Many IT companies nowadays adopt agile or DevOps practice to deliver high quality software applications according to varying business requirements. But these practices require practitioners to unify their software development and testing activities. Hence, the programmers and testers have to work as a single team. Also, they must collaborate with each other throughout the software development lifecycle. The IT company also needs to explore ways to improve collaboration between programmers and testers.
7 Ways to Improve Collaboration between Programmers and Testers
1) Adopt Test-First Approach
Several studies have shown the developers can fix the bugs or defects found in software quickly if testing starts early in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). An organization can adopt test-first approach to start testing early in the SDLC. The test-first approach will require the programmers and testers to discuss the types of tests to be conducted. Also, the developers and testers will collaborate with each other to decide the tests that developers can perform as part of the development process and the elaborate testing to be performed by the testing professionals.
2) Make Programmers and Testers Work on the Same Machine
Often a programmer writes the application on a machine and the testers tests it on his own machine. The process prevents programmers and testers to collaborate efficiently. An organization can easily improve collaboration by making the developers and testers work on a single machine. The tester has to test the application on the developer’s machine as soon as the code is written. He can further share his feedback with the developer and get the defects repaired without waiting for the formal build.
3) Define the Tests to be Performed by Programmers and Testers
An enterprise can easily accelerate the software testing process by making programmers perform certain kinds of tests – unit testing, integration testing, smoke testing, regression testing and sanity testing. The programmers have to perform these tests as part of the development process and before handing over the build to testers. But the enterprise needs to convey the details of the tests performed by programmers to testers clearly. The testers can test the software effectively by understanding the tests already covered and to be covered.
4) Make the Tester Identify Complicated Code
The testers can evaluate individual functionality or modules of the software by performing unit defective. Many enterprises require programmers to perform unit testing. But the testers can also perform unit testing and involve programmers in the testing process. The programmers can guide the testers to focus on specific sections of the code. Also, they can consider making changes to the code based on the unit testing results shared by the testers to enhance software quality.
5) Promote Cross-Training
Most programmers are not familiar with software testing techniques and best practices. Likewise, most testers also do not understand how to write and compile code efficiently. An enterprise can easily improve collaboration between the programmers and testers by making them learn from each other. The cross-training will make it easier for programmers to learn how to design and execute test cases efficiently. Likewise, the testers can evaluate the software more effectively when they understand its source code. Hence, cross-training will enhance collaboration between developers and testing professionals, in addition to enhancing the testing process.
6) Focus on Repairing Critical Defects
No testers can identify all defects in the software. They must accept the fact that certain defects will be detected by end users. Also, they can easily get the escaped defects repaired in the next release of the software. At the same time, the programmers also need to accept that no software can be released by zero defects. Hence, they must not confront or blame testers about the escaped defects. The testers and programmers must work together to get the escaped defects repaired as early as possible. Also, they can analyze the escaped defects to make the testing process more effective in future.
7) Develop a Collaborative Work Culture
While unifying software development and testing activities, an organization must focus on creating a collaborative work culture. The collaborative work culture will enable the programmers and testers to communicate with each other through informal channels. The professionals can further share their ideas and thoughts relating to software quality improvement. Also, it will make the developers and QA testing professionals work together on important activities like customer research, unit test designing, and user story development. However, the enterprise also needs to make both developers and testing professionals responsible for the quality of the software.
On the whole, each organization must explore ways to improve communication and collaboration between developers and testers while adopting agile or DevOps practice. It also needs to make the developers and testers work together by creating a collaborative work culture. At the same time, the business also needs to create an open environment where programmers and testers communicate with each other through both formal and informal channels.