Dealing with losing a team member

Our team was already tight.  Several members had been shifted to work on other projects and so we were pretty well down to a bare bones team.  And then it happened.  One of the testers took a job in another city since he wife had a job there.  At this point in time it does not look likely that we will get approval to replace him, and so we are faced with the question of what to do.  We have lost 1 tester on a team that had 4 full time and one part time tester.  At first glance this seems like a pretty serious problem.  We just lost almost 25% of the team.  How are we going to be able to keep up on the work that needs to be done?  However, after some reflection, I think this is actually an opportunity in disguise.  It is a new constraint for us and and constraints lead to creativity.  We have already seen some helpful and healthy shifts where developers will be taking on more of the regression maintenance work and where we are being forced to look carefully at our process from a full team perspective to see what things we can spread around the team more.

We all agree that having high quality is an important factor, and this constraint is forcing us to ask the questions about how we are going to get high quality.  It is making us as a team face the fact that quality is indeed something that has to belong to the team as a whole and not something we can just rely on testing to take care of.  So while it is certainly hard to lose a team member and while it can be very painful to have to transition to different ways of thinking, there are certainly some benefits to be had here as well if we are only willing to grab them. We need to let the creative juices flow on how we can deal with this constraint and how we can work together as a team to achieve our goals.

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