Many testing teams work in environments where testing timelines are short, requirements are not fully defined, and testers are expected to multi-task across difficult testing assignments while maintaining high testing standards. During my many years working as a manager, tester or a programmer, I know the rewards can be great when you successfully complete a deadline while meeting or exceeding expectations.

marathon-testing-circus
The Marathon

I find my testing skills are sharpened when thrown into the testing fire since I quickly tap into other people to help me understand the product’s intended functionality and discuss testing ideas. I embrace new testing approaches and quickly change testing direction based upon what I am learning.  Personally, I thrive in a fast-paced environment where the clock is ticking down to the next deployment and of course you want to deliver a great product!

Often we feel like a marathon runner who has trained hard and then paced himself to finish the race. We adopt different planning and testing strategies; sometimes we work late nights to pick up the pace; whereas other times we maintain a steady pace. Then we see our finish line as we successfully meet our deadline finishing strong.

Most marathon runners will follow a recovery program immediately after completing the race. Have you noticed a towel is given to the runner once he completed the race? This is to help him maintain body temperature. Their recovery includes immediate nutrition and then slowly introducing short walks and jogging before resuming any intense training or racing. For the software tester working in a fast-paced environment, there is another testing assignment with its own deadlines and problems waiting. As passionate testers, we move on to the next assignment to start another race. But did we give any thought to recovery? Did we grab our version of a marathon runner’s towel?
A marathon runner can experience burnout by over-training or reduced motivation once a goal is achieved. A tester can also experience burnout or lose their motivation whether working in a fast-paced environment or once an important goal is met. We have all been there and even though we may love testing, we need different ways to recover especially when taking extended time off after meeting a tough deadline is not possible.
This leads me to ponder several important questions focused on who and how.
– How do we recover once we crossed the finish line and immediately start another race? Are there short-term and longer-term strategies that have worked for testers?
– What can we do to help testers that are experiencing burnout or having difficulty staying motivated? Is there a manager role and a tester role? And maybe more importantly, can we motivate another person or is motivation solely intrinsic?
– Does the company or organization have a role in sustaining testers through aggressive timelines? Or should the recovery be management and/or the testers’ responsibility?
https://i1.wp.com/www.testingcircus.com/wp-content/uploads/marathon-testing-circus.jpg?fit=555%2C390&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/www.testingcircus.com/wp-content/uploads/marathon-testing-circus.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Bernice Niel RuhlandArticlesTesting ArticleMany testing teams work in environments where testing timelines are short, requirements are not fully defined, and testers are expected to multi-task across difficult testing assignments while maintaining high testing standards. During my many years working as a manager, tester or a programmer, I know the rewards can be...
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Bernice Niel Ruhland

Bernice Niel Ruhland is a Software Testing Manager with more than 20-years experience in testing strategies and execution, developing testing frameworks, performing data validation, and financial programming. She uses social media to connect with other testers to understand the testing approaches adopted by them to challenge her own testing skills and approaches. When not exploring the testing world, Bernice enjoys cooking and spending time with her husband living a health-conscious lifestyle. The opinions of this article are her own and not reflective of the company she is employed. Apart from other activities she regularly contributes to Testing Circus Magazine.

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