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I am a web developer in a team of 6 and our company is global. Our method of work consists a planned "software-release day" almost every 2 weeks.

Every developer's work in our team has to go through the QA. However, the QA co-worker (let's call him Bob) is only 6 hours per day at the office, due to his contract's nature.

Before each release he has to go through our work and test if everything's in order. However, when the clock hits 14:00 Bob leaves immediately because he has to pick up his kid from school. However the tests have to be delivered the same day, at the end of business.

Bob comes to me and says in a very stressful way that the tests must be completed and delivered to the next responsible for our release. This is where I come in, although it's not my task. Sometimes I even end up testing my own code which is very bad for QA standards. None of the other developers is dealing with it, which leaves me doing overtime to finish his work. For him it is granted that I will do it and I am not aware how he came up with this.

How can I politely stop this?

  • 4
    Why are the other developers not having to deal with this? – Mister Positive Mar 17 '17 at 13:21
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    Tell him, truthfully I imagine, that you have other work to do to meet your deadlines and he should discuss his issue with his manager. – Laconic Droid Mar 17 '17 at 13:26
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    To be honest, this isn't so much Bob making you do Bob's work as it is your employer making you do Bob's work. If they haven't hired enough people to do the amount of QA work needed, that isn't Bob's fault. It is between Bob and your bosses though. – Jonathon Cowley-Thom Mar 17 '17 at 14:43
  • Talk to your manager about your difficulties with picking up additional QA , don't even mention Bob. Stick to how your workflow is going. if the QA contract time is not an appropriate amount it shouldn't fall to the Devs to pick up slack. That's my perspective at least. However - there is some politic in trying to get Bob to talk to your manager about himself rather than being perceived as "telling" on someone. – Oubliette Mar 19 '17 at 15:02
  • If he's there for the 6 hours specified in his contract, it sounds like management isn't covering the bases – DLS3141 Mar 20 '17 at 20:30
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How can I politely stop this?

First, stop going around policy and doing QA for your own code. That's not good at all from a process perspective. At the very least give your code to be tested by another dev on your team.

Next, talk to your boss (or product manager, depending on your team organization). Ask how your team should proceed when there is not a QA resource available for the release. Do not call Bob out specifically, but ask the question more like:

  • "Hey boss, we have had a few releases we have not been able to properly do because we have to scramble last minute for a QA resource. We end up testing our own code, which seems like a bad idea, in the future do you want us to delay our releases over this?"

The problem you have here is an organizational and team related problem. If Bob is going to be allowed to do that, something needs to change, whether that is delaying a release, imposing a "release code freeze" time, or hiring more QA resources.

Before each release he has to go through our work and test if everything's in order

If this is the case, you must stop doing this or you will get into trouble. Most PM types I know would be pretty frustrated if they found their team was working around a process without their knowledge (they might tell you to do that, but not without knowing).

  • 1
    If I have to tell someone in an organization "we have processes to follow FOR A REASON" one more time, you're going to see me on the news... Seriously, though, this answer is terrific. You should not go around the process to save someone else's job. – SliderBlackrose Mar 17 '17 at 18:47
  • Thank you for your insight. We have QA from other teams, but I wanted to make sure that by talking to the manager would be the proper thing to do. There have been lately a lot of frustrating situations for me. Once I had to leave on time because of a personal appointment and Bob would not speak to me for a week. I will leave this matter to hierarchy indeed. – Sidius Mar 18 '17 at 13:01
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Give the offender the appropriate warning, such as "From now on, I'm not going to be able to do final QA testing for my own code. It is not following best practices, and the time I am taking in an attempt to do this is taking away from my coding time.", and then just stop doing it. Give the warning via email, so it cannot be disputed.

Sometime things have to hit the floor in order to get managements attention. This also allows for the proper attention to be gained without you having to specifically ask for it. YMMV

  • The problem is, not only I test my own code, I am also doing Bob's load of work. Then the following day: "Oh I completed this task yesterday", when we do our daily meeting on how far with our progress we are – Sidius Mar 18 '17 at 13:03
  • @Sidius: If you're getting your work done and Bob isn't, that will become apparent in short order. – Blrfl Mar 19 '17 at 12:55
  • @Sidius In the daily meeting you should be saying that you spent the morning doing your work and the afternoon doing QA so the release would be on time. Don't single out Bob, but don't make it look like you did less work than you really did either. If Bob's claiming to have done work that you did have a quiet word with him to ask him to stop. If he doesn't, then tell his manager. – thelem Mar 19 '17 at 14:50
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Does Bob have authority to assign you work? If so then it is perfectly reasonable for him to assign you a time-critical task, after taking into account the impact it will have on your other work.

If he doesn't, then next time he asks you to complete a task for him say you can't because you've got other work to complete, but if he speaks to your manager then your manager may be able to change your priorities.

If you don't want to do QA work then that's a discussion to have with your manager separately.

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I'm not sure if it Bob, you, the team's or management's fault, but it won't get better if someone doesn't address the problem.

  1. Does Bob have management's permission to leave early and pick up his kids?
  2. If everyone knows Bob has to leave at a certain time that does not allow him to complete his job, the start time of the QA tests have to be changed.
  3. Everyone who is turning in code for testing will need to get it in sooner because of Bob.

Bob is on contract. I hope his leaving early doesn't mean he is fudging on his hours. Sorry, but in the big scheme of things, either everyone accommodates Bob, or he has to find someone else to pick up his kids. Ultimately, he may have to get a different job.

Not much you can do about all this. Either take action, or just keep enabling Bob.

  • I really do not know. But it's his responsibility to get his job done before he leaves. Like I said, I will leave this matter to hierarchy. – Sidius Mar 18 '17 at 13:04
  • Offer to work with Bob, but let him know you doing his job is not part of the solution. – user8365 Mar 22 '17 at 14:32
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    I talked with the team's manager. Even though I carefully did not mention Bob and trod lightly, Bob became frozen cold to me. He magically started to do overtime to finish his processes, but not a big amount of them. Sometimes he managed to leave on time and deliver his job as well. Anyway, I've changed team and everything is fine now. Maybe I should have done this ages earlier. :) – Sidius Mar 23 '17 at 15:16

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