How can you manage conflicts between developers and quality assurance teams in software development?

Lynn Martelli
Lynn Martelli

Software developers and Quality Assurance team play an important role in Software development.   Developers are responsible for building, testing, and releasing applications seamlessly and at speed. Whereas QA teams are responsible for approving and signing off on the quality, efficacy, and performance of an application release. This includes the application’s UI, stability issues, and bug fixes. In short,  the development team creates a code QA team to evaluate the completed project.

QA teams are also responsible for performing automation testing. They usually execute test scenarios on multiple browsers to make sure that the build meets browser compatibility standards, and that the website or web app renders the same in different browsers and platforms.

Given the complexity of modern applications, all these tasks can be accomplished with teams. Often when several individuals from different places, with different experiences and various expertise work in close-knit things can go wrong. Developers and QA teams come across conflicts and arguments with each other on how to best develop, implement, and work on features.

Developers and quality assurance teams conflicts are common in software development. The arguments can be due to different goals, expectations, processes, communication styles, or personalities. However if not managed properly they can delay the release and also harm the quality, efficiency, and morale of the project, which leads to rework and frustration.

Therefore to improve the situation and prevent future clashes before they arise it is important to effectively manage and resolve the conflict among developers and the QA team to foster a collaborative and productive environment.

In this article, we discuss some managerial strategies to help in resolving these conflicts. Before diving deep into the topic we will first discuss what conflicts in software development are, what are its types and the most common reason for the conflicts between QA team specialists and developers.

What is conflict in software development?

Conflicts are arguments or differences of opinion on certain things or tasks. In software development, it is inescapable, especially when working on complex projects that involve multiple stakeholders, requirements, and technologies.  However, conflicts can also lead to positive outcomes such as improved collaboration, and communication, increased creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.  conflicts arise when;

  • Team members have different views on the best way to implement a certain feature or solve a technical problem.
  • Team members have poor communication.
  • Team members hold distinct qualities or working styles.
  • Team members are under pressure to meet tight deadlines; they may have conflicts over prioritization, resource allocation, or quality control.
  • Project scope or requirements change in the middle.

Types of Team Conflicts

Four different types of conflicts common in workplace environments are.

Task conflicts

This conflict includes issues related to teamwork assignments like a dispute about how to divide the resources, differences of opinion on procedures and policies, managing expectations at work, and judgments and interpretation of facts.

This conflict arises when team members rely on each other to complete a task. When one team person does not complete their part of the task, it can affect other’s ability to finish their part on time.

Leadership conflicts

This conflict is due to differences in leadership styles. Everyone differs in personality, and style, and has their way of leading their team. Some leaders are commanding, while others can be more open, inclusive and encourage collaboration with their team. Recognizing and appreciating these differences throughout the team is important to prevent leadership style conflicts.

Work style conflicts

Just like differences in leadership styles, there are differences in work styles as well. This type of conflict includes differences in team members’ preferences on how to accomplish tasks resulting in work style conflicts. Some quickly finish their task and move on to the next as soon as possible, while others prefer to complete tasks slowly and attentively. Some need little or no direction to finish a task, while others need guidance every step of the way.

The solution to avoid these types of conflicts is recognizing that everyone’s work style is different and finding ways to collaborate to achieve the same goal despite those differences.

Personality difference conflict

These conflicts are caused by differences in personality among team members. This conflict heavily remains involved with politics, ego, and winning-and-losing attitudes.

Common causes of conflicts between developers and quality assurance teams in software development

There are many reasons for conflict between developers and QA teams. Conflict among the team tends to divert their focus, resulting in getting away from the goals and objectives. Below are some reasons that influence interpersonal relationships among the developers and QA teams which causes conflicts.

Pull request reviews

The developer writes code to make sure all is working as expected. Once the code is ready for review, they submit a pull request to the QA team for approval. Developers want their code to get approved without having to rework large amounts of it. But if the reviewer asks developers for changes then conflicts arise. The back and forth between getting the code approved and completing all the changes requested can cause conflict.

Competing goals

Healthy competition between team members can be a good motivator, but sometimes it can lead to conflict as well. Team members competing with each other for recognition and promotions create tension. 

Misinterpreting job responsibilities and requirements

Lack of information and not understanding the roles and responsibilities properly, or organizational needs may result in conflicts.

Performance appraisal and feedback mechanism

Missing appraisal or genuine feedback from leaders or other members, or appraising individual performance rather than teamwork may also lead to conflicts.

Lack of focus and poor planning

Working isolated, poor planning of work division, task allocation, lack of mutual goals commitment, etc.

Blame game

Clashes happen when team members blame others for their failures, like in case of missed deadlines, or missed goals.

