The following article is a guest post to Zephyr from Chelsey Lang, Clearvision. Clearvision is a partner of Zephyr that helps software teams and IT programs implement tools and processes that bring high quality software to the market.
It’s easy to talk about collaboration. It’s something the Clearvision team spends a lot of time thinking about - improving collaboration both internally and externally. It’s one of the key principles of agile working, and there are countless tools out there all designed to facilitate collaboration.
Just take a quick glance at the Atlassian Marketplace as an example, and you’ll see thousands of add-ons to increase the functionality of collaborative tools like JIRA and Confluence even further. It’s not always so easy to put collaboration into action. Teams can encounter various challenges, and it can sometimes be difficult to know where to begin.
We suggest looking to your QA process as the ideal starting point.
One of the biggest challenges business face when it comes to collaboration is disparate, siloed teams. It’s not just a problem for enterprise organisations anymore - think of the remote working opportunities available today. Even small teams can be split across different timezones and locations around the world.
Your development team and testers might sit next to each other - they might be on different continents. Either way, if they’re not working together, you’re likely to run into trouble.
Really, all teams know the answer to this “why”. You need to be sure of the quality of your software. It’s vital to know that it’s not about to break at the first unusual use case; testers bring their specialist skills to this area.
What’s really most important here is that both developers and testers need to remember they’re working towards the same goal. There’s always a risk that, perhaps unconsciously, developers can begin to slightly resent testers. After all, they’re trying to break the code that a developer has worked so hard on!
But this is how silos build between teams, even if they’re physically close. Without that shared end agile goal of “quality software, satisfied customers” in mind, barriers begin to form, work slows down, and both teams suffer. The business will suffer, and so will your users.
What do silos lead to? Poor communication
We know that feedback is key in agile development. This is where testers excel, and remember - it’s always better to get negative feedback from your tester than your end user! Even when it’s not what you want to hear, value that feedback and learn from it.
Keeping your communication channels clear and open keeps developers and programmers on the same page. From JIRA Software for bug tracking to HipChat for instant messaging, issue integration and code updates (#ChatOps!), it’s important to use the right tools to facilitate communication and collaboration.
Both of the above challenges lead to poor visibility, which is a huge hinderance to collaborative, agile working.
A quick, simple way of seeing a coworker or team’s workload cuts out time consuming back-and-forths: with a glance you can see what they’re working on, and where in their list of priorities a task sits. It’s easy to identify any bottlenecks or blockers. It encourages accountability and means different teams are aware what others are working on, making it easier to keep the overarching business goals in mind.
And, of course, visibility of workflows is essential for effective bug tracking.
Transparency, visibility and communication are integral to collaboration.
- Improves efficiency and productivity
- Reduces time, costs and turnover
- Boosts employee engagement
- Promotes a unifying business goal
The goal should be to ensure all teams in your organisation are working transparently and collaboratively, but as we’ve outlined here, the nature of the QA process makes it the ideal starting point.
The Clearvision team has worked with organisations across the globe. Our Atlassian consultants have helped companies of all sizes embrace agile, transparent, collaborative working, from implementing and configuring the right tools to customising specific workflows and processes, and we’ve seen it time and time again. Once your other teams see the results coming from the QA team, the whole culture of the business will shift in the right direction!
Author Chelsey Lang: Chelsey is a Marketing and Social Media Executive for Clearvision; a partner of Zephyr. She writes about agile methodologies, software development, and collaboration and culture in the tech industry. Chelsey is passionate about literature, the intersection of fashion and tech, and the Oxford comma. Thankfully, Chelsey writes better blog posts than she does bios.You can read more of her writings https https://www.clearvision-cm.com/author/clang/.