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Not Making a Drama Out of a Crisis: How we Survived Losing One Third of our Testers Overnight

So how would your test team cope if you lost one third of your testers overnight?  Hopefully you’ll never have to find out, but for us it really happened.  We went from 12 testers to 8 testers overnight (with no warning), covering the same number of feature teams and developers, and with no hope of replacing them.  So how did we cope?

In this talk we’ll be looking at what we did to survive.

We’ll be looking at some of the improvements that we made, and how those same improvements can help any Test Team be stronger and work better.

Some of the things that we had to do included:

  • Analysing all our Smoke, Regression and Release Support testing to identify those tests that truly added value, and eliminating the rest.
  • Keeping communication channels open with the rest of the department so we could identify additional needs and requirements as soon as they appeared.
  • Re-jigged our testers across the feature teams to ensure that only the more senior testers were left in the more stressful roles.
  • Identified all existing (and previous) single points of knowledge (‘bus factors’) and ensured this information was documented and shared.
  • Looked for areas for automation that we hadn’t previously considered.


Key takeaways: 

  • Eliminating the ‘bus factor’.
  • Automating things you’d never considered automating.
  • Trimming unnecessary and low-risk testing and support.
  • Identifying your stake-holders and including them in your decision-making process.