Sunday, March 13, 2011

Importance of Communication in Testing or How to Communicate Your Ideas

This week I attended a CzechTest conference and it was a wonderful experience, as there were many foreign experts that had 10 to 20 years experience in Software Testing. We have a serious lack of those people in Czech Republic, don't we? But I was most impressed by Lloyd Roden, consultant from United Kingdom, who has been also speaker at conferences such as STARWest, STAREast, AsiaSTAR and EuroSTAR.

What was so different about this man was not his ideas or content of his presentation because I have met many intelligent and experienced people like him, but his communication and presentation skills. After his presentation you not only think about the topic, but you also feel energized and want to transform these ideas into your everyday life. And that is probably one of things that make him such a good Test Manager, because in testing (especially test management) it is all about communication.

Rik Marselis, one of other speakers at this conference asked us if we think testing is technical discipline or people discipline. I think it is both.

There are a lot of good testers who understands more computers than people and that is fine as long as they are teamed with testers who are good in communicating with and understanding to stakeholders.
Communication is the most important skill to all managers and people who wants to be heard. And I have not met a tester yet who does not want to be heard and promote good quality in his organization.

Tester is a programer’s best friend.

I teach my students that tester is the programmer’s best friend.
But how could someone who is constantly finding faults in the men work be his best friend?
Only by being tactful, helpful and by providing good information that this man needs.
But hey! That is exactly what it means to be a good tester. Tester provides information? Isn’t this great?

Programmer is just one other person we are helping by providing necessary information. If we care for programmers and help them find and fix the problem quickly by providing relevant information, we really are their good friends.

The same goes for other stakeholders as well: managers, users, business analytics, and so on.

Tester provides information. Good tester provides the right information.

This is the skill we need to hone: how to provide the right information and how to communicate it properly.
And if you want to go now and improve your skills, here is some tips how to start.


Testing survey

During the last year I was very busy with teaching in University of Economics in Prague (I am teaching graduate student there) and working as test analyst, test methodic or test coordinator. But it was a fruitful time as I am happy to present the results of a testing and quality management survey which I spent several month of gathering data for.

Original study and results are published at, but only in Czech language. But you can see Google automatic translation of this page here.

More than 300 Czech IT companies were asked to fill out this questionnaire and in the end we got 84 answering sheets. The results show average knowledge among software testers working in Czech Republic. If you speak with more experienced testers or testers who actively seek knowledge, you will see their opinions and answers would be much different. I present these results as it is without any interpretation or analysis as I will present processed results in journals or at conferences.

It would be good to compare the results to diffrent country. So if you have an opportunity to do this survey in your country, please, DO IT.  Do it and send me the results.

 If you have any questions please do not hasitate and email me.