Pair testing is a relatively new, yet astonishingly popular practice, when a programmer and a tester work together at the same time and the code is debugged simultaneously along being written. To make things clearer I would have to name pairing the tango of IT. There is a leading role programmers usually take and they guide a tester (observer) through the process of the dance. This process is amazing and delivers astonishing results, but only in case both parties are effectively communicating and collaborating. Both developer and tester should work as one unit and if you will be able to implement this practice into life, lots of significantly important processes will flow much easier, thus decreasing both required investments and time-to-market.
What should you pay most attention to?
If you have decided to implement this process into your organization, appropriate management is more than required. And what do you require to ensure better people management? That is correct, you must be fully aware on what your employees should be doing and which processes may be called the right ones. With that knowledge you will be able to encourage appropriate behavior.
First of all ensure that developer has the leading role in the process. Surely your testers must ask questions about all meaningful aspects, yet pairing works best when devs actually narrate their actions and coding. If a programmer is undertaking several activities that have no value to the tester (like looking for particular existing files, etc.) and in silence, your QA person will start to feel useless. Testers, on the other hand, must always ask about anything of particular interest to them. Finding out what any particular feature is being deigned to do even before it was coded is a significant boost to a software tester, as he can plan out all his actions in advance, while more spare time is available.
Such teams of to have to pre-define success parameters to ensure both are following the same goal. You will give them the requirements, that is true, but every person understands those differently. And there are always several ways of reaching any goal. You may require Facebook integration into login functionality as a business owner, and any developer, responsible for this task will have more than 5 possible options of how to make things work and he will choose one of those. That path needs to be discussed with the tester as many defects may be found along the road. Meaning both parties involved into pair testing/development must understand success not as the end result, but rather as the entire process they will be forced to go through, ensuring those expected results.
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