QA - tester

How to deal with QA absence – an advice for a QA by a QA

17 Oct 2018

QA engineer

What is a QA?

If you are a QA, you know exactly how our daily routine looks like. But if you’re not then probably you have no idea what a QA is. Even if you sits next to me at the office. Is the QA a developer? Not entirely. As part of the team, we also provide functional features with business value. Just like the other team members. But this doesn’t make us developers.

So what do we do?

A QA is like a user – we check if their expectations have been met. A QA is like a software owner. We make sure all business requirements have been met. A QA is the ultimate inspector of quality. We ensure developers troublefree features releases.

QA - tester

How can you replace a QA?

First of all, we have to consider if replacing a QA is possible. In my opinion, there are several ways to go about it. Let me present you a few of them which I am practicing.

We all are familiar with agile project management and the principle of sharing knowledge. This also applies to the competence of QA. It is worth sharing your skills and responsibilities with others. As a result, it would be an ease in running simple tests during your absence.

Ok, but what about impromptu absences? If you are not sharing your skills with others it usually seems impossible to replace you by developers. Not always you will be able to talk on the phone and make a QA from a developer. Not everyone can be a QA.

As the saying goes: better safe than sorry. This is where the appropriate preparation can come in handy. In the event of an ad hoc QA absence, it’s worthwhile to have a previously compiled arsenal of information. Yes, I agree, there is always not enough time to prepare it. But when the crisis hits you will promise yourself you have to do it! (Yeah, sure…) However, detailed presentations, block diagrams, documentation, and descriptions can save your team’s project. Prepare all this beforehand and you can go for a ski trip or an appendix removal (it happens, believe me!) with a peaceful mind.

Hire a QA

There is another option. Other teams also have a QA, you can hire one temporarily. In this scenario, we skip the necessity to train someone to do the basics of QA job. All the team needs to do is brief a trained outsider and sit back to watch the professional work their magic.

Acceptance criteria is a “must have” in each user story. The QA can make his own criteria, known as test cases. (If you haven’t heard about it yet, you should definitely contact me. Your life is in a danger!) It is worth replicating when considering the workflow during a QA’s leave of absence. The “borrowed” QA will have an easier task because even the interpretation of test results will be more effective. And the burndown charts could reach 100%, as it does when you are around.

What about… test automation?

The last and definitely not least option is test automation. Typically in this scenario, a substitute QA’s task is limited simply to running a set of automated tests. Next, the test results are subjected to interpretation and lastly, a test report is compiled. And that’s it!

There are most certainly more options for handling QA absence. I usually choose at least two of five solutions, just in case. Test automation is my favorite, however, I do my best to keep my team updated about my work and skills. I think it it is the best way to get your job done and ensure the project increase.

Hopefully, planning a holiday doesn’t look scary now. Remember, no one can take better care of you than you yourself! So, what solution works best for you when you’re taking a few days off? Let me know!

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