8 Proven Ways to Manage Stress as a Software Testing Professional

Living in an era, where everything seems to be a slave of that machine called CLOCK, it’s not that easy to stay away from problems.

While making a coffee for yourself in the morning, if you are creating a timetable for the day and running around the whole day to achieve the listed tasks, then you are most welcomed to this post :).

Nowadays, stress has become an inevitable part of everyone’s life. Everyone is stressed due to one reason or another. While stress management is rising as a professional industry, I think we just need to go back to the past and think why it was not a problem for our ancestors. Yes, rather than trying out anything fancy, think for a moment, why this was not a problem for our grandparents and you will get most of the answers.

stress management for qa

Being a software testing professional, indirectly, we learn how to manage stress because the profession itself needs patience, communication tactics, and investigation abilities. But sometimes when stress at the workplace is so high, we forget about every possible solution offered.

In this article, I have tried to pen down some of the most common stress factors for testing professionals, along with some proven remedies as well.

4 Common Reasons for Stress in Tester’s Life

#1 Stress Factor: Time Pressure

As we all know, unfortunately in many cases software testing is ranked at last when it comes to prioritizing tasks in software development life cycle. No matter, what model is being used, most of the time (yes, there are exceptions too) if there is anything to be adjusted, it would be the testing hours.

Therefore, a tester, most of the time struggles while meeting deadlines and getting testing coverage.

Example: When you are asked to do a round of testing for an application with complex calculations involved, within the next 2 hours, as the application is expected to go live by evening. In this situation, if you are not stressed, I think you do not need this article. :)

#2 Stress Factor: No recognition at work

It’s a well-known truth that a tester needs more time to create credibility because the effort he/she is putting on a daily basis are not recognized in the way it should be. The reason might be the nature of the job, where one has to find faults with others’ work.

Although ultimately testers help in improving quality, they are the ones who work as quality guards and no one likes any guard because he/she reserves the right to allow/disallow the entry.

Example: For the latest project release success, the project manager had specifically written a thank you note to every developer and business development team members but did not include you. When asked about it, the manager says, he just forgot. Does this situation demotivate you? For me, it’s a great stress factor.

#3 Stress Factor: Less pay

Whether accepted or not, this is the bitter truth. The scenario is changing gradually but it will definitely take time to change completely.

Example: When you come to know that your friend, with whom, you studied Computers, has been offered 2X package. Will you regret on being in software testing by passion? If yes, then you are absolutely stressed.

#4 Stress Factor: Need for a continuous learning

It’s a matter of fact for every profession but it is the most important stress factor for tester…why?

Example: If you are seeing a manual tester struggling to learn automation to get next career break, you will be able to understand what constant learning means. For any specific technology, once you learn it, you are set with it and you just need to upgrade yourself. But when it comes to a tester, he/she never enjoy that kind of “career honeymoon” period where he can settle with whatever he knows because he is required to work on any project and is expected to understand and implement the relevant tools accordingly.

Also, read => How to Improve Your Testing Skills and Beat the Competition! and 10 Tips to Survive and Progress in the Field of Software Testing

And if you have read until here, get relaxed and grab a cup of coffee because now we are going to look at the brighter side of life where we can manage all the above-mentioned stress factors. How?

Read on …

How to Manage Stress as a Software Testing Professional

Method #1: Understand priorities


A login page with a seemingly critical bug is more important to test than checking the spelling of web page content. I am not saying something is less important but the priority matters here. If you have multiple tasks to be performed, then don’t jump and start everything because it will only make a mess of it. Start with one task by defining priorities and once that is done take the other task in hand.

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities – Stephen Covey

Method #2: Learn to Say NO

You are a human being and not a machine. You cannot do everything and the person asking you should understand that. If not, learn to say NO. Do not try to please everyone by accepting all the tasks and increasing your workload. Understand your priorities & the time available and then make the other people understand why you are saying “NO” to them.

It’s only by saying “NO” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important – Steve Jobs

Method #3: Emotional intelligence

This is expected from every professional. If you are just crying out after a hot debate with the manager on a defect that was missed by you, you need to learn emotional intelligence. It’s not about just controlling your emotions but diverting them into a positive manner. Every professional need to learn it at some point in their career, if he/she wants to survive. Do not allow someone to hurt you so easily and do not get hurt that easily too. :)

People with high emotional intelligence are often more successful than people with high intelligence – Anonymous

Method #4: Take care of yourself

Everything else will be taken care automatically if you are fit physically and mentally. Eat right, sleep tight. Look after yourself, both physically and emotionally. You will be able to work properly only when your body along with your mind is capable of doing it.

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in. – Anonymous.

Method #5: Talk it out

Sometimes it’s better to clarify matter than guessing and building perceptions. If you think your work is not appreciated, talk it out. If you think some issue needs to be addressed, talk it out. If you think you will face a time crunch, talk it out. The only thing that needs to be taken care is to talk it out positively.

