As Software Testers we work with many different people in many different roles. Some of the roles the people we work with occupy can include other software testers, developers, software architects, product owners, project managers, database analysts, clients and many more depending on the context of the project and makeup of the project team. These individuals are often our teammates.
Throughout the years I’ve had teammates ranging from terrible to bad to good to truly great. It’s the truly great teammates that I remember and would like to work with again. The terrible and bad teammates exhibited behaviours and actions that I will never exhibit towards anybody (you can learn a lot from negative behaviours).
In my experience, a lot of the qualities of being a good teammate also apply to being a good professional. A lot of it is not doing and exhibiting certain types of behaviour, and not treating others in ways we wouldn’t want to be treated – which leads us into three short areas I’ll cover below.
Don’t bark commands
Regardless of your role and position within the team, nobody enjoys having commands barked to them. I’ve seen this in different companies, and people in general don’t enjoy being spoken to and treated in that manner. Most people don’t enjoy working with people who bark orders. Speak to teammates with respect, it doesn’t hurt to respectfully ask as opposed to barking orders. Being a leader and a good teammate doesn’t mean you have to bark orders to have an impact on your team – unless it’s negative impact you’re trying to achieve.
Listening just might be one of the least used communication skills in today’s society and within the workplace. I often see individuals prepared and ready to speak before the individual speaking has finished talking. It’s important for teammates to be able to express themselves and say what they are trying to say and for the audience to listen, hear, and consider what is being said. Listening and considering what our teammates are saying can also lead to better replies, discussions, and solutions which are beneficial to the entire team and project.
Work together and learn from each other
A big reason I remember the truly great teammates I’ve worked with is because of how we worked together, and learned from each other to deliver great work on the projects we contributed to. Working together on a project is not some type of internal competition (or shouldn’t be), it’s about working and collaborating with our teammates to help deliver great work together, using everybody’s skills, expertise, and contributions to help deliver a successful project. Learning from each other is not the same as quickly telling somebody how something works without considering whether they fully understood or not – it’s clearly explaining concepts that are important to the testing being done in the context of the project that end up benefiting the team as well as the stakeholders of the project. Working together and learning from each other involves the exchange of good ideas, building on these ideas, using the energy that comes from the collaboration, and incorporating in into our own specific tasks so that we can do them better.
There is a lot more to being a great teammate than the areas I’ve covered above. Different situations will enable us to be good and great teammates in different ways and exhibit different qualities .
Being a good teammate (and especially a great one) is one of the things that will leave a positive impression on those you work with and help them remember you as such. It’s also one of the things that can help you build a good reputation for yourself and be somebody that other’s will want to work with.