W5H3- Communicating Testing during Software Development

Communication is a learned skill and basic human need and right


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, ...


 Internal company

  Senior Management

   Don't talk about testing (Keith Klain)

  Other departments



   Sys admins



 External company



 Decisionmakers on

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


See Also: 1:1

 Groups of people

See Also: 1:n


do I want to communicate

 Product or Project specific

  Test Planning






  Project Planning

  Test Reporting

   Information about the product

    Does it solve the customers problem?

    Is it what was promised to be delivered?




   Observed behaviour


   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


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

 Information have we been asked to provide?

 Information is given unasked?

 Company or HR related


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



 Request for help


 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




do I want to communicate?

do I need to communicate?

is the information or data gathering process finished?

 Within agreed timeframe





  Christmas do venue vs "Our website is down"

 Legal obligation

  VW Testers...

 Moral obligation (whistleblower)

  VW Testers...

 Sequence of Information


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


 From home


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


  Within the company / project

  Restricted Access

How many

people are communicating?


See Also: Invidividual

  Informal meeting

  Coaching or mentoring session


See Also: Groups of people

  Company meeting

  Press release



  Group meeting


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


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













  Change approach depending on audience personality







  Body language

   Facial expression

   Eye contact (or lack)


  Tone of voice

  Sign language


  Spatial distance

  Cultural environment



   Test plan

   Test reports

   Bug Reports

   Test scripts

   Test sessions







 via proxy


  Colleague or friend

  External company for example marketing

 Questions and Reporting

 Tools, models & heuristics


   Face to face




   Sharepoint / Document storage system


   Social media


   Whitepapers, books, etc

  Models & heuristics

   Information source->Transmitter->Channel->Receiver






   Transactional Analysis (PAC)

   Tacit and Explicit Knowledge

   Non-violent communication



    Honest self-expression

   Direct vs indirect Communicators


     Persuade and Convince

     Order and Act


     Observe and Wait

     Ask and Listen


  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



   Open plan office


   Testing vs checking




   Across Hierarchy levels


   Wishing Merry Christmas to a Hindu




 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


  Something more urgent comes up (Prioritisation)

  Noise level becomes too high