Software development and testing often involve very complex and abstract problems, and sometimes a shared understanding of the problem is difficult to achieve amongst team members. Furthermore, it can be a challenging task to make everyone in the team focus on the big picture of the project and the specific goals that need to be met in a particular timeframe. Visual communication, for instance, can help here. Now people might wonder what visual communication has got to do with testing. The answer should be obvious: lots. The fact is visual communication is a great tool for overcoming challenges that software development and testing teams face. The visualisation of a problem or an idea can be used for helping each other collaborate in order to deliver software which will actually help to solve the problem.
The benefit of visual communication is that it lets you see something that you didn't see before. At a glance, it tells a story and conveys what might take many words to express. Communicating through pictures not only does encourage discussion between software developers and testers, it can also aid knowledge sharing by delivering relevant information to team members. Visualising ideas facilitates understanding and clarification as it makes it easier for team members to relate to what you have in mind.
At the Agile Testing Days 2016, Stuart Young offered his Innovation through Visualisation workshop providing some visualisation techniques to encourage people to communicate and think more visually. At the end, the attendees have been intrigued by the fact that visualisation can most effectively contribute to a better shared experience and a better understanding among team members, stakeholders and customers. Moreover, by using visual communication, they learned to approach problems from a different angle and to look at solutions more creatively.
Give it a try! Workshops, meetings or testing conferences happen to provide a wonderful opportunity to expand and practice visual communication by rather sketching instead of taking notes. There is no better way to remember information than writing them down with some little icons, sketches or info-doodles.
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