Taking some days off as a sole tester: How does your team manage testing work while you're away?

Say you’re a sole tester in a team and you decided to take some time off (probably you’re craving some pizza from Naples :sweat_smile: )
How do you set things up for your team so they know what to do while you’re away?
I’ll go first:

  • I hold discussions related to what testing work would be in progress and how to go about it if related bug fixes are ready while I’m not available
  • I sometimes nominate people who can test, people who I believe hold some degree of expertise in a certain part of the software
  • I also encourage the devs to test each other’s work once they’re done (although this is something that is normally expected as well)
  • Should there be a major impact user story, I would either try to wrap it up before going or list down guidelines on how to test it.

How does your team manage testing work while you’re away?

  • some teams were highly reliant on great testing and scared otherwise to release anything; regardless of whomever else and how they were testing; so things were piling up;
  • some teams have had brave people, leads of some sort, who would do a little bit of shallow testing themselves, release, then eventually, a third of the time, patch things as reports were coming in from clients or company people about problems;
  • other teams were switching to having a couple of BAs, coordinated by a PM/BA, that would do some high-level checks of most of the usual use-cases of application in a checklist-style.
  • the teams where there were PMs/BAs with a vast amount of product experience would try to cover some of the shallow testing themselves with a focused 30-minute session.
  • some teams were relying on UI automation - release if that doesn’t show obvious problems; some brief dev check of the changes is enough;
  • in some teams I wasn’t testing, so they have been doing fine without me;
  • some teams would skip any separate testing altogether, as PM would trust the devs to release things.
  • in some teams, an external tester from a different department/team would be requested ;
  • sometimes dev teams ignore testing, and organize themselves to do the regular work, as there’s nothing urgent to be tested and released; so it’s fine if the testing of some changes is done later;
  • but I did have vacation denied several times because no one else could test reliably(identify threats to the quality of the product) and there’s an important release coming up; and when there’s a C level person on your manager - probably no one gets vacation for a while…

Generally our product owner who used to try and do the testing before they employed me (but generally didn’t have the time) would try and keep our Preview: ready for testing lane tested and clear while I am away. The work will eventually end up in Ready for testing: Dev/Live where it will stay until I return so that I can ensure I still test each new workload but no-one has been blocked by that point as all pull requests and reviews have happened.


Hopefully youve been setting things up for success with well documented practices, process and resources so that others can step in and with a little effort assume the role of QA. :smiley: This is something Ive found to be a necessity when being the sole QA resource for an organization.

These are also the moments where I would say to my boss and anyone else above “Wouldnt it be nice if there were two of me? Just a little something to consider come budget season…”


Interesting list of team combinations. I find familiarity in some of these as I worked with a project based company in the past.

I certainly have documented the practices but the thing about documents is that sometimes people forget they exist :sweat_smile:
Or as in my case, the development process withers away leaving the documents built on top of it being not so useful.

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sigh I feel you.

Sometimes you gotta be a little hard nosed. “If you didnt use the resources I provided, what else can I do?”

One of my many privileges is playing “sad Dad”. I get to go to developers with a sad, disappointed Dad look and ask “Why didnt you follow the process?” eventually they do the things because they dont like “disappointed Dad”

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