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Since becoming QA I have found my work-life balancing dwindling. It seems like there is more and more pressure to achieve perfection with less and less resources.

This has led to the following scenarios as of late:

  1. Monitoring production servers and services for failures and faults
  2. Assisting with releases that may impact my system
  3. Working excessive, odd hours that include overnight, days, morning, late afternoons, weekends etc all within a single week.
  4. Reviewing source code and assisting developers with enhancements and tweaks to improve stability

This has led to several issues, mainly exhaustion. As the sole QA for the project, it leads me to believe that this will only continue to get worse. Being exhausted at work will only hinder my ability to detect defects. The issue is anytime I do not oblige these requests it only seems to make matters worse in the sense that issues tend to always arise due to it. It is a very "let's do it anyways and see what happens" type of mindset when I am not able to participate.

So the question is essentially, how do I explain to my company and bosses that I can no longer continue to work the amount I have been working.Not just for myself, but for the overall quality of the software as well.

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    IMHO this is not specific to QA. Many similar questions are asked (and answered) on Workplace forum. Like: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/57/… workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/34/… Nov 17 '14 at 14:42
  • Peter, I considered that and I figured the question was better asked here due to wanting the insight from other people in QA and not public, generally development based people. I believe that our positions put us in a different level of responsibility than Development positions. Due to wanting to know how to balance work-life as QA, I figured I would ask the question here. What have other people in the field done to remedy such situations etc etc.
    – Paul Muir
    Nov 17 '14 at 15:28
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With the suggestion to post elsewhere withstanding...

Have you tried to speak to your manager/project lead and explain your bandwidth constraints? Try to explain it in terms of quality rather than your exhaustion. Tell them you need another QA person for a few reasons:

  • Fresh/multiple eyes will catch more issues
  • DEV/QA ratio
  • Humans make mistakes (speak to your bandwidth constraints)
  • Some of your own...

Finally, ask them if they can bring in another person to work with you on QA for this project. If they care about quality and want you/the team to succeed they will likely find a way. If they don't... why do you? Maybe that is cynical, but is it worth killing yourself over?

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Don't kill yourself. As I commented elsewhere, "A" in "QA" stands for "Assistance" not "Assurance". You can "Assure" only what you can control, and developers have own boss, do not report to QA. Your goal as QA is "assist" managers by providing the info to management about quality and how to improve it, and catch as many of the most important bugs as you can in time available.

If you told managers about conditions and limits of what you can do, and management decided it is OK, your job is done. So continue doing good job in finding bugs but don't get frustrated that you cannot change what your management did not gave resources for.

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I would like to make a suggestion for one of your questions regarding monitoring servers and services.

There are a lot of open source tools out there that aid in server monitoring (Ganglia, Nagios are a few examples). Personally, I have used Ganglia and it has drastically reduced the amount of time I spend in monitoring.

For the fault reporting part, I have created a suite of scripts to run as cron jobs and alert me in the event of failures.

In short, automation should give you some relief from mundane monitoring tasks. HTH.

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