In times of crisis, our first reaction is to start looking for a guilty person. This is a normal reaction, but not a constructive one. But what should we do when a crisis does come up?
A crisis is an event that is expected to lead to an unstable situation affecting a community. For example, a critical bug was discovered, but a release was already promised to the end-users. The communication was sent out but the product isn’t as ready as we first suspected it to be. Now what? To me, this is a situation where we can use the information we have found!
First, we try to get everyone in one line. We’ll need to make sure that everybody in the team understands the situation. So as testers, we can try to gather as much information as possible about the current situation we are in. Inform everybody of why this is an issue and how it got there.
The second step is planning for a solution. A lot of different solutions will come up, and not all of them are equal. I believe that we’ll have to be critical. We’ll have to ask the right questions to make sure this solution is the correct one and we didn’t miss anything. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask a wrong question. It’s not our job to make decisions, but it is our job to make sure the decision maker has enough information to make a good call.
Now it’s time for action! Using the information we have, we can keep an eye on the situation. During this process, we’ll get new information that might be important, so we should make sure we share the information gained with the right persons so they can continue working or change course if needed.
Finding the balance between gathering more information and letting the problem be solved is key here!
Now we fixed the issue, we’re not done yet. We need to know how the crisis came to be and more importantly, how we can prevent it in the future! This requires open communication and can be very difficult. People will need to admit their mistakes or faults. We maybe could have done more, a developer might have made an error, or maybe there was a third party involved.
Now we know what caused the issue we can start planning for it. There are plenty of things a tester can do to assist in this. From testing certain functionalities regularly to creating automated checks!