Best practices for making developer and QA relationships work
Have you ever seen the meme about the developer and QA relationship? If yes, you can think that it must be terrible to work in a development team. Who wants to work where there is such a bad atmosphere? If team members are enemies?
The most crucial thing I want you to know is… Developer / QA is not your enemy.
I know how it sounds. How to treat a person who comes to you and complains: “This is wrong.”, “That doesn’t work.”, “I found the next bug.”, “There are too many bugs to release”. It can be frustrating. Especially, when you, the developer, spend a lot of time to make this feature the best you can. So, what we - developers and testers - who work together can do, to make our relationship better? And without hidden negative emotions? I have got some tips for you that will help you improve your relationship with each other and make it work!
Use the right language
Compare these sentences: “You’re stupid that you made a mistake in … module.” and “I found a bug/defect in … module.”. They are quite similar, right? We have a bug in one of the modules. But look, do you see the personal attack in the first sentence? You are stupid. You made. Is it necessary? Do we have to hurt other people to draw attention to e.g. we found a bug? No. Moreover, this information does not help anyone. It can just make everything worse. So, how can we describe the right language in communication between developers and QA? Here is the list.
- No personal attacks.
- Show respect.
- Be helpful.
- Be specific.
- Simply language.
- Be kind.
- Be open.
- Be honest.
Remember you have the same goals
You work in the same company, in the same team. Probably, your tasks are much different, but the goal is the same. You want to create a product that gives value to the client. Simply as that. Try not to find bad intentions in the other person. Developer did not make bugs to give you more work. QA does not want to prove that you are a bad programmer or you do not have enough skills. Remember, it is nothing personal. Sometimes it is someone's duty, sometimes - a bad day or a new challenge. It requires a lot of maturity and respect, but it is worth it.
Give regular feedback
Feedback is a very hype word nowadays. But only a few of us can give and receive feedback. What can we do to improve these skills? First (and probably the most important) - create in your company space for that and schedule regular feedback sessions between coworkers and management (also 1:1 meetings within the development team). Why this one? And not, for example, learning feedback techniques? Because, you can know all methods, but if you do not use them - they will not work. Second - encourage coworkers to give feedback. If they don’t know how - here is the place for learning methods and techniques. And then for giving feedback. And for giving feedback about giving feedback.
Remember that there is a human on the other side
It is really easy to forget about that. Especially, when lots of companies work in a remote environment. It
is easier to write to someone “You’re stupid that you make mistakes like that” or “How can’t you catch this bug?” when you do not see the person receiving your message. You would not say that in someone’s face, right? So do not do it online. There is a human on the other side. This human has feelings and, like all of us, sometimes makes mistakes or has a bad day. Just be kind - it is not too much, you can do it! 🙂
Involving QA in the development process from the start
This solution has only advantages. It helps to provide better quality from the very beginning and (if it is a newly created team) to know each other and build team spirit and responsibility for the project.
Be the change you want to see
This point may be a little bit philosophical. But if you want to see the change - be this change. Give this feedback. Help that person. Change the message to a coworker to a nicer one. Ask your manager / HR department what you can do to improve the developer/QA relationship. Share your knowledge. Schedule team-building activities. Ask for feedback. Be a team player. See good in people. Let yourself for mistakes.
In the end, I would like to wish you great development teams with mature relationships between team members. Remember that it is always space for improvement and new ways to reach goals. Together. Last month, in Qodeca we started improving our feedback processes to make our cooperation better. It was never bad - but we believe in the continuous development of our skills to be better employees and better people.
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