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Communication Strain: what is the answer?


Communication Strain: what is the answer?

As we return to the office, understanding how and why we communicate has never been more necessary

Yoav Ziv | 11:37  23.09.2020
No one could have predicted what companies were going to be faced with as we entered into 2020. We have all been dealt tough circumstances and were prompted to carefully consider our company’s short to medium term future; how we should conserve, what we should prioritize, and what we should streamline. It is fair to say, however, that one component of our daily lives which will likely never be the same again is the way in which we communicate with one another. Covid-19 has meant that companies are relying on remote workforces now more than ever and, with an even greater split between remote and in-office workers as the phased return to the office is in full swing, we must all ponder how we can successfully engineer our teams to avoid organization-wide misalignment and/or miscommunication throughout the software testing cycle.

Qualitest’s Yoav Ziv. Photo: Qualitest Qualitest’s Yoav Ziv. Photo: Qualitest Qualitest’s Yoav Ziv. Photo: Qualitest

As we attempt to formalize this new hybrid workflow, it becomes increasingly apparent that streamlined communication between teams is a crucial means to reduce the risks of bad releases. One bad release is not only damaging to a company in terms of immediate losses, but also to the specific organization’s broader reputation in their supposed field of expertise. The battery malfunction recently experienced by Boeing’s Spaceway-1 satellite is a prime example of the potentially devastating, even life-threatening, consequences of when communication and, in turn, sufficient end-to-end testing procedures are deprioritized. This was similarly the case for the Mars Climate Orbiter, which crashed due to calculations ahead of travel being completed in feet by one team, and meters by another. Whilst both calculations were correct, a different language was being spoken. These are easily avoidable errors, which can have a lasting impact on your business, your ability to continuously rollout successful releases and your provision of reassurance to any given client.

But how do we ensure that communication is uniform and consistent across and between teams? It is clear to see that Quality Engineering professionals sat among each of the applications, regularly corresponding with one another and fully informed of all goings on at every stage of the process, would have spotted these mistakes and immediately acted upon them, avoiding any risk or harm to the business or wider client base. Completely decentralized teams are becoming a thing of the past, with responsibility no longer being able to solely lay on the shoulders of software developers. True coordination and synchronization between teams is essential to fully understanding the nuances of each component of the software at hand and, by extension, ensuring the delivery of quality results time and time again.

Synchronized Quality Engineering teams also bring new expertise and insights to the table, drawing out areas of focus which may have otherwise been overlooked and ensuring that there are no underlying chinks in the armor that cannot be identified and addressed at the earliest opportunity. Additionally, improved and frequent communication will have a substantial impact on team morale and the nurturing of an ethos at which teamwork, professionalism, efficiency and the sharing of information is of the upmost importance.

As we begin to prioritize cyber at the early stages of the software design process and shift-left activities into individual teams to support Agile ways of working and testing, it is fluid communication that we must seek in order to best optimize output. With employees spread out over various locations and, in turn, an amplified strain on internal communications on a substantial rise, it is essential for technology leaders to ensure that each of their teams’ Quality Engineering is synchronized by a centralized Quality Management Office. When implemented well, businesses will have the reassurance they need to ensure that their testing processes will be uniform, standardized and – most crucially – effective.

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Yoav Ziv is the Chief Operating Officer West of Qualitest and focuses on operationalizing a strategic framework for the organization.

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