Lack of team responsibilities

Being self-centered, and not acting as a part of the team’s success and failures, can be the reason for conflict

Lastly, disagreement about strategy or execution of strategy to achieve team goals may result in conflicts.

Ways to manage conflicts between developers and quality assurance teams in software development

Conflict is a normal part of team dynamics. However, to work together effectively team members and leaders need to manage conflicts constructively and respectfully to avoid negative consequences. The ability to minimize and resolve team conflicts is crucial to the success of any organization

Understand the problem

Conflicts in software development teams can be related to technical issues or personal matters. Identifying the category to which a conflict belongs and investigating its root cause will enable tech leads to understand how that issue grew in the first place, enabling them to address it better. Additionally identifying the root cause helps in gaining a deeper insight into the problem and avoiding jumping to conclusions or blaming others.

Avoid conflict escalation

When a discussion between developers and the QA team starts to get heated, it is easy to fall into the trap of argument.  When conflict escalates and people get criticized it is natural to feel defensive and want to argue their point even more strongly to achieve dominance. But developers and QA should be clear of this approach, because building software requires cooperation, and not being fussy over differences of opinion.

The solution for this is to call a timeout and set a time later to calmly put off the dispute until later to discuss that topic when tempers have calmed down.

Facilitate clear and respectful communication

Open lines of communication between teams create a good team environment. Better communication helps to avoid misunderstandings, set expectations, and resolve issues. Therefore in managing conflicts, it is essential to communicate frequently and transparently with both teams, using methods that suit their preferences and needs.

However it is important to note that communication is not only about conversation, but it is about understanding and collaborating. Hence while communicating; also listen actively and empathetically to the team’s concerns and opinions. Avoid criticizing, judging, or insulting the other team; instead use positive and respectful language focusing on the problem, not the person.

Know the perspectives

Managing conflicts is also about understanding the different perspectives and motivations of the developers and the QA teams. Developers remain focused on creating new features, meeting deadlines, and solving technical challenges. While QA teams aim at testing, finding bugs, and ensuring that standards and requirements are met.

Fulfilling these goals can sometimes result in clashes, leading to frustration, blame, and anger.  Recognizing and respecting the different perspectives can help avoid taking things personally, resulting in appreciating the value that each team brings to the project.

Align roles and priorities

Conflicts can also be managed by defining roles and priorities for both teams. Roles and priorities are the basis for accountability and collaboration in software development. Team goals should be clear, consistent, and properly documented.

This conflict can be resolved by involving teams in the setting, what each team is expected to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound priorities to avoid later conflicts also works.

Learn and improve

Another way to resolve conflicts is to learn and improve from the experience. This means reflecting on the causes and outcomes of the conflicts, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the conflict resolution skills, and seeking feedback and advice from others. Learning and improving also include using the feedback to identify and address gaps, issues, and opportunities, as well as conducting sessions to discuss learned lessons with both teams, and use them to evaluate the process, and prevent or minimize future conflicts.

Look for common ground and solutions

Another way to manage conflict is to seek common ground and solutions that both developers and the QA team agreed upon, and that benefit them both. This means rather than focusing on the differences and disputes, bringing together the shared goals and values can also resolve conflicts.

Utilizing LambdaTest to empower the QA team and developers to work together

In addition to the above-mentioned ways to manage conflicts among QAs and developers, another underlying solution is providing a positive test environment to work together and increase collaboration and cooperation without getting into conflicts.

Test environment plays an important role in software testing. LambdaTest is an automated testing platform that provides a complete test environment with all the necessary resources needed, such as hardware resources, real browsers, devices, and operating systems for accurate testing. With LambdaTest, users can ensure that their tests are executed in the appropriate environments and that their application is thoroughly tested in various scenarios and conditions

LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and test execution platform that enables testers to run both manual and automated tests, for mobile and web applications at scale. The platform also allows performing both real-time and automation testing across 3000 environments, browsers such as Chrome and Safari browser online.  to speed up testing, improve the quality of their application, and faster release to market.

LambdaTest offers an extensive range of features to enhance test automation. The platform supports a variety of testing types, including parallel, end-to-end, API, regression, geolocation, cross-browser testing, and many more, allowing users to cover different aspects of their application’s quality.

LambdaTest also offers a wide range of debugging tools that make it easy to share and resolve bugs. This helps in creating real-time detailed test and debugging reports that enable teams to coordinate with each other and sort things out.

This platform also provides collaborative features, enabling teams to work together on test creation, execution, and analysis. Additionally, its expert support is always ready to assist whenever needed.


In conclusion, it can be said that both developers and testers contribute to developing a successful application that meets all the users’ requirements. Therefore following the above-mentioned tips for managing conflicts between developers and QA allows for innovation, improved productivity, increased transparency, and enhanced reliability.

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