How to Improve the Tester-Developer Relationship

When testers and developers work together, they can create a very successful team (especially when it comes to the QA process). But the two don’t always get along… how can we change that?


The Background

When bugs are found in a project, developers often blame the testers, which can make it hard for testers to trust developers. This can create a lot of tension and make working together very difficult.

In an article by Len Lagestee, he explains that in a dysfunctional scenario, there are four ways developers and testers often view each other:

“The Outsider” – One thinks the other doesn’t know enough so they’ll ignore them for as long as possible.

“The Obstacle – One doesn’t like the fact that the other is on their team, so they do just enough just enough to get the job done and don’t interact.

“The Speed Bump – One knows the other is there for a good reason, but they don’t bother to slow down and make it work.

“The Enemy” – One really hates the other and thinks what they do is never good enough.


When someone has adopted a negative mentality toward a co-worker, it can be tough to break it. However, there are a few ways to try and soften the hard walls they’ve put up:

1. Learn about the other’s tools: Developers should understand the entire testing process and testers should investigate the source code. This will build up respect and a more thorough understanding for what each side has to go through.

2. Work together: This may be hard to do initially, but if a developer and a tester pair up to create unit tests or build acceptance testing, they may start to understand each other a little better and find they work well together.

3. Be vocal: When a developer has a question or comment on a tester’s work (or vice-versa), have them bring it to the light instead of ignoring it. This will relieve some of their passive-aggressive behavior.

4. Recognize similarities: There are many similarities between testers and developers, such as the fact that they both believe testing is key to building a successful product. Also, testers often use the same tools as developers for creating automated tests.

Dissolving a grudging relationship can be tough, but the more testers and developers work together, the more they’ll understand about each other.

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