Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spinning Down

Ok, so we just got our latest release out the door - it's time to relax, right? Working as the single tester on a small product test team has some advantages, but at the end of the day the buck stops here. Stress leading up to a major release is manageable, but what do you do after the release is out the door?

That adrenaline keeps pumping for a while and it takes time to spin down. Here are some thing I do to help manage the days after a release:

• Don't arrange a family commitment the weekend after a scheduled release. No matter how well you prepare, there may be a scheduled delay. That is one pressure you can do without.

• If your spouse asks how the release is going, the answer is "Fine" - no matter what. You aren't lying, just reassuring. Being asked about stress at work is also one pressure you can do without.

• Plan on spinning down gradually. It is out the door, but you could still have last-minute install problems crop up.

• Keep the schedule sane in the week leading up to and following a release. Not getting enough sleep means making mistakes.

• Don't make formal arrangements for a "relaxing" activity. Step back into your normal routine. Plan nothing and let it happen.

• Don't try to force yourself back into a "normal" sleep pattern. Starting a week or so before a release, my body tends to wake up at 2:00 AM no matter what. That continues for a while after a release and I just don't worry about it too much.

• Mental and physical go hand in hand during stressful periods. With me, it's stress, coffee, and spicy food - pick any two out of three. Around a week or so before and after a release, it's usually time to go cold turkey on the caffeine.

Oh, last one ... write a blog. Sharing with others online is a good way to cut the stress. Hey, it really does help!

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