions.