Test Management Track (ii), SIGiST Israel 2008

OK, I’ve caught up on sleep after 2 very busy days at SIGiST 2008. And looking at my blog posts till now, I think that I’m going to do a few shorter ones for a bit. Here’s the next session from Tuesday’s Test Management track.

2nd Session: Katy Podolner-Rotman, Aternity, on “Surviving “crunch time”: Dealing with constant change, high workload and communication issues“.

Katy started off by giving us her list of “unwritten rules” about how to deal with these issues at crunch time:

DO:

  • Plan for tired people
  • Make time for rest/fun
  • Appreciate people’s work and effort
  • Improve “while running”
  • Communicate – within the team and between teams
  • Laugh 🙂

DONTs:

  • Over schedule
  • Multitask
  • Overwork yourself and others
  • Let small issues develop into huge ones

I like these rules.

Then Katy entertained us with 5 real-life “fictionalized” case studies (none of which anyone in the room could possibly have actually experience!), in which these rules were broken. She told us what the result was in each case, and asked us what could have done better.

Here’s one of Katy’s examples:

Story: “… but everything was going so well …”

  • high profile project
  • a new, anxious-to-succeed, project manager
  • in order to meet an impossible deadline, he makes everyone work impossible hours, from day 1
  • project ended, almost successfully, and almost on schedule

BUT …        80% of the project’s development and test team quit afterwards

PROBLEMS:    Burnout : BAD, which leads to Turnover: BAD

How to avoid burnout:

  • eliminate multitasking, and work at a sustainable pace
  • keep away from ongoing “crisis mode” (usually a result of bad management)
  • downtime after a “crunch” is a must
  • at times, a “lessons learned” session after a “crunch” might prevent the next one
  • don’t forbid cynicism – laughing takes away some of the stress – and use the level of the team’s cynicism as a “burnout barometer”

You get the idea. There was a lot of discussion about this and the other examples, throughout the presentation.

Next presentation, next post – see you there 🙂

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