7 tips to improve communication between developers and testers in your team
Best practices Management Agile
9 mins read
August 20, 2023

10 tips to improve communication between developers and testers in your team

In the world of software development, developers and testers are often at odds with each other. This is usually because developers want to do their work as quickly as possible and testers want to ensure that the software works as intended. Here is some advice for improving communication between developers and testers in your team.

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Kirill Chabanov

1. Establish clear quality standards and processes

Quality standards and processes are essential for effective communication and collaboration between developers and testers. This is true whether you’re building software, testing it, or both.

Before starting a project, establish clear quality standards — they can be high-level (for example, “We will have 100% code coverage”) or detailed (“All features should be tested with at least X unit tests”). The details will depend on what type of work is going to be done on the project, but they should always be set before starting so that everyone knows what to expect. 

Ideally, there should also be a document explaining how these standards are applied in practice. These texts also serve as documentation for future readers who may not know why certain decisions were made in the past (like why we chose X test suite). A special document with QA team communication requirements can also be a good idea.

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2. Conduct team meetings regularly

Meetings are a great way to keep everyone on the same page and make sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute.

Team meetings help keep everyone updated on the project’s progress, allowing for problem solving and decision making to happen in real time. Regular team meetings can also be useful for team bonding, morale boosting, and improving communication in agile teams.

Keep the meetings short. Meetings should be held regularly, but that doesn’t mean they need to last for hours at a time. Keep your meetings as short as possible, so people don’t get bored or distracted by other things going on around them during the meeting. All the interpersonal communication that was not covered in the meeting can be done in an online test management tool.

3. Set up feedback loops and regular meetings

A feedback loop enhances communication between developers and testers by ensuring that everyone is on the same page. A feedback loop is where you get feedback from one person, it goes through two or more iterations, and then it gets presented back to the first person. This can be done in meetings or over email; however, meetings are preferable as they allow for discussion with other team members who might have additional insight into your issue.

Just like mentoring relationships set up trust over time, regular meetings help establish trust at every stage of development: from planning through execution and bug discovery. Regularly scheduled meetings also allow for effective DEV team communication because they force people to meet face-to-face (or use video conferencing software) instead of just communicating through emails and instant messages.

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4. Don't take it personally

It’s not personal.

Remember that your role as a tester is to provide feedback on the product, which can mean criticising developers’ work. However, it’s easy for you or developers to take criticism personally.

While it is important to be open-minded when receiving feedback, don’t let negative comments get under your skin or affect your work. Remember that what matters most here is the final result of testing — the improvement of your product!

If you find yourself getting defensive and upset, take a moment to step back from the issue. You may need to leave the room or hang up the phone for a short while until you feel calm enough to continue.

5. Always aim for a safe environment where you can share the mistakes you've made

If you want your team to be able to share their mistakes without fear of failure, you should always make sure that they’re in a safe environment. This will help them feel comfortable sharing their struggles and challenges with others.

Encouraging an open discussion of all issues, both good and bad, will allow everyone on the team to learn from each other’s experiences. This recommendation will help you to avoid making the same mistakes in future projects.

6. Focus on the product being developed, not the process of development

Focusing on the end result will help you make the right decisions for your project and avoid wasting time debating whether something should be done in one way or another.

The best way to start is by defining what success means for your product. This should include the goals you’re trying to achieve, how you measure those goals, and what metrics are required to show progress in achieving them.

7. Organise knowledge-sharing sessions and encourage learning

Knowledge sharing is important for the team. It helps to grow, be more efficient and reduce mistakes.

One of the best ways to do this is by organising knowledge-sharing sessions. In these sessions, you can share the latest things you’ve learned about the development environment, coding standards, productivity tools and more. These sessions could be scheduled regularly (e.g., every week) or just when something new comes up that needs to be shared with others on your team who may not know about it yet (e.g., a new project management tool).

This is a great way to build trust and rapport with your team, as well as ensure that everyone on the team has access to the same information. It can also help you identify gaps in your knowledge that need attention and find new ideas on how to manage testing process.

8. Promote cross-functional collaboration

Promoting cross-functional collaboration is a great way to improve communication between teams and enhance the QA and developer relationship. By assigning developers and testers to joint projects or feature teams, you create an environment where everyone works closely together. Having a common goal encourages a shared sense of ownership and nurtures a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities. 

Developers gain insights into the testing process, while testers gain insights into the intricacies of code development. Regular interactions and collaborative problem-solving sessions become the norm, paving the way for increased transparency, reduced misinterpretations, and more efficient exchange of ideas. Through cross-functional collaboration, you can benefit from collective expertise to produce high-quality software while building a solid foundation of communication and mutual respect.

9. Use collaborative tools

In the digital age, collaborative tools improve team communication and fortify the QA and developer relationship. Incorporating project management software, version control systems, and dedicated communication channels streamlines the flow of information and updates. Developers can easily share code changes, updates, and feature developments, while testers can provide real-time feedback on test results, defects, and quality concerns. These tools facilitate transparent communication, ensuring that both parties are on the same page throughout the development and testing lifecycle. 

Regular status updates, shared documents, and consolidated dashboards contribute to a unified understanding of project progress and priorities. By harnessing the power of collaborative tools like aqua cloud, your teams can work in sync and foster an environment of effective communication, continuous feedback, and a stronger QA and developer partnership.

10. Implement test-driven development

The last suggestion to create seamless communication between developers and testers and enhance the QA and developer relationship on our list is adopting Test-Driven Development (TDD) practices. TDD offers a structured approach where developers and testers collaborate closely from the inception of a project. Test cases are defined before writing the actual code. Developers strive to create code that passes these predefined tests, and testers work alongside to create comprehensive test cases. 

This methodology results in more robust and well-tested code and ensures that testing considerations are immediately woven into the development fabric. In this approach, both QA and dev teams gain a shared understanding of the expected behaviour and functionalities. It significantly reduces the chances of misinterpretations as developers and testers collaboratively shape the project’s quality standards and objectives. TDD’s collaborative nature leads to a virtuous cycle of continuous feedback, with developers receiving immediate input from testers on the test cases and their expected outcomes.

Conclusion

Communication between developers and testers must be clear and effective. That way, you can ensure everyone knows what they’re doing, which will help prevent conflicts down the line. We hope our tips will help your team achieve a new level of success together.

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FAQ
How should QA engineers communicate with a developer?

QA engineers should communicate with developers clearly, professionally, and regularly. Testers need to provide detailed information about defects, give updates, collaborate on problem solving, and give constructive feedback on any repeat issues discovered during long-term collaboration.

What are the conflicts between developers and testers?

Conflicts between developers and testers can be due to different perspectives on the job and priorities on non-overlapping tasks. Some potential points of conflict include:

  • Overprotecting projects and rejecting changes from developers
  • Poorly describing defects in bug reports
  • Non-observance of guidelines by QA and/or devs
How should testers and developers work together?

Testers and developers should work together by communicating clearly, establishing mutual respect, defining responsibilities, collaborating on problem solving, and regularly sharing information about progress and obstacles. This will lead to a more efficient and effective development process.

Why is communication important in QA?

Communication is vital in QA because it ensures clear understanding, seamless collaboration, and efficient issue resolution among team members, leading to higher-quality software and successful project outcomes.

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