How Testers Can Celebrate National Boss’s Day Without Sucking Up

I’ll admit – I didn’t know this holiday was a real thing before writing this blog post. Turns out that in 1958 a young Patricia Bays Haroski thought it would be a good idea if there were a holiday where everyone could show their appreciation for their boss – especially the younger folks in the office who didn’t really understand how much hard work went into being a supervisor. Interesting sidenote #1: Patricia was working for her father at an insurance company at the time. Interesting sidenote #2: October 16, now National Boss’s Day, is her father’s birthday.

However, it’s safe to say that by now, National Boss’s Day is about a little bit more than a daughter’s feelings for her underappreciated father. The holiday is celebrated (or at least officially acknowledged) in the United States, Canada, Lithuania and Romania. It occurs on the nearest working day to October 16 – which lands on a Friday this year so you’ll have a great opportunity to party with your manager as a kick-off to the weekend. And most importantly, you’ve got plenty of time to prepare.

All kidding aside, there are a lot of tremendous managers out there. They look out for our careers, mentor us and teach us, and help us remove obstacles so we can do the work we love. You don’t have to suck up to your manager to show that you appreciate them. So here are some subtle and respectful ways you can celebrate Boss’s Day this year.

Get a Jump on That Automation Project

We all know that productivity is key for testers these days, and automation is the way to get there – especially for the agile tester. Manual testing has clear limits and the more you can automate, the better. Your boss wants to see his team’s productivity go up because that’s going to have a direct impact on quality as well as time-to-market and end-user satisfaction.

For many people, automation is one of those things that just has a habit of hanging out there. You end up being so busy with “the routine” that you are unable to put in place the infrastructure you need to really accelerate what you are doing for automated performance testing.

Make the time to prioritize that automation project. Get in front of the ball, and figure out what it’s going to take to get over the hurdle and start devoting a small but meaningful amount of time to improving automation capabilities on a regular basis. You’ll probably surprise your boss, and it’ll feel good to take the initiative. But for Boss’s Day, it’ll go a long way to helping your boss understand that you are making time for his important initiatives.

Move to Scenario-Based Performance Testing

Whether your boss runs a special performance testing unit, or the broader QA organization, or the entire development group, one thing you can be sure of is that they appreciate the value of teamwork. Often a manager’s greatest struggles lie in getting their team to work together, smoothly, without conflict or artificial obstacles.

A great way to do that as a tester is to drive scenario-based performance testing further into your process. Break up your large load tests into small pieces that can be incorporated into your continuous integration process. As you do this, you’ll find opportunities to plug those scenarios in more closely with functional testing and functional scenarios. This actually contributes to the common language that your entire team is speaking through the agile process, and goes a long way to facilitate teamwork.

If you want to show your boss that you respect her or him, it’s hard to imagine something more impactful than promoting teamwork and breaking down siloed processes.

Improve Your Communication

There’s nothing that frustrates a boss more than the feeling that people aren’t communicating with each other. One of the great things about the agile development process is they way it almost forces teams to communicate often and efficiently.

But you don’t need to rely on “the system” to become a better communicator. A few tips that help with communication:

  • Share the results of your performance tests with your team. Here are some tips for doing this well.
  • Send a weekly summary of what you are working on. It doesn’t require a lot of effort, but it’s a great way to spark conversation and keep people informed.
  • Pick up the phone, or walk over to someone. Sure – email is fast & efficient, but sometimes it’s best just to have a conversation.
  • Ask questions. Even if you think you know the answer, go get advice from someone you trust, or someone you want to build a bridge to. You may surprise yourself with what you learn.

Communication is like fire. Once you get a spark going, it’s likely to build. It doesn’t take much fuel to keep it going, and it’s something your boss is sure to recognize and appreciate.

Finally, a Subtle Thank You

Don’t make a big deal of it. Don’t buy a gift. Don’t do anything publicly. But at some point during the day, pull your boss aside and say a simple thank-you. A card would be a nice touch, too.


At the end of the day, it’s nice to express respect, but the best way to show your boss you appreciate them is to help them. Assist with their initiatives and make them look good. You’ll probably find that doing so will benefit you in the process!

Photo Credit: Kumar Appaiah

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