Dealing with Developers During Testing

There will likely be some back-and-forth between you and the developer to work out bugs and other issues. The odds of the developer delivering a perfect app the first time out is next to impossible. So be prepared for frequent and detailed communication at this point.

Making the required fixes will not be an issue for a reputable, competent programmer. This is a normal stage of any app development project. What is crucial during this is stage is that the app was clearly defined by the concept design and the project description. If the details of how the app is supposed to work-including function, appearance, and user interaction-is well documented, there will be no reason for concern.

To ensure the ‘ironing out’ process goes smoothly, you need to do the following:

1) Don’t ‘trickle down’ the change requests: When it comes to testing the app, take your time and exercise it as thoroughly as possible. Make a comprehensive list of things needing to be changed or corrected. If other testers are involved have them complete their testing of the app. Collect and consolidate this list of problems or improvements with yours. Give the compiled list to the developer at once rather than giving them one list at a time. It can be very frustrating for developers when their client asks for one thing to be fixed, only to point out another minor problem after the next test build, then another, and so on. Be considerate of developer’s time and efforts by giving them the complete, comprehensive list of what needs to be done so they can do it one time. Sometimes a new problem will surface when others are fixed, but this can’t be helped. The point is to fix as much as possible during every test and revision iteration.

2) Offer a Bonus to Compensate for Unforeseen Hours: It is not uncommon for difficult issues to crop up during app development. Tis can mean significant extra effort is needed to overcome them. Sometimes it may be the developer’s fault for not anticipating it, since they are supposed to be the technical expert. Sometimes the issue may have been difficult or even impossible for the developer to foresee-meaning they are not at fault. If issues such as this crop up during app development, the last thing you need is for the developer to get frustrated or so discouraged that abandon the project. If you sense that this could be happening, offer the developer a financial incentive to complete the project. The amount of such an incentive depends on:

a. The complexity of the project
b. The overall development cost
c. The difficulty of the problem to overcome
d. Your confidence level in the developer

This financial incentive accomplishes a couple of things. It partially compensates the developer for the extra hours involved and it helps the developer maintain a positive attitude about the project.

3) Keep Discussions Focused on the Requirements: When you discuss needed changes, always point to the design and the requirements you delivered to the developer. Documentation is often emphasized in this book, and this is a critical reason to document as much of the app as possible. When the app is clearly defined there is little to dispute. If the developer doesn’t deliver what you require, you can point to the exact discrepancies and politely request revision. Avoid making general negative comments about their work, and try to ignore any complaints about having to make changes.

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