How to deal with difficult developers?

Having a good relationship between developers and testers plays an important role in success of a project.

However, not all developers are easy to work with. I call these difficult developers.

These developers feel defensive when testers report a defect which the root cause may come from developer's code. As a result, they tend to reject defects from testers with reasons:

*No, it's not a bug. It's by design
*No user will ever do this steps
*Can't reproduce

So, my questions is what is your experience in dealing with these developers? What you did to have a good relationship with developers


  1. Phuoc Nguyen

    It’s really a tricky question because it depends on some keys in working environment as well as the process. It’s not only for developer but also QA/QC/PM or BA.
    Base on my experience, there’re some keys that I never forgot when working or dealing with another:
    1- Try NOT to take things personally.
    2- Ask questions rather than statements. I mean I curious why did they do that, or what’s the reasons which they think it’s true and we can discuss after that. It build our strong relationship and me too, I get many learnt from them.
    3- Try to research , understanding before I asking. Many times, an argument will develop because of communication breakdowns. When someone is talking, listen carefully and make sure I understand that person’s point before you respond. Likewise, make sure the other person understands my own point.
    4- Use appropriate phrases when needed. Absolutely, if we’re right, we have to fight for it, but with some appropriate phrases like “Please let me finish” when they always try to interrupt your explanation, or “We’re actually says the same thing”.

    Last but not least, my favorite quotes is “QC do not make software, they just make it better”. We’re on a team, so try to build relationship with other for aiming the common goal together, all of us will be happy when we ship a good product to our clients.

  2. Tri Nguyen

    @Thanh: Buy him a cup of coffee :). Just kidding.

    Yes, there are different kind of developers. Some are very nice and some NOT.
    We need to build a good relationship with both of them. In my opinion, i have some experiences on it.

    1. Raise a correct defect/bug, try to refer FD and quote to defect if any.
    2. Dont do a long dicussion with a fighting, try to ask for help from other like BA/PM
    3. Ask for help from other developer or ask other developer to discuss with that difficult developer for you.
    4. Dont try to talk to his PM/lead until discuss with him first. If after discussing with him, raise to your lead/PM and let them discuss for you or his lead/PM.
    4. If he doesnt want to talk, then discuss via mail and escalate if needed.

  3. Thanh Huynh


    Excellent tips.

    Many great points.

    Re: @Thanh: Buy him a cup of coffee :). Just kidding.
    > Well, sometimes what you simply need is just to buy him a coffee or lunch 😀

    Many great points provided. There’s one point I want to add is to *Understand your developers*.
    Try to figure out what’s type he is. He’s a type of developer who wants to discuss directly one-on-one, face-to-face or he wants to discuss… via email so that he has time to think and answer. The point is that we just can’t expect someone to be the same way as you’re. They are different. Put you into their shoes and see how things are going. When you understand your developer, you’ll know how to deal with.

    Please note that you don’t have to please developer just to have a good relationship. Put your project first and if things are going out of your control, just ask for help and like @Phuoc said, dont take it personally.

    P.s: Try make friend with developers. It’s pretty fun and you’ll learn a lot from them 😉

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