For a while, my relationship with the project managers I was working with was like the relationship we used to have with teachers. Even you know they are meant to teach you good things, to guide you, to offer support when need it, you prefer to believe their role is to supervise your activity and give you bad marks.

Well, time is passing by and we realise we must say “thank you” to our teachers for the great people we are today. Pretty much the same is with project managers. Not with all of them, of course. Neither teachers nor project managers.

There is no definition what a good or bad project manager-tester relation is, nor any guide to follow when dealing with misconceptions between these two areas of expertise, that’s why working closely and have a good communication pays the time.

Over the years, I have learned different lessons from the project managers I have worked with and below I am going to summarise three of them.

Stop fighting with changes. Embrace them.

This is a thing I could hardly deal with, because I was always thinking we have to stick to the decision we took. We all know we’re frequently dealing with all kind of changes during development and testing life cycle, aren’t we? They might be development change requests, changes in team structure, in processes, in decisions, changes that force you to adjust your estimations, your approach or your implementation.

I have learned that changes might occur, stakeholders might change their priorities or needs and instead of investing time and energy fighting back, try to understand them. I’m not suggesting we need to accept any change request at any time. But to invest time in understanding why the change is needed, which is its priority, why is it important for the ones requesting it and give expertise and support to those requesting it.

Changes are causing frustration, if they’re not fully understood.

“Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity.” -Seth Godin

Communication is everything

It is. Even when we’re talking about business, family or friends. Communicating our needs to our project managers, listening to theirs, trying to understand better their requests, all these are helping building a relation based on collaboration and trust. And this relation can ensure the well being of all the team and the project itself.

Sometimes is hard to be objective and we tend to judge. And it’s totally fine. I would suggest though to keep our ears open and invest time in making sure we’re all on the same page.

Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity. — Nat Turner

Feeling confused? Take a step back and look again.

There were situations when I felt stuck. Must have felt that too at some point, haven’t you? The advice of taking a step back, analyse again the situation and focus more on seeing the bigger picture, had helped me a lot.

Have you tried that?


Conclusion

While managing our learning process, we are taking bits and pieces from different sources — organised learning sessions in schools, trainings, self learning or copying the admired behaviours we see in others.

With regards to project managers, I would suggest you to try to understand their commitment to customer satisfaction, their focus on delivering quality and never stop giving them your expertise and valuable knowledge. In this way you can build a trustful relation from which each of you has something to learn.


Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash.