How to Deal With Negative Perceptions of QA
When you work in the field of QA testing, you’re surely going to meet folks with negative perceptions of QA. While this can happen often, there are ways to work around it. If you can decide when to continue through the noise and when to push back, you’ll be able to accept whatever is thrown your way.
The overall QA and developer connection should be collaborative. Working with a developer that appreciates QA can be amazing! However, the most popular role that has negative perceptions of QA tends to be engineers. It’s essential to keep in mind that this isn’t always the engineer’s responsibility.
Some QA testers can be proud in their manner of reporting bugs. They might handle it as if it’s a personal critique of the developer’s self-worth. Usually, if a developer feels that they are being personally criticized, they may respond defensively.
No matter how elegantly and neutrally a tester reports an issue, some developers react defensively. In some severe cases, the reaction may also be verbally aggressive. First and foremost, this is annoying on a personal level. But it’s also one of the biggest drawbacks to the quality of a mobile app or website. Therefore, it can tank the company’s ultimate success and ability to grow. Developers in this position can end up being a roadblock to getting bugs fixed. They can even a hindrance to letting product managers find out about bugs in the first place.
Some developers will close bug tickets themselves, and state “this isn’t a bug” for a number of reasons. Sometimes this could be out of a genuine purpose of being considerate. Other times, it’s out of worry that they’ll get into a problem for a bug in their code. In worst-case situations, it can also be run-of-the-mill power-tripping.
This can be explained from day one. How? By making sure it’s understood that the product manager decides whether a potential issue should be addressed. QA’s work is to report potential bugs, and the part of developers is to fix them. Both QA testers and developers need to know that the product owner should be the ultimate decision-maker on what gets fixed.
In some circumstances, with the client’s blessing (and also active encouragement), QA will play a greater role in prioritizing bugs. Developers should often be provided a chance to weigh in. For example, they can guide on how long a particular issue might take to fix. They can also note if there are enough workarounds. But usually speaking, a developer shouldn’t be responsible for closing tickets associated with bugs in their own code. And at the end of the day, QA should never hold back from reporting bugs out of interest of what developers will think. This would be doing a bad job at QA. It could also come back to hurt you if/when users complain about the defect down the road.
The Blame Game
Laying blame for bugs is often done by both QA and engineers – and it’s an essential cycle to break. In order to divert any attention to their code being the cause of the bug, sometimes developers will examine QA about why they didn’t discover a given bug sooner. To be sure, if QA is constantly missing bugs, that’s a problem that should be looked into. But there should never be personal blame.
If someone’s job performance was so poor that they justified being fired over it, then they may require to be let go. But there’s still no reason to bring that stress into the overarching team. Any QA tester can miss a bug once in a while. Developers also shouldn’t be blamed for having broken bugs in their code. After all, if that wasn’t an expectation, QA wouldn’t require to formally exist.
The issue of putting blame requires to be solved from the top-down. The best way to do this is to have the Engineering manager make it obvious that no one is going to be personally attacked. If there are common issues, then the Agile process itself requires to be investigated too. A process problem isn’t automatically a sign of a QA tester or developer being poor at their job.
Some companies believe that they don’t really require QA. Not everyone understands that even the best developers can have defects in their code – and said defects aren’t always easy to find.
Other companies hire QA testers but employ them like unskilled entry-level workers. Many don’t appreciate or take benefit of the fact that they have people with expertise and innate information on user experience, best practices, processes, and more.
Unless you have a strong QA manager, it can be very hard to influence change at this type of company. If at all feasible, it’s best to evade even working for a company like this. Surprisingly, the paycheck is not always reflective of their disregard for QA. But the regular job experience can be depressing and demotivating.
It’s not always simple to tell during an interview whether a business has full enthusiasm and gratitude for QA. But one sign that can help is whether the people you talk with during the process seem upbeat at the idea of your position coming onboard.
Seldom QA will work with Customer Service in the kind of hearing about user complaints. This can be very helpful, as it can support QA to look into previously hidden issues (which may not have been occurring in the specific conditions or devices that were tested previously).
Other times, though, the interaction between Customer Service Representatives and QA testers can be a little tenser. As a consequence of the pressure they’re below (either from managers or snappy customers), seldom people from Customer Service can be impatient with QA, and not understand the amount of work that might go into following down a bug. Other times, they might accuse QA of the bug existing in the first place.
The best way to resolve this is to have a set method and regular communication. Even a single one-hour meeting that provides each department the possibility to show the other how their everyday job works can reduce months worth of tension down the road.
Respect for QA
If you work in QA, you’re usually going to find some form of hostility from other groups. But this doesn’t suggest that sensitive people can’t still win in QA, or that you can’t advocate for your position and the bugs you find. “Don’t take it personally” is advice that’s simpler said than done. But if you’re new to QA, understand that it does get easier with time and practice. The best way to get respect for QA? Handle others with respect at all times, and continue to do the best job probable at advocating for quality.
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