Soft skills to be a successful tester / test manager

Soft skills or how you interact with your fellow team members or managers is a very important aspect to be a successful tester and also a future manager. While it is important to be technically sound, you should also be able to take people working around you alongwith you to work as one team.

As most of us experience, personality clashes or ego clashes are quite common in a workplace. If you are just started in a job, you'll see what I mean. You are probably better of reading this now than most of us understood the hard way.

I have listed a few DOs and DON'Ts here. This may not vary to a great extent from organization to organization.

  • Be informed to convince - Typically testers are looked upon as someone who's out there to draw the blood of the developer and are looked with skepticism. Don't worry about it. Just be aware that you are there to do a job and do not take any passing comments to heart. Never get emotional and fight with a developer. Your arguements should be logical and backed by information. Typical fights would be whether a bug is a bug or not.
  • When you are at fault, admit your mistake and do not argue to prove you are right when you know you are not. Admitting your mistake will enhance your reputation. But make sure you back it up with an action suggestion as to what you would do in order that mistake is not repeated.
  • Maintain good personal rapport with developers especially with members who are more or less of the same age group. They would feel free to discuss problems with you more openly than their managers. This holds good for test managers too. Engage with grass root developers and do not give an impression that you are approachable only by their manager.
  • Maintain good documentation as testers are questioned about their contribution more than the developers. Have your test plans, test execution history and results well organized and handy. Use a good tool if necessary. For example: Testlink. You can find my writeup on testlink here:
  • Estimate your work completion cautiously. Leave enough room for late delivery of code by development. In your test plan make this point very clear about what can be tested and what cannot be tested depending on the punctuality of the code delivery by engineering.


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