Throughout the testing process, many developers will find “Why did you do that?” echoing in their head. It’s a tester’s job to break things… things that a developer has spent a long time building. But most developers understand the value that a tester brings; it isn’t the fact that the tester has broken their hard work that is usually infuriating. Rather, issues usually arise when the testers offer poor or frustrating feedback. The “intermittent” or vague bug is the most difficult to track down, especially when the tester can’t express exactly how it occurred in the first place.
Give Testers Sufficient Guidelines
One of the “newbie” mistakes many developers make when they’re first entering into a rigorous testing process is to be vague with their testers. Producing a bug report should be very clear. The testers should be aware of exactly what steps they should take to best give the developer the feedback they need to resolve the issue. Developers should also be clear on what the testers should be testing and what is outside the scope of the tests. Often, testing is done in phases and the entirety of the platform isn’t prepared. Testers will feel as though their own time was wasted — and will waste development time — if they end up testing things that aren’t ready.
Respect Your Testers
Too often, testers can be viewed as a sort of “crash test dummy” for software — and this can lead to a false belief that they don’t do anything special. Good testers, however, have to be extremely conscientious, detail-oriented and analytical. They need to have an innate understanding of software (some of them even have development degrees) so that they know the ways in which a program is most likely to break. They also need to be able to express the likely causes of the issues they encounter. All of these require that a tester be a skilled individual.
Give Useful Feedback
Just as you need detailed feedback from your testers, they need detailed feedback from you. It’s often not enough to tell them you need “more information” without telling them exactly what information you require. Developers are far more knowledgeable about their own solutions than the user, and shouldn’t assume that even a tester will immediately be able to intuit what they need from them.
Learn How to Communicate Effectively
With all of the above, it may seem as though there can be some significant animosity between developers and testers; and that’s often true. Testing is a frustrating process, with one party essentially “causing” problems that the other party has to fix. But neither party actually dislikes each other, it is only natural that tempers can run high. Both developers and testers need to be able to communicate effectively, clearly and professionally to avoid any unnecessary difficulties.
Though it may seem as though software testers and developers are operating at contrary goals, they actually have a single, all-important shared goal: the production of a good, high quality product. This single shared goal can provide enough of a mutual territory to make any superficial differences melt away.