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What techniques have you used successfully to promote teamwork between developers and testers who are geographically dispersed?

Here is some context. This morning I talked with someone who works for a small (~30 developers) software company that is distributed across multiple continents. Today the developers do all their own testing. The company is considering building a testing team, which could possibly be in a different city/country than the developers. My experience is that a distributed team is likely to be dysfunctional if no one takes deliberate measures to promote teamwork.

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3 Answers 3

For several months I was testing for a company in the US. What helped?

  • Having a regular Skype call to talk to the team
  • A social network - we use Yammer - to help interactions that are not always work related so you can build up a picture of each other as individuals
  • Occasional face-to-face meetings, I had a couple of visits to the US office and putting faces to names and hanging out with people for a few days really helped

And it got easier once I had a project and was able to show the value I could bring to the team

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  1. Travel - Teams exchanging visits to sites as part of KT, Test Coordination will be very helpful to add face to names in Email Conversations. I have personally seen Onsite visits better than video conference calls. You get to work with them, go out for lunch / dinner, participate in QA Execution during onsite travel

  2. Apart from it, Regular Conf Calls, Sharing product Demos, Jointly executing QA releases was useful

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If you set your daily goals (probably in a virtual stand-up call on Skype :P) and work towards achieving it then it will automatically increase the interaction between the teams. I believe in Agile practice we emphasize on co-location but that should not be a problem for geographically dispersed teams.

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