issue found in beta
I'm a new QS tester, there was 1 issue found in beta. I'm afraid that my job will be in trouble as well as my reputation. Everyone was treating me so harshly today, as if I were incompetent What normally happens when an issue is found in beta testing that wasn't caught during system testing? Will I be fired? How should I handle the situation with grace?
Sorry to hear that an issue was found in beta, but the reality is that this happens.
The first thing to do is to remove any emotion around it, and react professionally. It's often difficult to remain calm while you're under pressure to explain the miss and with fingers (sometimes) being pointed, but take a deep breath and offer a calm, dispassionate, rational and honest explanation of why you think the issue was missed from your testing.
Offer to help with any additional root cause analysis - what was the cause of the issue? Was it a difference in requirements? A deeply technical issue? Something that a change in dataset could have found? Simply a defect that was missed? Remember that you're approaching this analysis from the tester's point of view, to determine how you missed it and what you can do to ensure that this issue and similar issues are captured in the next round of testing or in your regression test suite.
Your core objective in the above is not to assign blame or create any bad feelings, but to improve your team's testing capability for the future. Turn the miss into a positive by showing how you can approach issues professionally and are offering solutions that improve the project.
If you work for a reasonable employer/project/test manager your job shouldn't be in trouble for a single miss - if that were the case, then we'd all be shuffling around between jobs constantly! It happens to us all. Your reputation will depend on your reaction to the issue. If you show yourself as able to learn from the miss and to build in additional tests, then you will enhance your reputation as someone that is constantly improving, not only professionally but personally as well.
Thanks Shane for your reply and advice I will certainly be handling this in a way that shows I care. However, I did consult with a tester that's been working there a lot longer than I had; it wasn't about the missed defect. It was about how I was being treated, rather than focusing on the issue they are focusing on me. Today I heard a conversation I probably wasn't supposed to be hearing. The scrum master was speaking with development, angered/frustrated that this beta defect has kicked up such a fuss and now to inconvenience things he will be required to write a document for the project manager. He said pointing at my chair, "we cannot expect to hire people and have them care or even want to do their jobs." I care very much about my job, the company's mission and of course our clients. I'm just a human being like everyone else I don't know how many times I must say I'm sorry, we made a mistake, we will improve.
It sounds like there's a lot of pressure in your work environment and people are reacting rather than responding.
Here's what should (my opinion only) be happening:
- you and your lead or a more experienced tester (someone with more time at the company is essential here) investigate why you missed this particular bug. If it's something that you should (in theory) have caught, then there's a reason you didn't, and that reason almost certainly isn't incompetence. You may not have known to test that particular scenario (very common when someone is new to an application). It may have been masked by a configuration setting that was on in the beta environment and off in your environment. It may have been specific to the beta environment, too - no matter what the cause of you missing that bug, it's important to track it down to its roots.
- once you know why it was missed, it gets added to a master list of "things to watch for". If it can be automated easily, it gets automated. If not, it goes on the checklist.
- you and your lead (this will work better coming from your lead than from you - it's a human interaction thing) point out that a) all testers are just as human as developers and mistakes will happen, and b) there are measures in place to prevent this particular one recurring.
- you make a point of asking the developers and your scrum master what non-obvious things you need to look for in future tests *because* you're still new and you don't know the application well enough to know where the danger zones are. You can't know yet if changes to module A can have negative impacts on module Z because you aren't that familiar with the application. Depending on how large and complex the application is, this can take years to build, and "test everything" is rarely an option.
I would care about myself more and the project less. Put 25% of your effort into finding a new job or contract.
To me agile means allowing for imperfections and improvement as part of the process.
If they want to catch every bug, have them hire more people, switch back to waterfall or something where there are lots of "fail safes" and cross checking.
It sounds to me like you are working in a kindergarten atmosphere. You are writing as though you need to be the one that needs improvement. I don't think the problem is all on your side.
Happens quite a lot when you have an inexperienced project manager or product owner. Usually QA gets the blame because they're the last step in the process. If the Test Lead and Project Manager are both inexperienced, then you have lots of issues with estimation and planning because there won't be anyone on the team that can give a reasonable timeline for test coverage.
A bad project manager will usually try to meet his boss's expectation and doesn't know when to push back against unrealistic deadlines or product requirements. What the project manager doesn't understand is quality is everyone's responsibility. The whole team has to establish what the levels of acceptable risks, what needs to be covered and mitigated as part of development and test plan. And there needs to be realistic deadlines for everything.
Thanks everyone for replying. Here there is an atmosphere of fear; they want an absolutely defect free release. Which if you understood the application I'm working with that is impossible, as it is a very very large and complex application with many possibilities. This is very stressful, I suspect I'll stay with this company for a year but I'll be keeping my eyes open for another opportunity (I've thought about going to my husband's company). This is the first time this has happened to me since I've been with this company. I discussed my concerns with my manager who absolutely agreed with me that not every defect can be found and even showed him the defect; he agreed it was not something that would be easily seen (as only 4 beta testers were the ones who discovered it). However, due to the atmosphere of fear in the QA department; he is afraid. I could see it in his face when he was talking about his manager and that he really wasn't happy at all. He took down notes of all the things I was talking about; and said he would address my concerns to his manager. The stress is just on everyone's faces.
This sounds like you need to be actively looking elsewhere right now. In my experience places like this will cheerfully scapegoat the tester as soon as they run into any difficulty.