Thursday, August 19, 2010

Relationships Matter - Tester and Programmer

This post is close to my heart. I dedicate this post to all the programmers I have interacted with. My official testing career is just over four years old. In these four years, I'm very lucky to work on multiple products and interact with many programmers. Initially, I was worried that I never worked on any product for a full release cycle. After few months I realized that this continuous swapping between products meant increased interaction with different sets of programmers.

First product:
The programmer was my friend. Both of us joined the company on the same date. I always got the news about the changes in the build, which feature would be implemented, confidence level of the programming team and many more *secrets* before they were officially announced later. He used to tell me the bugs in others' code and I used to help him by testing his fix before it went into the build. Both were happy with this *adjustment* until the project was scrapped.

Second product:
I was the only tester in this project and there were four programmers. By this time, I knew that programmers are a good source of information. I also realized that they are ready to talk about their work. They too feel proud on doing a good job. My interactions with this team was more informal. We had more Coffee day meetings than formal meetings. I gave them my test suite and highlighted the different scenarios. They taught me ways to analyze log files and answered all my questions about the product.

I worked on many more products and I'm very happy to say that my programmers like to work with me. I'll share some of the tips which might help improve your relationship with programmers:
* Remember that they are human beings first and then programmers. Give respect and take respect.
* Programmers do not code to introduce bugs. If you think programming is easy, exchange your job responsibility for few hours.
* As Michael Bolton and James Bach highlight, our job is not to prove them wrong or make fun of them. Help them understand that you are helping them and not finding faults.
* Give them the information which would help them solve issues easily and quickly. Improve your bug investigation skills.
* Appreciate in public when they fix a very difficult bug, on their good work. People like to be encouraged and appreciated.
* Be patient, listen more, complain less, help more, fight less, talk more, argue less, discuss more, work together towards one mission.

And don't forget: 'Relationships matter' :)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes relationships do matter. I wish we take the same learning to the context of great weekend tester vs. the poor weekday testers.

* Remember that they are your fellow testers first and then probably from a different school. Give respect and take respect. Sometimes they rock too. Maybe spare some appreciation to the fact that the industry moves ahead with the few lakhs + weekday testers and not just few hundred + weekend testers.

* As Tom Dick and Harry highlight, the objective is not to prove them wrong or make fun of them. Help them understand that there are newer approaches to testing. You might not change in entirety the way they work atleast you are helping them and not making fun of them.

* Give them the information which would help them develop skills and set of beliefs. Let them take a call.

* Appreciation will help win friends anywhere. Why only with developers ... why not with fellow testers? Should they be of the same school or what?

* Be patient, listen more, complain less, help more, fight less, talk more, argue less, discuss more, work together towards one mission.

Well nothing different to say here from what has already been said by you. Its probably time someone wrote a book on "How to win friends and influence fellow testers."

Anonymous said...

what is the similarities between tester and programmer?

Pooja P said...

Thanks for the message, I like this line most - "Be patient, listen more, complain less, help more, fight less, talk more, argue less, discuss more, work together towards one mission"