W5H3- Communicating Testing during Software Development

Communication is a learned skill and basic human need and right

Who

do I want to communicate with?

is gathering relevant data?

is my communication partner or audience?

 Project team

  Project / Scrum Manager

  Test Manager

  Devs, Testers, BAs, ...

 Peers

 Internal company

  Senior Management

   Don't talk about testing (Keith Klain)

  Other departments

   Development

   Test

   Sys admins

   Deployment

   HR

 External company

  Customers

  Contractors

 Decisionmakers on

  What, how, when,... communication takes place

 Invidividual

See Also: 1:1

 Groups of people

See Also: 1:n

What

do I want to communicate

 Product or Project specific

  Test Planning

   What

   When

   Approach

   Coverage

   ...

  Project Planning

  Test Reporting

   Information about the product

    Does it solve the customers problem?

    Is it what was promised to be delivered?

    Functionality

    Performance

    ...

   Observed behaviour

   Risks

   Test coverage

   Bug reports

   ...

  Change in functionality

  ...

 Service related

  Type of services offered

  Test team workload

 Process improvement

  Build acceptance / rejection criteria

  Test environment acceptance

  Communication plans

 Business domain knowledge

 Technical

 Role specific (i.e. test knowledge, dev knowledge, ....)

 Information have we been asked to provide?

 Information is given unasked?

 Company or HR related

Why

do I want to communicate in the first place?

do I think it's important to communicate?

 Information / Knowledge exchange

  One way

  Both / multiple ways

 Clarification

 Confirmation

 Request for help

 Curtesy

 Legal obligation

 Task assignment

 Training (for testers)

 Education (testers and non-testers)

 Aligned or cross-purpose

  Support vs resistance

 Express and impact emotions

 Change mood

 Power plays

 Fun

 Warning

When

do I want to communicate?

do I need to communicate?

is the information or data gathering process finished?

 Within agreed timeframe

 Ad-hoc

 Scheduled

 Frequency

 Prioritisation

  Christmas do venue vs "Our website is down"

 Legal obligation

  VW Testers...

 Moral obligation (whistleblower)

  VW Testers...

 Sequence of Information

Where

should communication ideally take place?

 Open plan office

 Private office

 Water cooler / Public space within the company building

 Meeting room

 Cafe / Bar

 In the car

 Outside

 From home

 Remotely

How much

do I want to communicate or share?

is necessary to be meaningful?

am I allowed to share?

 Tacit understanding per person

 High level or detailed

 Spread all knowledge

  Corporate culture

  Legal implications

  Protecting IP

 Availability of information

  Publicly

  Within the company / project

  Restricted Access

How many

people are communicating?

 1:1

See Also: Invidividual

  Informal meeting

  Coaching or mentoring session

 1:n

See Also: Groups of people

  Company meeting

  Press release

  Conference

 n:n

  Group meeting

How

do I want to communicate?

do I want to share information?

do I select a tool or model when communicating?

do I change my approach based on the feedback during communication?

 Formal / Informal

 Verbal

  The way the message is presented may be more important than the content

   Mood

    Relaxed

    Angry

    Emotional

    Emotionless

    Professional

    Fearful

    ...

   Language

    Compassionate

    Threatening

    ...

  Change approach depending on audience personality

   Introvert

   Extrovert

   Pushy

   Shy

   ...

 Non-verbal

  Body language

   Facial expression

   Eye contact (or lack)

   Posture

  Tone of voice

  Sign language

  Dress

  Spatial distance

  Cultural environment

 Written

  Documents

   Test plan

   Test reports

   Bug Reports

   Test scripts

   Test sessions

   ...

  Videos

  Screenshots

  Code

  Email

  Chat

 via proxy

  Lawyer

  Colleague or friend

  External company for example marketing

 Questions and Reporting

 Tools, models & heuristics

  Tools

   Face to face

   Telephone

   Email

   Skype

   Sharepoint / Document storage system

   Video

   Social media

   Website

   Whitepapers, books, etc

  Models & heuristics

   Information source->Transmitter->Channel->Receiver

   RACI

    Responsible

    Accountable

    Consulted

    Informed

   Transactional Analysis (PAC)

   Tacit and Explicit Knowledge

   Non-violent communication

    Self-empathy

    Empathy

    Honest self-expression

   Direct vs indirect Communicators

    Direct

     Persuade and Convince

     Order and Act

    Indirect

     Observe and Wait

     Ask and Listen

 Feedback

  Does the communication partner provide feedback or is prompting necessary?

  Does the feedback show what was communicated was understood in the intended way or are there differences?

  Start communication iteration cycles until intended and perceived content match

Adverse factors

before, during or after communication

 Trust or lack thereof

 Different interests or priorities

  Don't talk about testing to a CIO

  How to make people care about testing

  Giving information to people who don't want to know

 Lack of Precision (or too much)

  Checking vs Testing

  What is Quality / Testing / etc

 Noise

  Environmental

   Open plan office

  Semantic

   Testing vs checking

  Syntactical

   Grammar

  Organisational

   Across Hierarchy levels

  Cultural

   Wishing Merry Christmas to a Hindu

  Psychological

   Mood

   Disorders

 When to STOP communicating

  M. Bolton's heuristics for when to stop testing apply

    The Time’s Up! Heuristic

   The Piñata Heuristic

   The Dead Horse Heuristic

   The Mission Accomplished Heuristic

   The Mission Revoked Heuristic

   The I Feel Stuck! Heuristic

   The Pause That Refreshes Heuristic

    Change in Priorities

    Lights are off

   The Flatline Heuristic

   The Customary Conclusion Heuristic

   No more interesting questions

   The Avoidance/Indifference Heuristic

   Mission rejected

  Abuse

  Something more urgent comes up (Prioritisation)

  Noise level becomes too high