The developer-tester face-off needs to end. It’s putting our projects at risk.

0
1854
6 min read

Penny and Leonard work at the same company as a tester and developer respectively. Penny arrives home late, to find Leonard on the couch with his legs up on the table, playing his favourite video game.

Leonard: Oh hi sweety, it looks like you had a long day at work.

Penny, throwing him a hostile, sideways glance, heads over to the refrigerator.

Penny: Did you remember to take out the garbage?


Leonard: Of course, sweety. I used 2 bags so Sheldon’s Szechuan sauce from Szechuan Palace doesn’t seep through.

Penny: Did you buy new shampoo for the bathroom?

Leonard: Yes, I picked up your regular one from the store on the way back.

Penny: And did you slap on a last minute field on the SPA at work?

Leonard, pausing his video game and answering in a soft, high pitched voice: Whaaaaaat?

Gif image

Source: giphy

If you’re a developer or a tester, you’ve probably been in this situation at least once, if not more. Even if your husband or wife might not be on the other side of the source code.

The war goes on…

The funny thing is that this isn’t something that’s happened in the recent past. The war between Developers and Testers is a long standing, unresolved battle, that is usually brought up in bouts of unnecessary humor. The truth is that this battle is the cause of several projects slipping deadlines, teams not respecting each other’s views, etc. Here we’ll discuss some of the main reasons for this disconnect and try and address them in hope of making the office a better place.

#1 You talkin’ to me?

gif image

One of the main reasons that developers and testers are not on the same page is because neither bother to communicate effectively with the other. Each individual considers informing the other about the strategy/techniques used, a waste of effort. Obviously there are bound to be issues arising with such a disjointed team.

The only way to resolve this problem is to toss egos out of the window, sit down and resolve problems like professionals. While tickets might be the most professional and efficient way to resolve things, walking up to the person (if possible), and discussing the best way forward lets you build a relationship, and resolve things more effectively. Moreover, the person on the receiving end will not consider the move offensive, or demeaning.

#2 Is it ‘team’ or ‘teams’?

You know the answer to this one, but you’re still not willing to accept it. IT managers and team leads need to create an environment in which developers and testers are not two separate teams. Rather, consider them all as engineers working in the same team, towards the same goal! There’s no better recipe to meet success. Use modern methods like Mob or Pair Programming, where both developers and testers work together closely. The ideal scenario would be to possibly have both team members work on the same machine, addressing and strategising to achieve the goal with continuous, real-time feedback.

pairing of testing

A good pairing station, Source: ministry of testing

#3 On the same page? Which book you got there?

If you’re a developer, this one’s especially for you, so listen carefully! Most developers aren’t aware of what tools the testers in their teams use, which is a sin. Being aware of testing tools, methodologies and processes, goes a long way in enabling a smooth and speedy testing process. A developer will be able to understand which parts of their code can probably be a tester’s target, what changes would give testers a tough time and on the other hand, what makes it easy.

#4 One goal, two paths to achieve it

Well, this is true a lot of times. Developers aim to “build” an application. Testers on the other hand aim to “break” the application. Now while this is not wrong, it’s the vision with which the tester is actually planning on breaking things. Testers, you should always keep the customer’s or end user’s requirements clear, while approaching the application.

I may not be an actual tester, and you might wonder how I can empathise with other testers. Honestly, I don’t build software, neither do I test any. But I’ve been in a very similar role, earlier on in my Publishing career. As a Commissioning Gatekeeper, I was responsible for validating book and video ideas from the Commissioning Editors. Like a tester, my job was to identify why or how something wouldn’t work in the market. Now, I could easily approach a particular book idea from the perspective of ‘trashing’ it. But when I learned to approach it from the customer’s point of view, my perspective changed, and I was able to give better constructive feedback to the editor.

Don’t aim to destroy, aim to improve. If you must kill off an idea or a feature, do it firmly but with kindness.

#5 Trust the Developer’s testing skills

Yes! Lack of trust is one of the main reasons why there’s so much friction between developers and testers. A tester needs to understand the developer and believe that they can also write tests with a clear goal in mind.

Test Driven Development is a great approach to follow. Here, the developer will know better, what angles to test from, and this can help the tester write a mutually defined test case for the developer to run. At the same time, the tester can also provide insight into how to address bugs that might creep up while running the tests. With this combined knowledge, the developers will be able to minimize the number of bugs at the first go itself!

Toss in a Business-Driven Development approach, and you’ve got yourself a team that delivers user stories that are more aligned to the business requirement than ever before!

In the end, developers and testers, both need to set their egos aside and make peace with each other. If you really look at it, it’s not that hard at all. It’s all about how the two collaborate to create better software, rather than working in silos. IT managers can play an important role here, and they need to understand the advantages and limitations of their team. They need to ensure the unity of the team by encouraging more engaging ways of working as well as introducing modern methodologies that would assist a peaceful, collaborative effort.

Read Next

Why does more than half the IT industry suffer from Burnout?

Abandoning Agile

Unit testing with Java frameworks: JUnit and TestNG [Tutorial]

I'm a technology enthusiast who designs and creates learning content for IT professionals, in my role as a Category Manager at Packt. I also blog about what's trending in technology and IT. I'm a foodie, an adventure freak, a beard grower and a doggie lover.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here