Anyone who does QA testing for a mobile app or website will likely interact with one or more developers. QA’s role is to report problems with a site or app, while developers are in the position of fixing the issues. Because of these dynamics, it’s essential that the developer and QA relationship is friendly and robust.
Typically, communication between developers and QA will take place throughout a project or Sprint (in an Agile QA process). At the beginning of a Sprint, QA might have questions about features, data, or end point information. During the middle of testing, QA will find issues and file bug reports for developers. And at the end, developers and QA will work together to make sure the release launch happens smoothly. None of these steps can succeed without strong teamwork between both groups.
In order to have a healthy process and great end product, the developer and QA relationship should be one of mutual respect. In this vein, it’s important for QA to avoid bringing blame into any bug reports. When bugs are reported in a judgmental way, it’s natural for developers to feel personally attacked. After all, it’s their code – so if QA is communicating problems in a condescending manner, it can be feel belittling.
It’s also helpful for developers to keep in mind that QA’s goal is to proactively improve user experience and quality. A respectful QA tester will always stay focused on this end goal. That means assessing the quality of the app or site, not criticizing the coder that may or may not be responsible for a given issue. When developers feel comfortable with and respect their QA colleagues, they can rest assured that bugs are being reported in a neutral, objective way.
Keeping morale high between team members can go a long way in making a project successful. Of course, avoiding unnecessary negativity and disputes is important. But going a step further and actively cultivating “good vibes” can reduce stress and misunderstandings — and even improve the quality of the app or site.
Ways for QA to Encourage Developers
Praise efficiency. Did a developer turn around a bug fix faster than you even thought possible? Tell them!
Provide feedback on the good — not just the bad. Bug reports are always going to be part of QA’s job. But if you get a build that’s damn near perfect, or think that a new feature was implemented in a particularly graceful way, send the dev a high-five emoji. (Or, you know, complimentary words if they’re not the emoji type.)
“How do you feel about this?” You don’t have to be a therapist to ask this question. If you’re noticing user experience issues as a result of the way something was coded, respect developers’ opinions by letting them weigh in.
Ways for Developers to Encourage QA
Share appreciation for good bug finds. After all, it’s always better for QA to spot a bug before a customer does. Any QA tester will be happy to hear “Nice catch on finding that bug!” It will only increase motivation, and decrease the chances of customers or employers blaming a developer for bugs in production.
Be open with information. If QA has questions, it increases the team bond when developers answer in a helpful and open manner. When QA feels discouraged from asking questions, there’s a heightened risk of bugs making it to production. (When working with outside Engineering workers, it can be helpful to hire developers and QA separately for related reasons.) Helping QA understand why something was set up the way it was will minimize misunderstandings and maximize the quality of the test cases.
To Bug or Not To Bug
A good QA tester will have an eye on user experience that goes above and beyond strictly reporting glaring defects. This level of expertise helps make apps and sites as user-friendly as possible. As a result, sometimes QA will report user experience issues that a developer may not think of as bugs. When this happens, it’s best for everyone to let the project/product managers prioritize the bug fix. A developer may have followed the acceptance criteria perfectly, so QA reporting a user experience issue does not inherently mean that the developer did anything wrong whatsoever. (For more on this, see 5 Reasons Developers Shouldn’t Be Blamed for Bugs.)
Two Heads Are Better Than One
Developers and QA testers both serve crucial roles in the software development life cycle. By working together, the result can be greater than the sum of its parts. This means less stress, more productivity, and a smoother experience for everyone from the engineering team to the end users. At the end of the day, the benefits of fostering a great QA-developer relationship are well worth the effort.
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