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I do Software Quality Assurance. In the past 6 months I've been pulled off my primary team to work with other teams. These are not one day tasks, but month long projects that require lots of time spent learning the product to understand how to effectively test.

I'm happy to assist anyone, as long as I'm adding value. I complete the work required, report to management and move back to my Primary Team, to only be pulled away again to assist some other team with testing. Since I feel my primary responsibility is with my Primary Team (since that is the team I was assigned to when I was hire) I feel slightly as if I'm not needed/wanted for that team.

I understand that it is hard to give a good answer without some context...All I can say is that I have not really received any negative-feedback with my work. Most people seem happy to have the extra help.

My question is: Should I view being pulled to assist other teams as a good or bad thing?

-Should I be worried that my work seems unsatisfactory or not needed for my Primary Team?

-Or should I take this as a compliment, that I can add value no matter where I am placed.

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    "I feel my primary responsibility is with my Primary Team" -- Why? You were hired to perform a function. You may have been assigned to a team that needed you at first. If you don't have work on your original team, it doesn't make sense for you to sit around. If you have a problem moving around to other teams (work on the team you are assigned to isn't getting done, you need to work excessive hours to perform the work for other teams, etc.), you can have those discussions with your manager. But if no work is being neglected and you aren't overworked, what's the problem? – Thomas Owens Oct 16 '17 at 16:52
  • I've experienced both (being moved to other teams because of not playing a key role in the core team and being moved because of being quick on the uptake so you have a running start on the emergency project). Ultimately, it's more likely an indicator of project priority than of how you are valued. When faced with organizational restructurings, it does not hurt to have been part of other projects. – pmf Feb 2 '18 at 12:16
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Should I view being pulled to assist other teams as a good or bad thing?

Should I be worried that my work seems unsatisfactory or not needed for my Primary Team?

Or Should I take this as a compliment, that I can add value no matter where I am placed.

As is often the case - it depends.

If you sense that you are being placed on another team because they need your particular talent and expertise, then you should feel honored.

If you sense that you are just an added headcount and you find that you are the only one on your team that is moved to other projects, then you might feel that your value on your primary team isn't as high as other team members.

Either way, unless you sense that you would be first in line in the case of layoffs, it's likely nothing to worry about.

Try to make the most of it and increase your value to as many teams as possible, and to the company as a whole.

When in doubt, I like to default to the positive - you are so valuable that everyone fights to have you on their team. I know that when I'm a team lead, I try to get the best help I can, not just whoever happens to be around.

  • Thanks Joe, your Comments/Answers are always very insightful. – Humanid 1652487954543 Oct 16 '17 at 17:50
  • I think OP is become in fact a "test planning task force". Probably his company does not have an administrative structure to support task forces (perhaps because they have only one task force), so OP still needs to be assigned to some project. - OP should start calling himself the "Test Plan Task Force" even if no one else does. – A. I. Breveleri Oct 16 '17 at 19:59
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I would say it would depend on the status of the projects you are being assigned to and pulled off of.

If your primary project is behind in terms of there is a lot of code ready for testing is behind schedule if they are pulling you off for low priority work, then it's probably not a good sign. Typically this happens when the team is not confident in your ability to contribute, and the team would be better off with you not helping.

On the other hand if the projects you are being put are are high priority and you are being credited with helping get them out faster or even just caught up then it's a good thing.

Now if they are pulling you off of these new projects before you contribute much it smells of just keeping you busy but not involved and that is a very bad situation.

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Should I view being pulled to assist other teams as a good or bad thing? Should I be worried that my work seems unsatisfactory or not needed for my Primary Team? Or Should I take this as a compliment, that I can add value no matter where I am placed.

You should not just take it as something good or bad. The only way of knowing for sure is by asking your manager about this, so I recommend you do so to clear your doubts and know what to think about it.

The fact that you are being required in other teams seems to suggest that you are doing a good work and that those other teams are probably lacking on help, thus your increased need to assist on other teams. Again, this is just speculating so you should talk to your manager about it.

You could try getting a meeting with him/her and saying something on the lines of: "Hey boss, I am noting that my work is being required more on other teams. However, this makes me worry about my commitment and time available to assist my Primary Team. Can you tell me how to proceed with this?"

It is possible that your primary team no longer requires that much assistance as before, so it is better to check with management to clear those things out so you can do your job efficiently and effectively. Hope this helps you out.

  • Thanks @GrayCyngus, Your Answer gave me a good perspective and I planned on asking my manager after posting this question, but wanted to wait until after I had heard from S.O users. I would of marked your reply as the answer however I felt Joe's answer helped me a little bit more. – Humanid 1652487954543 Oct 16 '17 at 17:53
  • no problem @Humanid1652487954543 glad I could help. It is hard now to "hear from other users" now your post is on hold but you got good answer here already. Feel free to upvote and accept any answer you consider fit, and also don't worry on justifying so (I appreciate your justification though). Good luck – DarkCygnus Oct 16 '17 at 17:55
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    A manager moving you around trying to find a place where you are productive and work well is not going to tell you its a negative because all it does is set you up to fail. A good manager is going to sell any movement as a good thing because its in their interest that you succeed. So asking your manager is not likely to actually clear anything up. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 16 '17 at 18:58

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