Sticky ToolLook Interview: Improving QA-Development Communication with Amit Chopra

[interview]

treat them as test holes and blame the QA team. Review and see if in fact the correct requirements were articulated or if the code was written and unit tested properly by the development team.

As a manager, identify if tools are causing communication issues or overhead. Are your developer and testers using different systems to track code changes or log defects? Do testers know when features are being completed, when bugs are being fixed? If not, it means they could be spending a lot of time and effort just trying to stay abreast of what is going on. This will clearly cause communication issues like the example I had mentioned earlier, where a developer checks in a code that a tester only finds weeks later, when either some of his tests break or a user complains. Ensuring that teams have the right tools should be high on the managers list as one of the foundations for building better communication and more productive teams.

If team members can physically be present at one location, that can also help open up communication, but where that is not feasible, doing frequent cross functional meetings to raise visibility of issues in a timely manner will also help.

Sticky ToolLook: When there has been a breakdown in communication, what first steps do you recommend for getting things back on track?

Amit Chopra: Focus on understanding the root cause of the issue. It will be critical to get the representatives from test and development teams in a room to raise the right issues and understand why communication is breaking down. You may identify one or many underlying causes. Some may be related to work styles, team culture, or organization structure, while others may be results of disparate tools used by these teams or just a lack of common understanding of the scenario. Each of these issues can be addressed as needed by putting the right team structure and processes in place or at least ensuring they have the right tools to help alleviate some of the communication challenges.

Break the artificial walls between your testers and developers and you should be off to a great start in shipping a high quality product to your customer.

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