Testers and developers

A tester wrote to me: “I have worked very hard to test everything but the software did not work as expected. I found out that developers have changed the design and the code without telling me so my test scripts did not work. This happens quite often in my company and most testers are frustrated. What can we do? Please advice.”

Answer: Software changes when developers change their code to meet customers' requirements changes. The problem is developers often do not communicate it to testers. When they give their code to testing group, they often do not think about how it will be tested, how much changes have taken place and explain them to testers. Although project managers do encourage communication between two groups but software works are often busy so developers and testers do not talk to each other often enough, especially if developers never work as testers before.

There is a wrong view that when a person is a developer, he will stay as developer and tester stays as tester without changing role. Some developers look down on testers and think that they are better. Allowing this type of attitude will destroy the project quickly. When I manage software projects, I always require all developers to take the same training that testers must take so they know what testers do. I also frequently assign and reassign team members into different roles so they learn the entire development process rather than just stay in one area. From experience, I know that developers who take training with testers or work as testers are much more careful and do not change without telling testers about what they do. If developers do not communicate very well with testers than I would reassign them to work as testers for few weeks so they understand the testing process, the impact of changes in testing environment, and the important of good communication. When developers know how they could make testers' job more difficult, they often change and entire project team is more harmonious.

When testers and developers are working as a team, the quality and productivity can improve significantly. I also recommend that project manager do NOT assign any roles permanently but frequently reassign people into different roles and responsibilities to have a project team that can do everything.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University