Before reading, be sure to also check out the first part of this article which details common perceptions of and questions testers have about developers.
So we’ve examined some of the questions testers have about developers — for instance, ‘Why do they look at us as the competition?’ As testers, then, how do we begin to change how developers view us? There are a few things that we can do to help change the dynamic between ourselves and development teams for the better.
Use a positive tone of voice
The way you word your bug reports is very important, not just from an informational standpoint, but also because it will directly affect how a developer receives the information you’ve provided. With a positive tone and general terms, your bug report will come across as informational and helpful.
Avoid including your personal opinion
This is also a good general rule of QA/testing, but it’s definitely worth repeating here. It’s okay to disagree with how a feature or app works, but we should not always express our opinion on the matter. Our job as testers is to be objective and unbiased. Additionally, it is extremely hard to convey emotion and intent in a written bug report, so while you might be expressing a benign opinion, it might be interpreted as hostile or accusatory.
Don’t get too emotionally attached
I know it can hurt when we find a bug that we feel strongly about, and it ends up getting rejected or isn’t paid the attention we feel is due. However, the more emotionally attached to a bug we get, the more likely we are to react in ways that aren’t beneficial to the project or to the teams we’re working with. If we allow our emotions to get the better of us, developers are more apt to follow suit and get emotional in return. Keeping a cool head and an objective view of our work will help us work more efficiently, and will make us be seen more as a complement to the development team rather than a hindrance.
Supply too much information in your bug reports
This last one is a bit of a lie. There is no such thing as too much information in a bug report. One of the biggest complaints I hear from developers about testers and their reports is that they aren’t informative enough. Yes, testers should make sure to stay on track and keep all information relative to the bug they are reporting, but always remember that the developers need this information to fix the bug. If we supply too little information, then it’s going to take them a whole lot longer to actually find and fix it, which makes them view the report as unhelpful, and might cause them to think the same of QA in general. Provide any bit of information you think is important to the bug, and then provide more. Be descriptive, write a lot, give extremely detailed reproduction steps, provide screenshots and videos, and provide log files. Share whatever information you can, and I promise you that the developers will love you for it!
At the end of the day, developers and testers are all working for the same goals…we just do it in different ways. Keep in mind that the developer perspective is much different than our own and write bug reports accordingly. Be positive, informative, and willing to become an ally. I promise you that you’ll not only be a better tester for it, but you’ll be a lot happier, too!
Tammy Shipps has experience working with testers as a developer and marketing engineer at Applause. She also is an active uTest Community member and tester herself.