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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How to Train Your Dev

Training your Dev is really about training yourself.  A more accurate (but much less catchy) title for this blog post would be “How to work and communicate effectively in order to facilitate a productive relationship with developers”.  
There are two steps to having a good working relationship with your dev: 1) developing good work habits, and 2) communicating clearly.  We’ll take a look at these two steps in detail.
Good Work Habits:
  • Make sure you have completely read a feature’s Acceptance Criteria and all available notes and documents.  This can help prevent unnecessary and time-consuming misunderstandings.
  • Ask questions if there is anything in the feature that you don’t understand.  Don’t make potentially incorrect assumptions.
  • Document your work.  This is especially helpful when you have found an issue and the developer needs to know what browser you were using or what server you are pointing to.
  • Check twice to make sure that you really have a bug.  Perhaps what you are seeing is a configuration problem, a connection problem, or simply user error.
Communicating Clearly:
  • Learn the preferred communication style of your dev and use it.  For example, some developers like to hear about issues immediately, and testing and bug fixing become a collaboration.  Other developers prefer to hear right away only if the issues are big ones, and would rather have you document the smaller issues for a later conversation.
  • Ask your dev to walk you through any confusing features.  He or she will be happy to explain things to you, because they know that any information they give you at the outset of testing will save misunderstandings later.
  • Be kind when reporting issues.  Your dev has worked hard on the feature he or she has delivered, and we all know it’s no fun to have our work criticized.
  • Give feedback in the form of a question.  This can soften the blow of finding a bug.  For example, “I noticed that when I clicked the Save button, I wasn’t taken to the next page.  Is this as designed?”
  • Let your dev know what he or she can do to help you do your job more efficiently.  A good example of this is asking them to not assign an issue to you until it is actually in the test environment, so you won’t inadvertently start testing it before the code is there.
A good working relationship with your dev is all about trust!  You trust that your dev has completed the work they’ve assigned to you, that they’ve done some of their own testing before the handoff, that the work is in the QA environment and ready for testing, and that your dev has let you know about any potential areas of regression to test.  
In turn, your developer trusts that you have tested everything in the Acceptance Criteria, that you’ve done regression testing, that you’ve tested with various security levels and on various browsers, that the issues you’ve found are legitimate, and that you will clearly communicate what you tested and what issues you found.  

Train yourself to work effectively and communicate clearly, and you will find this level of trust in your relationship with all the developers you work with!

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