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Babble & Dabble: Creating Bonds Across Disciplines

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Published on Aug 23, 2016

"Babble & Dabble: Creating Bonds Across Disciplines" by Carol Brands & Katrina Clokie

As testers, we sit in the middle of the software development process surrounded by specialists with different strengths. Our environment provides many opportunities for us to promote our skills and seek to understand the skills of others. Yet many testers fail to foster the collaborative practices required for this exchange of knowledge.

Testing that is influenced by information from outside our discipline will be better than testing performed in isolation. Business analysts guide us towards what our customers want, developers help us to prioritize testing vulnerable areas of the application, and support provides a deeper understanding of the way customers really use our software.

Similarly, other specialists can benefit from the skills offered by testing. Business analysts learn to evaluate their own requirements from a test perspective, developers start to build testable software, and support improves the way that they document user-reported bugs.

Beyond simply sharing skills, testers benefit from being part of a software development team where testing is widely understood, where there is shared ownership of testing tasks, and where testing is valued. To cultivate this environment testers must promote collaboration so they can teach and be taught.

Katrina and Carol explain how to spread ideas between disciplines. They describe how using broadcast techniques like “lunch & learn” presentations, internal conferences, or learning pathways are useful to raise awareness. They also share their experiences with promoting active learning through hands-on activities like pairing, peer reviews, or huddles.

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