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I recently started to work as a coordinator. Part of my job is to QA our products that are very similar to each other. A developer did not inform me about product B that was ready for QA. The same day boss asked me about the progress on product B QA(I was not aware of it at that point) during the team meeting, I did not handle the situation well, I mumbled away that I will take a look and complete it as soon as I can.

What is a gracious way to handle such situations? I don't want to look like I am pointing fingers and saying it's someone else's fault.

Another issue is that I have many tasks going on and its hard to keep up with everything, I usually have a to-do list in my pc, I didn't have it with me during the meeting because I was not usually asked on my tasks there before. So I got completely scared that I missed something although I did not, that was the reason I mumbled away :(

Please share guidelines.

  • I think it's great that you have a humble, easy0going attitude. If it was me I'd be yelling "I WASN'T TOLD ABOUT THIS". I think your approach is fine and you should't worry at all. – Fattie Jun 26 '17 at 20:07
  • @JoeStrazzere why would you differentiate between QA and testing? there is no QA position in the company so I do the first round of QA to find most obvious bugs. – Stella Jun 26 '17 at 20:15
  • @Fattie what should have I said instead? "I was not aware of product B being ready for QA"? I am a non-native English speaker so I still put the effort in learning business English. I don't want to say "This guy did not tell me so I did not know I was supposed to do it", it does not sound nice – Stella Jun 26 '17 at 20:19
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    Right - you simply say I was not aware of that. That's it ! DON'T add the words sorry. Just state "Hmm - I have never heard of this project before". or "Hmm, I have not been told about this." or "I have not heard of it before". – Fattie Jun 26 '17 at 20:20
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    @JoeStrazzere I live in Canada so they will not mind hearing extra sorry – Stella Jun 26 '17 at 20:33
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I agree with some of the other posters - you answered well, considering the circumstances. Here are a few guidelines I would suggest:

  1. Be honest. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to say everything that you're thinking, but it does mean that what you say should be true. If you didn't know about it, you can say that.

  2. Speak to your experience only. This will make sure you don't throw anyone "under the bus" (blame someone) over the issue. There are many reasons why miscommunication happens, and even if you have a good idea of who or what the problem is, you can't say for sure and so you shouldn't say.

  3. Ask questions, as appropriate. In this case, it might be good to say, "I didn't know about that - who can I talk to for more information?"

  4. Be confident that the situation can be resolved. I say this because acting nervous or uncomfortable might seem like you are hiding something. Ask the questions that are appropriate, seek the answers that need to be found, and own up to any personal failing - but make it clear to your boss that you will do what it takes to get it taken care of.

I find that being straightforward, honest, and humble in your interactions with people can help you resolve all sorts of problems.

  • Point #2 is good - so, in this case, I should have just told that I wasn't aware without any further discussions. I need to work on point#4 more. Could you suggest on what steps I could take to make it clear to my boss that I will do what it takes to take care of stuff (except actually doing it?) – Stella Jun 26 '17 at 21:15
  • @Stella Good question. You can certainly assure your boss that you will do what needs to be done in any situation where that fact might be questioned. "I will do what I can to make sure that gets taken care of." But ultimately, a pattern of doing what you say you will do will prove it. – wildbagel Jun 27 '17 at 15:57
  • @Stella Treat it no differently than as if your boss just had a spontaneous idea. It's a new task, it has a deadline, it has a priority. From a scheduling point of view it's irrelevant whether the task existed for a year or a second. – Kempeth Jun 28 '17 at 7:51
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What is a gracious way to handle such situations?

First something like "I'm sorry. I haven't heard that Project B was ready for testing. I'll check into it and get right on it."

Than, you might wish to use this as an opportunity to discuss the process with your boss.

Indicate that this slipped through the cracks. Ask about the process in this shop regarding how you can know that a product is ready for testing. Perhaps there is a status board somewhere. Or perhaps you are supposed to look at the code checkin status daily. Perhaps there is a real QA Team with whom you should coordinate. Perhaps you aren't being invited to status meetings where testing readiness is discussed. Or something else.

Or perhaps it's not really your issue at all, and the developers are supposed to tell you whenever something is ready for testing. In that case, indicate that you'll work with the developers in question to make sure they know and understand your role and have your email and phone number.

You'll only know by asking.

And if the process seems inefficient or ineffective, eventually you may wish to propose an alternative process.

Another issue is that I have many tasks going on and its hard to keep up with everything, I usually have a to-do list in my pc, I didn't have it with me during the meeting because I was not usually asked on my tasks there before.

So now you know to always bring your laptop to status meetings, so that you can answer these questions. Or bring a printout or whatever it takes for you to keep tasks straight.

You are new. And presumably still adjusting to a new set of expectations.

Don't sweat it, just learn from it.

  • What would I say to explain the situation? Let's imagine the worst thing happened -> I would say that I was not aware of the task. What should I say to recover gracefully and still earn credibility? I talked to the main dev privately during the first week about that and he confirmed to me that I will be notified once a product is ready for release. Another dev forgot to message me about that sadly. I explained the situation to the boss and completed QA the same day. Another thing that bothered me was that boss didnt care at all to hear my explanation as well :( – Stella Jun 26 '17 at 20:28
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Bring your to-do list with you to the meetings. That way you will have documentation of what you are working on, where they all are and what is still needed. This will also give you the assurance of being able to consult your list and say

"I wasn't aware of that and will add it to my list. What priority should it be?"

As Joe mentioned in his answer, this might be a great time to review the process for how you are notified when a new release is made.

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    Thank you! I totally agree about bringing to-do list to the meeting, I learned it hard way. I also read that it's a good habit to always be ready to tell about your project status summary on spot in short few sentences - this is what I am currently working on. – Stella Jun 26 '17 at 20:50
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I think you are missing something very important: there is no task! QA doesn't start testing willy-nilly, it needs to start on an "official build" (which may be an actual build, a deployed application in the QA/Testing environment etc.).

In this particular case my answer would have been: "Waiting for development to handover the product to QA". (Caveat: there may be a "protocol" for handover builds to QA that you aren't aware or forgot, so this may backfire, but be honest and willing to learn and everyone will understand)

Your next step is to find out if you company has a protocol for handing over products to QA, and be aware of that.

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