Is it important for testers to learn negotiation?

Hi all,

I’ve been involved today in round table with @acraske and other participants on the topic “How to negotiate a budget allocated to Quality?” we had interesting discussions

and one of them

  • Should testers have or learn negociation as a skill ?

I wonder what are your thoughts about this and what resources do you recommend for testers to improve their negociation skills?

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For sure! Especially when there are capacity plannings. I’ve seen in to often that people just give in and get 0 work days from testers in their sprints and other teams get their 100% capacity. Maybe more appealing to coordinators or test managers. But I believe testers themselves should also learn the trade a little bit.

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Yes, as everyone needs negotiation skills, tester or not.

When we say we need 4 weeks to test a new piece of software to the extent we will be happy and covered what we want, and they only want you to have 1 week, you have started to negotiate.

Do you blindly accept you only have 1 week?
Do you make your case for why you need 4 weeks?
Can you compromise and meet in the middle?
Can you get the time down with more people helping out?

We are always after more time, more people, more resources (soft/hardware, as people aren’t resources), and if we can’t make our case as to why we need them, we will get treated poorly.

But we also need to understand their side, as if we won’t listen, we are simply stubborn children who won’t back down, even if there is a good reason.

Also, with any question like this, I always flip it and ask “Why shouldn’t testers learn to negotiate?”

3 Likes

I’m a firm believer in the importance of good communication on any project, and negotiation is a form of communication as well, isn’t it? It’s especially important when dealing with management - as they used to dealing with other in such a manner (for instance, haggling with a client for more budget funds) and therefor such a skill can greatly help us testers to get the resources we need to preform better testing, be it in form of more realistic deadlines, tools, testing environments, etc.

I’ve noticed that high-level reports work well to win over the top level management and to convince them of the importance of testing, so you can ask for more resources by trading information for it - such as succinct, often a visual representation, of the benefits testing brings and the improvements in the overall SDLC, in terms of incrementally increasing the automation coverage, re-testing bug-fixes, testing of new features.

1 Like