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Mathilde Lelong for Agilitest

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How Can Developers and Testers Work Better Together?

Developers and testers are on the same side – it does not matter if a company puts them in the same (agile) team or in separate teams of developers and testers. It is up to both testers and developers to build a great application. To achieve this goal, they will have to collaborate together in a productive way. To do so and to get their job done better, faster, and easier, there is different practical advice and hands-on advice that can help. I will start with tips and approaches that focus on individual cooperation between a developer and a tester. In the second half of this article, I’ll share advice that will help to improve cooperation on a team level.

Better cooperation on individual level

As a developer, I consider testers as my safety net. I would prefer a bug to be reported by a tester, rather than the end user finding a bug in production.

Generally speaking, people do not feel comfortable when someone criticizes their work. Developers should not think of testers as somebody who is constantly telling them that they did something wrong. Instead, developers should consider testers as partners who are trying to keep end users from criticizing their work. Testers at the same time should be aware that junior developers might feel uncomfortable when they receive a bug report. As they build up experience, developers won't, or at least shouldn't, get defensive when they receive bug reports.

I can tell from my experience, cooperation between a developer and a tester will be better if mutual respect is clearly visible.

Practical approaches to hard to reproduce bugs

Sometimes, a developer cannot reproduce a bug that a tester has reported. In my 17 years of professional experience as a developer, I found that there are a few tips and tricks that can help.

When a tester sends a screenshot to a developer, it is more effective to send a screenshot of the whole application — and not just a piece of the user interface. Sometimes, when a bug is on one part of the UI, I manage to find a clue for reproducing it on the other part of the UI. Simply by sending the screenshot of the complete tested application interface, a tester can facilitate the developer’s work to reproduce a bug.

But what if a screenshot is not enough to reproduce a bug? What if the additional information provided by a tester are not sufficient? Video is a great assistant. Use the screen recording app to record everything that goes on the application UI as part of the test. In my experience, a video is useful because a developer can find a (small) clue for reproducing a bug somewhere between steps that were already mentioned in the description of this bug. A small detail could trigger a bug, and a video helps a developer discover that detail.

Please note: It is not necessary for a tester to speak in his/her recording. Hearing the tester in video was never crucial for me to reproduce a bug. Many testers will feel more comfortable if they are not asked to record themselves commenting on the video.

Managing conflict

In case of a conflict between a tester and a developer, everyone involved must use effective communication, be diplomatic, and not take things personally. Both parts need to look at things from another person's perspective – this other person also has timelines, tasks, priorities, etc.

The aim is to prevent a conflict. In everyday life, there are times when a short message can prevent a misunderstanding and conflict that follows.

Always remember, that we are all on the same side as we build the same application.

Teamwork from scratch

Read full article on the blog. An article by Marko Lohert.

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Kostas Kalafatis

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