How I used communication to overcome 4 challenges as a test engineer

How to communicate effectively as a test automation engineer

Sérgio Martins

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Audience member raising their hand to speak

Introduction

I’ve been mainly working with fully remote teams — check out my article on building (a real) team during the pandemic — for these past few years. And, although I love working remotely, some communication struggles have been getting tougher to workaround in a virtual and remote world.

In this article, I‘ll share how to approach some of these common communication struggles with examples.

How to communicate better to solve common challenges

1. “Why do we need a test automation engineer?”

My first reaction be like, who doesn’t know what the heck does being a test automation engineer even means? But, reality check: The majority of the clients don’t have a clear definition nor understand the need for a test automation engineer that they’re paying for, and that’s ok.

The critical factor here is to know your audience. Whenever you’re communicating, whether verbally or in writing, you must know who it is that you’re communicating with. Thus, if you’re communicating with someone outside of your domain of expertise (e.g., a client, a product manager, UI/UX designer, etc.), you shouldn’t be using acronyms or referencing concepts, tools, or technologies that they’re not going to be familiar with. That will merely make you lose them in your speech, and sometimes they’re going to tell you that, and sometimes they’re not.

Therefore, reply to the question in such detail that they fully comprehend the value that they’re getting by having you in their team. Examples:

  • Cheap — You need a test automation engineer to ensure the product’s quality.
  • Detailed — Although quality is the responsibility of everyone in the team, I am here to enable, guide, and ensure that everyone lives by it. For example, here’s data demonstrating the number of issues we prevented before releasing by having a robust automated testing suite integrated into a fully automated pipeline. Thus, having me as a test automation engineer in the team…

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Sérgio Martins

Hey, my name is Sérgio, and I’m a Senior Software Engineer by trade. Here you’ll find short and straight-to-the-point articles related to my craft, and business