Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Keep the Balls in the Air

I was looking at queues today. There are a lot of different areas that QA needs to touch. As a basic example, my team needs to keep on top of all these work queues:
  • team 1 bugs ready for verification
  • team 2 bugs ready for verification
  • team 3 bugs ready for verification
  • team 1 story queue
  • team 2 story queue
  • team 3 story queue
  • nightly test runs
  • weekly test runs
  • customer support escalation
  • QA story queue
  • story stub queue
So how do we keep all these balls in the air?

I've tried two ways:
  • Touch everything every day. Keep on top of your queues and make sure you work them all every day. The goal is to keep any one queue from getting out of control.
  • Pick a queue a day. Avoid context-switching, which is wasteful of your time. Pick one queue each day and get all the way through it, doing everything you possibly can. Sure, each queue will be longer, since you're not touching it as often, but you'll be more efficient about working that queue.
In all practicality, my team winds up touching every queue every day. We wind up needing to touch multiple queues anyway, either because we're blocked on something, or because someone has a question, or because there's an urgent need. So we go with it - pick the highest priority thing across all queues at any point in time.

How do you handle all your queues?

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