How To Build Strong Relationships With Your Developers

Madigan Johnson

The relationship between software developers and testers can be tense at times. Developers pushing back at testers for always sending back tickets and testers getting frustrated to keep getting tickets that still don’t work. It can be a difficult relationship, but one that is necessary for solid product creation. Building a formidable relationship with the developers allows for new opportunities and collaborations that might not exist otherwise. Here are some of the key takeaways to create strong relationships with the development team. 

Build Trust

Building relationships is always created using trust as the building block with that other human or team. It is difficult to say that there is a one-stop solution for building trust as it changes, dependent on the person or team. Complications in the tester-developer relationship can also arise when a client brings in both teams from outside sources which can cause friction and competition. 

Some general practices for this trust-building process are being consistent, investing time and energy into creating a welcoming environment, and sharing pertinent information. Communication and feedback are also needed. Trust is not granted on the first day, it has to be earned. The development teams need to be able to trust that the testing work is solid and that the testers are finding the issues upstream which will ultimately lessen the developer’s workload. By the testers showing strong work ethic and technical capabilities, the development team will begin to show trust in them. 

Clarity in Communication

Building the trust process means having clarity in all communications with the developers. Be as explicit as possible in the reporting, use various forms of evidence (videos and photos go a long way), and write incredibly detailed steps to recreate so the development team does not have to put any work into figuring out the report. Everything should be able to be integrated into their channels of communication to streamline the process. 

"So much time can be wasted on both ends from bad communication, leading to inefficient work and unhappy staff. This is easily solved via clear communication." - Cody Sprattmoran, COO

Clarity and thorough documentation in the tickets help both parties to figure out what the issue is if there is pushback from one of the teams. A note for testers, it is important not to criticize the developers’ work, a lot is going on in the development stages. Instead of saying what can be improved, try offering suggestions. Communication is an effective building block of trust and people are more likely to accept suggestions than being told what to do. Being efficient communicators means less work for both parties and more productivity. 

Consistent Collaboration

Collaboration is a requirement in building healthy relationships between the two teams, but it has to come from both sides. The overarching goals need to be compatible and the testing and development team need to be working together to attain them. Collaboration can be produced by sharing knowledge freely between the teams, achieving a consensus about what the particular goals of the product, and identifying potential blockers or problems. Through this consistent process of collaboration, participation, and communication of ideas, a successful relationship will be born.

Give Positive Feedback

As humans, positive feedback is one of the most beneficial rewards for something accomplished. There have been studies that have shown that giving positive feedback is more effective than focusing on weaknesses or failures. It can be easy to take for granted the work that people do, but calling out their work can make them feel more engaged and productive. With specifics to giving positive feedback to development team members, call out the great new features that they have created. Check in on them or send them gifts when they have had a rough week or a great product launch. Appreciate the work that they do and in return, they will appreciate the testing work that is being done. 

Closing Thoughts...

Forming strong bonds and relationships with the members of the software development team will help both parties achieve their goals in a quicker time frame. Trust and communication go a long way and these foundations will set up streamlined processes that lead to beneficial projects for all.

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