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Tester skill: Influential writing

Pradeep brings up the skill of writing influential emails as a tester. I cannot agree more on the need for it. Here is what I wrote as a comment to his post. Please feel free to add more comments and give me some suggestions on rules for improvements.

Hi Pradeep! I like the way you bring out the need for good writing skills as tester. However, I am not very sure you showed us the very best answer to your own question. Actually, I think Sreenurajs last one was better. Why?
The planned readers of the email was the test team itself, not the management nor test management. For me this means sharing your thoughts from the testers perspective. Your example is really more of something to send to business people of management, but for the same reason. This because you talk about budgeting for testing etc.
Also, I have to add the cultural aspect to it. Always remember to whom you write, not only the role but also culture, experience and situation in project. Of course you have the humble approach, but in environments I work in, that was overdoing it.
What rules do you use when writing influential email? Examples are good, but do you keep a cheat sheet for it?
Thank you for sharing, and I would really look forward to an update on this./Sigge

As a side note, I actually think that the ability to clearly communicate in writing is a key skill as a tester, not only for emails. Bug reporting, notetaking and status reporting are other examples. And while I think I have some of the skills needed, knowing about my problems with conciseness helps me by knowing what to practice. Twitter is actually one of my ways to practice just that.

  1. March 14, 2011 at 14:44

    I agree this is a very important skill for testers. Unfortunately, it isn’t talked about as much as it should be. In my experience you have to be able to write influentially both to business departments and to development teams – this essentially means you have to speak both languages. Staying informed on business decisions and being able to talk knowledgeably about the tech your team is using can put you in a unique place to help the two divisions understand each other and work together more effectively.

    • Sigge
      March 14, 2011 at 18:31

      Thanks for commenting Devon. I really agree with you on being able to speak both languages. It is so true, and I have experienced it so many times that I had to be an interpreter/facilitator in discussions.

  2. March 14, 2011 at 18:10

    Sigge, hi!
    You are right that twitter helps us train conciseness. But it is so painful! 🙂

    Regarding communication, it is a skill no less important than any other for a team of testers. If what we do is ‘learn’ and ‘discover’, then at least /someone/ in the team should be able to pass the information on.

    Shmuel Gershon

    • Sigge
      March 14, 2011 at 18:33

      Yes Shmuel, since the most important thing we do is to gather information, it is our duty to pass it on effectively. However, I also see important aspects where I as a tester need to be more convincing than other times in this communication. Where I have identified that I, my team or my customer has special interest in the response and decisions that come out of the information gathered.

  3. September 12, 2011 at 20:50

    This could be a great topic for a Star East session (if it wasn’t one already)!

    • Sigge
      September 12, 2011 at 21:27

      Hi Danielle, thank you for the nice words. Are there any parts in particular that you would be interested to hear/read more about?

  4. jibz
    April 22, 2012 at 02:44

    Hi ,

    I would like to ask you all a question.
    Do a black box tester need to have good writing and oral skills ?
    I thought that almost all black box testers are using the same existing test cases for most of their project. Is it true?
    Please reply me.

    • Sigge
      May 1, 2012 at 20:45

      Hi Jibz,
      I think having good writing and oral skills is essential to any tester that wants to do a good job. If they are lacking, the information gathered about the quality status of a product cannot be communicated in a good way. I dont see black box test cases run as a good way of communicating quality status.

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