Using Software Testing Checklists to Ensure Software Quality – Sample Checklists Included

Software Testing QA Checklists:

Today we bring to you another quality tool that is so often underused that we thought we would rehash details about it in the hope that it regains its lost glory. It is ‘Check List’.

Definition:  A check list is a catalog of items/tasks that are recorded for tracking. This list could be either ordered in a sequence or could be haphazard.

Check lists are part and parcel of our daily lives. We use them in various situations from grocery shopping, to having a to-do list for the day’s activities.

QA checklist

As soon as we get to office, we always make a list of things to do for that day/week, like below:

  1. Fill time sheet
  2. Finish documentation
  3. Call the offshore team at 10:30 am
  4. Meeting at 4 pm….etc.

As and when an item in the list is done, you strike it off, remove it from the list or check the item off with a tick – to mark its completion.  Isn’t it all too familiar to us?

However, is that all it can be used for?

Can we use checklists in our IT projects formally (specifically QA) and if yes, when and how? This is what is going to be covered below.

I personally advocate the use of checklists for the following reasons:

  1. It is versatile  – can be used for anything
  2. Easy to create/use/maintain
  3. Analyzing results (task progress/completion status) is super easy
  4. Very flexible – you can add or remove items as needed

As is the general practice we will talk about the “Why” and “How” aspects.

  • Why do we need checklists? : For tracking and assessing completion (or non-completion). To make a note of tasks, so that nothing is over looked.
  • How do we create checklists? : Well, this could not be simpler. Simply, write everything down point by point.

Example checklists for QA processes:

As I mentioned above, there are some areas in the QA field where we can effectively put the check list concept to work and get good results. Two of the areas that we will see today are:

  1. Test readiness review
  2. When to stop testing or Exit criteria checklist

Here is another good example of test execution checklist:

=> Testing Checklist

Test Readiness Review:

This is a very common activity that is performed by every QA team to determine whether they have everything they need to proceed into the test execution phase. Also, this is a recurring activity before each cycle of testing in projects that involve multiple cycles. In order to not run into issues after the testing phase begins and realize that we entered the execution phase prematurely, every QA project needs to conduct a review to determine that it has all the inputs necessary for successful testing.

A check list facilitates this activity perfectly.  It lets you make a list of ‘things-needed’ ahead of time and to review each item sequentially. You can even reuse the sheet once created for subsequent test cycles too.

Additional info: Test Readiness Review is generally created and the review is performed by the QA team representative. The results are shared to the PMs and the other team members to signify whether the test team is ready or not to move into the test execution phase.

The below is an example of a sample Test Readiness Review checklist:

Test Readiness Review (TRR) Criteria

Status

------------

 All the requirements finalized and analyzed   Done
 Test plan created and reviewed   Done
 Test cases preparation done
 Test case review and sign off
 Test data availability
 Smoke testing
 Sanity testing done?
 Team aware of the roles and responsibilities
 Team aware of the deliverables expected of them
 Team aware of the communication protocol
 Team’s access to the application, version controlling  tools, test management
 Team’s trained
 Technical aspects- server1 refreshed or not?
 Defect reporting standards are defined

 

Now, all you have to do with this list is mark done or not done.

Exit Criteria Checklist:

As the name indicates, this is a check list that aids in the decision making of whether a testing phase/cycle should be stopped or continued.

Since, a defect free product is not possible and we will have to make sure that we test to the best extent possible in the given amount of time – a check list of the below effect is created to track the most important criteria that needs to be met to deem a testing phase satisfactory.

Exit Criteria

Status

 100% Test Scripts executed   Done
 95% pass rate of Test Scripts
 No open Critical and High severity defects
 95% of Medium severity defects have been closed
 All remaining defects are either cancelled or documented as Change Requests for a future release
 All expected and actual results are captured and documented with the test script  Done
 All test metrics collected based on reports from HP ALM
 All defects logged in HP ALM  Done
 Test Closure Memo completed and signed off

 

Points to note:

  1. The above two are examples to show case the use of checklists to QA processes, but the usage is not limited to these two areas.
  2. The items in each list are also indicators to give an idea to the readers about what sort of items can be included and tracked – however, the list can be expanded and/or compacted as needed.

We really hope that the above examples have been successful in bringing forward the potential of checklists to QA and IT processes.

So, the next time you are in need for a simple tool that is semi-formal, simple and efficient, we hope we have oriented you towards giving checklists a chance. Sometimes, the simplest solution is the best.

Author: This is an article by STH team member Swati Seela.

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11 comments ↓

#1 smita

yes checklists are very useful if used properly. we use fo automation. can you share some tips for automation checklist?

#2 Mujahid

This is a very helpful article. Checklists are very helpful in completing and tracking the tasks progress. A well planned checklist will not let the QA Engineers to miss any thing.

#3 Archana V

Checklists are very useful when we follow it religiously. We use checklists for DTP, DTS, DTR and all other client deliverable.

#4 Bibhu

Hi Swati,

There are 2 items in the Exit Criteria with 95% which is acceptable only when a proper rationale is provided for the same. This is mandatory when quality and regulations standards are in place.

I feel both Entry and Exit checklist should contain a Remarks column to state the proper rationale for any deviations in defined criteria’s.

#5 Tester

Nice artical…

#6 Swati Seela

@Bibhu: The exit criteria list and the readiness review list provided in this article are merely examples to showcase 2 very practical situations you can use it in a QA world. If in your case, it makes sense to include the explanation column, by all means you can do so, since checklists are so expandable. I hope that helps….

#7 Essam

Hi every body i need help i want to be a tester and i do not know how i should start so please give me a hand if any one can help and thank you.

#8 Jack Joseph

Hi,
Can you give the sample test cases for load testing
(1.no of visitors the portal can handle
2. Number of logged in users performing various actions via web and via mobile. ie those who

are using web navigation and API. )

#9 Alchemist

Great post.. really helpful!

#10 sarah

can u please give me example of test case for any vending machine .simple

#11 Vinay

We use process street to manage our software QA checklists for releasing our own software and it works great.

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