The Art of Communication: An important soft-skill in Software testing

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The Art of Communication: An important soft-skill in Software testing

It is no longer news that as a Software Tester, effective communication is crucial to your success on the job. Being a Software tester means you have to relate with the project stakeholders which include developers, Business Analysts, Program/Product Managers, even the Sponsor users at times.

Now you might pose that you have been communicating with these stakeholders, so what’s the deal. The question is have you been communicating effectively? Effective communication has its dynamics.

In this article, we will highlight practical ways that will help us as Software Testers communicate effectively in our workplaces and also showcase how other experienced Software testers have been doing theirs.

What do we mean by effective Communication?

Effective communication is conveying a message to another person through a mutually understandable medium. Communication is a two-way trip, involving listening and passing a message.

It is also a means of exchange in which the currency is information.

For there to be effective communication, there has to be a listener and an understander. Communication is incomplete if the message being passed is not understandable.

As a Software QA engineer, communication is an inevitable soft skill that must be adopted, owned and imbibed. You must make conscious effort to improve your communication amongst the development team by leveraging on proper testing practices, process improvement, and team collaboration tools, amongst others.

It must be owned in the sense that a software tester must first understand whats to be communicated so that he/she can further say “I said what I said”

It must be imbibed in the sense that as you continue to make further effort to improve your communication skills, you get better at it, you possess it and so it becomes a part of you.

Communication can be in various forms, however, we will examine two forms relevant to software testing

Written form: Whether its a bug report, raising a bug ticket, sending emails or creating a test document. A software tester must write documents that are comprehensible, simple and exhaustive (when the need arises).

Verbal form: A software QA must be able to communicate in a proper manner, imbibing the language that is adopted in the work environment, the language that is most understandable to the communicant(s).

The underlying technique of a good QA tester is effective communication, if you find the best bug or the one bug that would save a life and you cannot communicate the bug effectively, you have not done well. Effective communication tightens co-operation and teamwork among co-workers, development team and the business.

A good tester is also a good listener. Your ability to listen will help you understand the plight of your teammates, provide solutions and earn their trust.

Also in software testing, communication has to be consistent. If there’s a need to verbally inform the development team of a bug ticket after it’s been raised, then go ahead.

You cannot over-communicate. Ensure your message is understood, be subtle yet instructive. Be explanatory and understandable. Ultimately be a good listener

Software testing is a whole trip to wonderland with your team, without good communication the journey is boring.