Tips for Effective Communication Within Your QA Team

Two persons having a discussion

A common requirement for an IT employer is excellent teamwork and communication skills. But have you ever wondered why this is so important in QA?

Having good communication skills and the ability to work in a team with a variety of, and initially unfamiliar, people will give you the opportunity to grow in a QA career. This skill is no less important than your professional skills because communication within the test team is an essential part of the normal working day and the internal climate of your team that cannot and should not, be avoided.

In order for communication to develop well and productively, you need to follow the well-known rules: choose the right tone of voice, be friendly and polite, smile ... But what else can help communication in a team?

Treat with respect

Respect is the foundation of any successful relationship, be it work or personal.

  • Never allow yourself to make bully jokes. What seems like a joke to you may become resentment to others.
  • Respect various viewpoints on topics such as personal life, external qualities, religious and political topics. These are sensitive topics to talk about in the work environment. This threatens a clash of different opinions, misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • Don't take your bad mood out on your co-workers. Try not to let your negative emotions affect the quality of your communication. Not everyone can know about your mood and its causes, and appealing in a rude or inappropriate tone to the person can offend them and put them in an awkward position.

Use conversational language more than business language

Undoubtedly, in the working environment, we hear and use a lot of business jargon, without which it is simply difficult to explain specific things. But, especially when there are people in the team with little experience in the project, it is important not to forget to simplify things in order so as to not burden the newcomer, and not put them in an awkward, tense position where they might feel excluded from the conversation.. After all, it is much more pleasant to communicate in a relaxed manner where all can participate in the discussion.

Be attentive

In communication, it is important to listen and hear. Two seemingly similar things, but in meaning, are still different. It is important not only to physically hear what is said or asked of you, but also to understand and participate in the conversation with full dedication. Try to direct your attention to the person you’re  conversing with and apply these methods:

  1. Ask again if you don't hear or understand.
  2. Show that you are interested, ask additional questions and answer in detail the questions asked to you.
  3. During the conversation, be involved, develop the conversation, share your experience or opinion.

It is important not to forget that at work we are not focused on work for all of the conventional working hours there. Lunch breaks, stretch breaks, or coffee breaks are great opportunities to have small talk with a colleague about non-work related topics, whether it's the weather, a pet, or "how I spent my weekend”. This allows you to find common interests and hobbies with colleagues.

As for events, try not to miss team building and other internal events so as not to “fall out” of the team. Such a joint pastime helps the team get closer, establish contact and relieve tension between people.

Don't forget that every team member matters

Undoubtedly, in the process of communication in a team, people emerge with whom they have more common interests. Kind of friendship appears between them and that’s great. But often in such cases, people forget about the rest of the team members and are less involved in conversations taking place in one open space, they may forget to share some new information, and so on. This can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings on the part of other colleagues. Make friends at work, but do not forget that you continue to work in a team.

Don't neglect chats

In the modern world, internal communication is not only physical, real conversations, but also chats and online meetings that should also be taken into account. In business matters to the team, use the main group chat and write to the point, preferably not dividing your speech into many separate messages, but on the contrary, structure and organize your message in the most understandable and easy way. When interacting with other chat participants, be responsive and do not remain silent if you know the answer to a question. Use emoji and reactions where appropriate.

Think about what you write. Using public chat, it's better to think and reread the message before sending it. Be polite and tactful. Everyone sees public messages and you need to keep this in mind.

For a question or information that is addressed to a specific person, it would be better to use private messages, unless of course this question concerns the interests of the entire team.

Actively participate in meetings

Don't be late for meetings with the team, and participate in conversations if you have something to say. Do not expect that colleague will now answer for you. Be proactive, show what interests you. This will be appreciated by colleagues and your team leader. If this is a daily standup, prepare your speech in advance, or at least make a plan so that during your speech there are no long “mm…” “aa…”.

Resolve conflicts and misunderstandings calmly and immediately

In any team, there are misunderstandings and conflicts that necessarily require special attention because every unresolved conflict entails consequences in the form of a deterioration in relations between colleagues and hence a decrease in productivity. 

Therefore, in the event of a conflict with a colleague, omit all resentment and anger and try to understand the cause of the conflict.

  • Only calmness. Even if in everyday life you are used to throwing dishes during outbursts of emotions, you definitely shouldn’t do this at work. Calm down and tackle the problem with a calm mind. 
  • Try to understand the other's point of view. During a conflict, it can sometimes be very difficult to put yourself in the place of another person and look at the problem through their eyes. But it’s still worth a try to understand that in a conflict, both are at fault. This will help you to find a solution faster.
  • Look for a constructive way to resolve the conflict. Finding a way to get out of the conflict, you almost guarantee not to return to this topic. Talk to colleagues, involve the team leader in this issue if there is no other way out, but always try to work towards a solution.

Effective communication is the key to a cohesive team and high productivity of its members. Everyone wants to be in an environment conducive to work, so let's create it ourselves.

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