Communication: a simple but powerful tool that contributes to a successful outcome of projects. It’s one of the core mobile testing best practices. It’s the best way to ensure collaboration and cooperation between teams and team members. Tips and tricks below!
It is very likely that it is not just your team working on a feature, but rather different teams are working on different tasks of the same project. To keep a project to proceed smoothly and avoid misunderstandings, you will need: clear communication, progress meetings or a central task board and a documentation for finished tasks, features or fixed bugs and issues.
Here are a few tips to help you keep the communication clear:
Always start a conversation if you have a purpose and it is relevant to the task your team is working on.
Use the right channel: quick talks should be held face-to-face, while important information should be sent via email.
Keep your messages as simple as possible and leave room for people to discuss ideas. Listening is sometimes the best way to understand co-workers needs.
There are so many communication tools today, that it is not easy to find the perfect one. When doing a big mobile project, there are many teams working on one thing. Information, especially between QA and dev teams, need to be passed on as clearly and straightforward as possible.
It is not mandatory to keep one tool forever – every project is different and has its priorities. So choose the tool which suits best your teams and project requirements. Don’t adapt the tools you are already using at all costs, because it might damage the project outcome.
Some tools we find very useful at TestObject are:
Jira: to track bugs. It’s not real communication tool, but it helps to show other team members what we were working on.
Slack: this is a useful tool to talk to people directly. For group conversations you can have different channels based on topic; always have an overview what other teammates need help with or what they achieved.
Asana is another great tool to track projects and their progress. It helps to gain a clear overview of what needs to be done, the progress and who is working on what.
Trello: is similar to Asana for tracking project. It has a very simple board design, where you can create tasks and move them around to different stages of the project status.
Trusting and respecting your team members is always very important, it’s the base to have a strong team that works well together.
When developing mobile apps, coding, testing and deploying needs to be done faster to retain users. There is no time to repeat a test, you have to trust your colleagues.
Also working together to find a solution, discussing possibilities and ideas will improve the overall communication between the team members. The attitude inside the team should be centered on how do we fix it instead of who is to blame.
Kick-off meetings have a big impact on a project outcome. It is important to communicate clearly what the project is about, telling each team and team member what their roles will be and what goals are to be reached. A good structured clear strategy, explained well can avoid misunderstanding. Putting together a clear agenda for the kick-off meeting including Q&A time at the end can determine the success or the failure of a project.
Clear priorities and goals will help mobile testers and developers to coordinate and elaborate a successful strategy to ensure a faster time-to-market.
Clear expectations are also a great help for team members – if people know what is expected of them, they will try to focus on tasks meeting those expectations.
Documentation is very important overall, but for a mobile tester, documentation is crucial. Documenting what are you doing for the sake of the project or for later consultancy, will save you, and other people, a lot of time.
E.g. If a bug pops up and you think you have seen it before, you can go through the documentation and check if you already know how to fix it.
A good practice: create a clear testing strategy and remember to add comprehensive notes while running the tests. Like so, you will have created documentation without much effort.
You can find here a cheat-sheet to get started.
Organizing status update meetings with various frequencies based on project can benefit the teams to gain an overview of what other teams/team members have done. A suggestion could be to have a weekly meeting between all the teams that are working on a project to check project’s progress. Individual teams could have a meeting at the beginning of the week to outline priorities and one around the end of the week to talk about the progress. It is important to have an agenda and strictly stick to it so the meeting is productive and useful. The project manager should also be very clear about the purpose of these meetings, allowing the team members can show up prepared. Tips and best approaches to conduct successful status meetings can be found here.
Make yourself available to talk to developers about the bugs/issues you have found. There is no better way to ensure a faster fixing than to talk directly with a developer face-to-face, explaining exactly what test you were running and how, when the bug/issue popped up. Sometimes the simple things are the most effective ones, so don’t forget to document everything you do.
Communication is maybe the most important best practice in mobile testing even if it still listed as “soft skills” in job ads. How a mobile tester explains why a test failed or what issue he encountered while running a test to a developer is even more important than the outcome of the test itself.