Old school testers can testify how the adoption of Agile and DevOps philosophies have completely redefined software testing and development practices. In the Waterfall approach, working sequentially in silos did not require testers and developers to be on the same platform to interact or collaborate. The overall process was slow, and gradual up-skilling was a normal scenario.
Nevertheless, emerging innovative technologies have completely changed the market scenario, and have altered the business landscape, making it imperative for businesses to remain ahead of the game. Lean principles of delivering the product faster by managing workflows and deferring commitment by implementing JIT systems have found their way into the software testing and development processes. These principles are being applied in different forms e.g., iterative approaches to development, shorter feedback loops, and disciplined project management processes.
With such unprecedented shifts, testers are required to refine and upgrade their testing skills frequently, and developers need to continuously pace up with the latest programming languages and codes. Moreover, as both testing and development processes now take place simultaneously, the boundaries between testers and developers are blurring, demanding both testers and developers to understand each other’s tasks. However, a tester’s mindset is still more inclined toward utilizing testing resources rather than developing a larger perspective in terms of the overall product delivery goals and timelines. Similarly, developers do not want to get associated with the testers’ domain in any way, and hence, the divide. This adversarial attitude leads to delayed delivery, poor quality software, and failed projects. This calls for effective collaboration approaches that can establish healthy relationships among both to attain a synergy.
Collaboration among testers and developers requires the adoption of new practices, experiments, and persistence. Let us find out some ways to achieve this:
1. Cross Train Developers & Testers – Conducting short duration cross training can be helpful. This can be a great way to promote teamwork as developers can train testers in understanding some code basics, while testers can train developers to learn more about the test suite and strategies. Equipped with basic programming skills, testers will be able to better communicate their findings to the developers and can fix minor bugs themselves. Similarly, developers with better know how of the software testing process will be able to write better code for the product, and can perform some basic tests themselves sharing the testers load.
2. Introduce a Tester-Programmer Pairing Workstyle – Tester-developer pairing can help build trust and understanding, leading to productive conversations. Regular discussions on testing frameworks and techniques, brainstorming ideas and offering timely feedback to each other can have a positive impact on prevention of bugs that may get missed only to show up on the day of release or later in production. This pairing can have some long-term benefits too, as developers are more likely to start using the testing checklist and do some manual exploratory testing even when they are pairing with other coders. Similarly, testers will get more time for exploratory testing at the feature level making the team more confident about the product, and at the same time helping testers to interact with developers in a better way.
3. Offer a Collaborative Informal Environment – The organization should explore ways to improve communication and collaboration between testers and developers through both formal and informal channels. In many companies, programmers are valued more than testers, but with the current technological innovations, things are changing. Software testing has created a unique place of its own in the software industry. Hence, companies must develop a culture where both QA and developers are made to work together as part of a single team that is collectively responsible for the project success, thus encouraging teamwork and mutual respect.
4. Showcase the Bigger Picture to Both – Both developers and testers, along with other stakeholders, should be collectively involved in the process of determining business objectives and understanding what is most important for the customers or end users of the app. This helps developers and testers to work together to focus on finding right solutions for the most critical issues in the product and to assess and prioritize bugs. This helps in building a rapport as both understand that they are working towards a shared goal.
5. Embrace BDD and TDD – BDD (Business Driven Development) leans heavily on identifying and describing behaviors that contribute directly to the business outcomes. These descriptions are directly accessible to developers, domain experts, and testers. The features and requirements are then written collaboratively by business analysts, quality analysts, and developers, giving way to teamwork.
BDD, when applied with Test Driven Development (TDD) and Unit testing methods allows developers to deliver user stories that are in perfect sync with the business requirements. This helps testers and developers to coordinate and collaborate to achieve the right outcome.Developers know what needs to be coded and what needs to excluded/included in the code, preventing defect leakages to pass on in the later phases. This focus on superior quality from the beginning complements the shift left approach.
6. Adopt Shift-left Approach – Shift Left approach can help testers and developers to stay in constant touch from the beginning, to discuss what to test, what is the expected outcome and how to make each aspect of the app better. The focus is on moving testing (especially integration testing) as early as possible during development. Both testers and developers can jointly decide the tests that developers can perform as part of the development process and those that can be left entirely to the testing professionals.
In a nutshell, a collaboration between testers and developers has become critical, and hence, instead of ignoring the divide between the two, it’s better to adopt ways to bring them together and make them work towards a shared goal. The dynamic business environment and disruptive technological innovations call for superior software testing and development teams that can work together to deliver quality products in a shorter time span. This has become all the more important in the current context with IoT becoming a reality. So, happy teamwork!!
At Astegic, our testing team continuously coordinates and collaborates with your development team to achieve superior outcomes. Astegic’s software testing services and automation QA-best practices have been consistently delivering measurable improvements in software quality with reduced time-to-market, lower costs, and higher efficiency in IT operational processes.