Emphasizing communication and collaboration in your Quality Assurance teams

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While there is a lot of pressure on the quality assurance team's plate to mitigate defects using the test management platform, there are two other characteristics that these groups must adhere to: collaboration and communication. These two skills are becoming more essential for agile testing, meaning that QA professionals will be expected to facilitate them. QA teams were traditionally kept separate from other processes, making these new initiatives something that will take adjustment and emphasis from team leaders.

Soft skills are essential
Although technical knowledge makes up the majority of QA professionals' jobs, soft skills like collaboration and communication are becoming more imperative in the agile software testing enterprise. Personal Branding Blog noted that communication in particular is essential for 98 percent of employers. QA teams have to be able to convey a message in a way that the audience will understand. If there is a presentation about what defects were found, for example, technical jargon will likely confuse viewers. Instead, presenters must make an effort to understand who they're talking to and what type of information to provide.

Collaboration has been emphasized as a skill that helps people build strong relationships and understand others better. QA testers are not only being asked to collaborate with other team members, but app developers and other stakeholders as well. The ability to do so will be a major factor in the quality of projects and how the apps innovate work processes.

Consider how to disseminate information
Communication can often be a challenge due to conflicting schedules and other roadblocks. For this reason, it's important for QA teams to decide the best way to give information to stakeholders. Research has found that face-to-face communication strategies are the most effective both within the quality assurance team and with stakeholders, according to Agile Modeling. This is in direct contrast to detailed documentation and email, which were the least effective initiatives.

Some of the major factors that can affect these statistics are physical and temporal proximity as well as amicability. Taking these into consideration, it's easy to see why in-person conversations often give the best results. It allows information to be provided quickly in response to any questions and for a stronger relationship to be fostered between both parties.

Foster better resource allocation
One advantage of agile is that it allows developers to make adjustments at any time. This ensures that the end result meets expectations without needing wholesale changes in the development process. As Black Pepper Software noted, continuous collaboration with clients can also ease budgeting strains by discussing the plan throughout. This helps highlight costs and delivery milestones that give stakeholders a better view of project progress, while still being enabled to offer feedback.

With waterfall methods, the cost and timeframe were traditionally defined at the outset - but agile development process gives everyone more flexibility to play with resources as needed, as long as they communicate. By collaborating, clients will get a fully functional program that meets their specifications, on a reasonable budget.

"The continuous communication which differentiates agile approaches enables customers to change requirements and continue receiving fully functional software at every iteration," Black Pepper Software stated. "The end result is a true representation of the customer's need and does not require them to have a system that already needs updating."

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