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Managing Conflict in Software Testing By Cynthia F. Cohen, Stanley J. Birkin, Monica J. Garfield and Harold W. Webb Presentation by Erin Mahaffy
Organizations = Conflict Many reasons for conflict Not always negative Can disrupt work Software testing is adversarial
Studying Conflict Field interviews Four companies Three basic conflict layers Processes People Organization
Time Resources Allocation of time between development and testing Time increasingly scarce Schedule demands Sequential processes Development slip
Requirements Developers focus on design Testers focus on stated requirements Developers want to embellish
People Issues – Groups Developers don’t understand user issues Unit test differences Testers understand business environment Perception of developers by testers
Code Personalization Ego issues “Test was broken” Co-worker complaints
Organization Testers as worthy as developers Developers at top Lack of status part of job Need to “start at the top” Managers are intermediaries
Resolution - Time Time for testing/QA must be inviolate Critical Chain Scheduling Parkinson’s Law Project buffer Raises awareness
Goals Goals defined Common purpose Collaboration Quantification measures
Team Building Training in conflict resolution Enhance future working relationships Communication skills Cooperative problem-solving Build relationships Social events Back channels
Understanding Point of View Differing perceptions of process Acquaint both with the other’s work Involvement in requirements phase
Organization - Structure Proximity Time saving Integrated teams Many of the same conflicts Still better relationships “Comprehensive product ownership”
Involved Leadership Cues from managers Signal testing is important Compatible project goals Conflict management Managers handling of issues Poor management factor in escalation of conflict
Conclusion Expect conflict Managers “set the tone” Improves overall process
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