A lot of problems in the world would disappear if we would talk to each other, instead of about each other – Alisa Michelle

Method #6: Understand that work is part of life and not life

Yes, checking work-related e-mails for 5 times over weekend proves that you are replacing life with work. Understand that life needs other things like fun, family time, recreation activities and a simple laugh. Believe me, while your mind is busy thinking about your customer’s reaction, you will not enjoy that best recipe prepared for you by your loved ones. Unplug yourself from technology for few hours and then you will see the difference. Disconnect your mind from work once you leave the office and enjoy your family time.

Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow – Douglas Pagels

Method #7: Delegate

Always remember that you do not achieve anything when you are trying to do everything on your own. Learn to delegate. Mentor people. Teach yourself the importance of assignment. Yes, always take responsibility but don’t try to execute everything by your own.

Focus on your strength and delegate your weaknesses – Anonymous.

Method #8: Hang out with like-minded

Who you surround yourself with, you become. Always be selective when it comes to companionship. Don’t spend time by gossiping or on something which is not important. Have few friends or colleagues or a group of people who would help you positively whenever needed. Discussion with like-minded people can recharge you in many ways. It can give you a new perspective to look at the matter, new ideas to implement, and it corrects and stops you by being diverted to a wrong track.

Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious – Anonymous

And finally, I would like to conclude the post with world famous quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

Do what you can, where you are with what you have and forget the rest.

About the Author: This awesome article is written by STH team member Bhumika M. She is a project lead, carrying 10+ years of software testing experience. She is totally into testing and loves to test everything that exists.

Happy testing and Stress Management!

Let us know your valuable comments/suggestions about this article.




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20 comments ↓

#1 Kedare Swapnil

Stress busting article :)

#2 Ravi Kiran

Very good article and it is important to all software folks not only a tester.

#3 Vijay Naicker

Excellent …. :)
– This is one of the best article in the pool. Applicable to everyone.
– Freshers must refer this page because most of the time people join S/W testing with mindset that its an easy going job. This article might change their approach.
– @Author: Commendable efforts, keep up the good work.

#4 monika

Very useful post…
Thanks STH

#5 MrTee

This was great… thanks

#6 Ratan

thanks for such a greate article

#7 Mona

Thanks a lot STH team for sharing wonderful information!!!!!

#8 Ameet

another quote – Work hard but make time for yourself,your love,family and frnds because “nobody remembers your presentations at your funeral”

#9 Rajani

Nice article .

I always learn something from software testing help.com

#10 vikram

Great article. Like it.

#11 Bhumika Mehta

All Readers,

Glad to know that post was helpful and well accepted. Thanks a lot for your continuous readership with us.

#12 Vishakha Bhardwaj

Love the way of describing the thing. Good one..thanx for lifting up…..Keep going…… :)

#13 Jeff Masnaghetti

Do you like video games? I do. My favorite video game of all time is creating automated test systems. It is challenging and rewarding (how many video games get you a paycheck?) and there are so many ways to play.

The first goal, of course, is to understand the system you intend to test and the tools at your disposal. The automation you create should not only test the system but also make your life easier. Repetitive tasks you hate, like reviewing long log files, generating a standardized report, getting a quick status, reconfiguring a test, and so on, can be made easier with a little code. I have gotten my test systems to the point where the tasks that would take half a day were reduced to a few minutes, leaving me time for what I truly enjoy: coding the next change. Then, if you need to increase your test capacity, you simply obtain more hardware and set up more stations and maintain them all.

The key game to play is this one: Whatever it is you are testing, try to stop or delay its release by filing serious bugs against it that HAVE to be fixed. If you do that, you win that round. If you fail to do that, then either
a) there were no serious bugs (yay), or
b) you did not dig deep enough, or
c) management failed to recognize the implications of your bugs and shipped anyway (and if the bugs come back to hurt the company it is time to bail and find another job, because the company is doomed anyway.)

Are the developers looking down on you as a lowly tester? Find the bugs in their product to prove that they are no so perfect after all. Make believers out of them, or (if their egos will not permit their recognition of your value, ) embarrass them with their bugs.

Remember that the ultimate goal is to improve the product by finding the bugs and driving them to a fix. Sometimes you have to fight. Sometimes you will not be popular. There have been times when the development management desperately wanted to stifle or remove me, but the production department saw me as their best defense against shoddy FW releases and they protected me. There was once a COO that decreed that no new FW release would ship until I, personally, had had a chance to test it for two weeks, and he enforced that decree.

Quality is crucial to a company’s success, and testers are the guardians of quality. Quality is a long-term commitment made by a company to itself. It can get in the way sometimes, if management wants to ship something that is not ready, but in the end it is good for all.

#14 prabhakar

Hi vijay.

Regarding ISTQB study material i have the payment its been 4 days no reply from your side ,please do reply asap.

Thanks,
Prabhakar

#15 Tapashi

Very useful article. Loved the content.

#16 Rasel Rony

Your examples helped me a lot understanding the main things. You made a great resource for software testing professionals.

#17 Dinesh

One word!! WOW…!! Awesome article.!!!

#18 Neharika

Thank you Bhumika M, for such a nice article. Have been enlightened after reading it.

#19 rock
#20 Milan

Thanks a lot for such nice article !!!

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