Great testers are hard to find, so if you work with some, you want to keep them! As with any long-lasting relationship, sustaining it requires continuous effort, but it's very rewarding. Here’s how coworkers, clients, and managers can show testers some love this Valentine’s Day—and maybe be loved in return, too.
Great testers are almost as hard to find as a candy conversation heart that isn’t silly. If you’ve got the opportunity to work with some, you want to keep them happy and retain their talents. Fortunately, it doesn’t take too much to keep a tester fulfilled (and their eyes from wandering to other jobs).
In my experience, all they want is to belong to a team that makes them feel loved, included, and important. But, as with any long-lasting relationship, sustaining it requires continuous effort. Here’s how coworkers, clients, and managers can show testers some love this Valentine’s Day—and maybe be loved in return, too.
Getting a Tester to Warm Up to You
Like going on a first date, starting a new job can be nerve-racking. Make the tester feel comfortable when starting out so he doesn’t skip out before you even ask for the check.
The first step is treating the tester as an essential part of the team. Often, developers see testers as their adversaries because testers tend to have the opposite mindset. Testers have to figure out how to make the software fail, while developers have to find a way to make it work. Testers assume a skeptical viewpoint while developers are optimistic about their work.
But this doesn’t mean the two can’t get along—many times, opposites attract! Instead of enemies, developers should see testers as a complement to their work because their opposing mindset provides the balance needed for a project to succeed. Therefore, when testers find bugs, developers shouldn’t take it personally; both sides are working toward the same goal of making quality software.
As a valued teammate, it’s important to remember that the tester deserves to be treated as an equal by the developers. Testers and programmers with the same level of experience in their roles should be paid equally and treated with the same amount of respect. Additionally, don’t assume that testers are all trying to become developers; testers just want to test, and they enjoy their unique, skilled discipline.
Falling in Love
Now that the tester is feeling cozy around you, there are ways you can make his life easier.
For starters, involve the tester early on in the development process. Not only does delaying testing provide headaches for everyone, but the tester will become stressed when you give him something right before you need to release it. With less time, the tester won’t be able to do his best work, leading him to become dissatisfied professionally.
Test planning needs to include not just testing, but also time to write the bugs up, verify the fixes, and explore for other problems. Change the conversation from “What would it take for you to test this?” to “What could you do in a day? In two? Three? What important tests could be missed if we had less time?”
If possible, implement acceptance testing: before writing any code, design the test you will use for it. The earlier you let the tester start testing, the faster he can detect bugs and the easier it will be to eliminate them. The tester will also have more time to learn about the system and its intended use—not to mention, he will feel more valued as an integral part of the team right away.