Methods to Improve Software Testing Communication Skills
Are you spending a lot of time in meetings, providing others information or gathering the software testing status updates?
If yes, then it is time to consider your testing communication skills. If your team receives tons of mails and has to call a meeting every now and then to clarify details, then you may be wasting your precious time and money.
There are various technical skills that your software testers and QA team should possess, but one thing that they must have is to be well versed to succeed in this field.
Since testers do not work in isolation, spending their time only over codes and identifying defects and errors, effective communication is a must to avoid running into issues that crop up due to vague guidance or direction.
It is only by establishing a clear communication channel with everyone that includes developers, clients and other teams, that they can be sure that their efforts are able to meet exact test requirements and performance needs.
But how can your software testing team enhance their communication skills? Here, I have listed some tips that might be of your help.
Offer more context:
Increasing the amount of context that you deliver will surely help. Whether you speak or write something, you need to offer more context in various forms like supporting visuals, relevant history, important details, the purpose of the meeting, any screen captures, reports, or some other details.
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Research has stated that only 7% information is communicated from what we actually say in words. The rest 93% is communicated through how the words are said for example tone of voice, non-verbal cues, feedbacks and etc. Ineffective communication often results in more meetings, emails and calls, but proper context helps to reduce them effectively.
Adopt a cross functional team culture:
If you are the manager of your software testing team, then you need to encourage your testers to do something beyond simply testing so that they may know how to code or even gain some knowledge on how to gather the requirements or make some cosmetic changes needed while working with the developers.
The ability to speak the language of the developers and vice versa often makes it comfortable for both the teams to communicate easily.
Standardize note taking:
Some people are experts in note taking during software testing, but most people are very bad at it. The main point is that you cannot count on a team where they try to store the notes in written form or try to retain the points discussed, in their memory. You have to create a specific standard to take down the notes so as to capture the maximum details shared during the communication.
The process should also include storing them in a centralized location so that anyone can access whenever needed irrespective of their location.
Invest more in presentation skills:
Besides good writing and speaking skills, it is also important to invest in some good presentation skills so that you can present your ideas effectively. By presenting your ideas and your findings in a clear and logical way, you can add more value to the discussions and meetings that you have with your programmers or decision makers. Always be open to disagreements and share your concerns or thoughts openly.
Empower your subordinates:
Managers should always avoid commanding the junior staffs. This often leads to poor communication as the team members are not comfortable and cannot work freely.
What matters is to find the purpose of the work and help the subordinates gather more information related to the products or services. As a manager, it is your responsibility to empower your staff members so that they can take some decisions on their own. This will also encourage an open communication culture even with members outside your team.
Good communication during software testing often helps a project to progress faster and get everyone work towards a common goal and also deliver high quality of work.