Software Testing Status Reporting:
“The agreement that a certain information, in a certain format, will be sent by a certain team/individual , at certain intervals of time, to certain members – is like a handshake- an acknowledgement that no matter what the outcome of a task at hand, you would be kept posted about it, sooner than later.”
This is the first section of an IT professional’s oath. Well, I’m kidding! There is no oath, but if there was one, this would surely top the list of items in it. Isn’t it?
Accountability and transparency (A & T) are essential to every IT project at various levels – Project level, team level, task level and also individual level. How do we make sure that these attributes are met? The answer is – communicating, more formally- status reporting!
At an individual level, don’t we all send reports, mostly, EOD everyday to communicate the accomplishment (or non-accomplishment) of your daily duties. This goes to prove that, you actually “are” aware of what your duties were to start with.
Daily Status Report
The information that needs to be a part of an individual’s “Daily status report” is:
- What did you do today?
- What are you planning to do tomorrow?
- Did you face any issues during your day? If yes, how did you resolve them or are they still open?
- Do you need any inputs for tomorrow? If yes, from whom and what are they?
The recipient of this email/report is generally the manager, also the team members can be CC’ed in some cases – this depends on the communication protocol the team follows.
Now, it’s time to get specific and learn all about the reports that Testing/QA teams send.
Testing teams send out various reports at different phases in the STLC.
- Test plan status
- Test documentation status
- Test execution status(defect status)
Test Plan: It is enough to communicate with the rest of the project teams, when a test plan is created or when a major change is made to it.
Test documentation – Let all the teams know when the designing of the tests, data gathering and other activities have begun and also when they are finished. This report will not only let them know about the progress of the task but also signal the teams that need to review and provide signoff on the artifacts, that they are up next.
Test execution– Execution is the phase of a project when the testing team is the primary focus – positively and negatively – we are both the heroes and the villains.
A typical day during a test cycle is not done, unless the daily status report is sent out. In some teams, they could agree on a weekly report, but having it sent daily is the norm.
It is also not uncommon to have a status meeting everyday (or week) to present the QA team’s status to the concerned parties.
Hence, the mode of a status report can be:
- Both – daily email and weekly meeting or so.
Test Execution Status Report
Daily/Weekly Test Execution Report:
What is it? Generally, this is a communication sent out to establish transparency to the QA team’s activities of the day during the test cycle – includes both defect information and test case run information.
Who should it go to? – Normally, Development team, Environment support team, Business analyst and the project team are the recipients/meeting participants. The Test plan is the best place for you to find this information.
What does a test execution status report contain? – 10 points
- Number of test cases planned for that day
- Number of test cases executed – that day
- Number of test cases executed overall
- Number of defects encountered that day/and their respective states
- Number of defect encountered so far/and their respective states
- Number of critical defects- still open
- Environment downtimes – if any
- Showstoppers – if any
- Attachment of the test execution sheet / Link to the test management tool where the test cases are placed
- Attachment to the bug report/link to the defect/test management tool used for incident management
The above 10 points, if you notice closely is the raw data. Reporting the facts is one thing and reporting some ‘smart’ facts is another. How do we refine this information?
– Shows the overall status with a color indicator. Eg: Green – on time, Orange- Slightly behind but can absorb the delay, Red- Delayed.
– Include some simple metrics like: Pass % of test cases so far, defect density, % of severe defects; by doing this you are not just giving numbers, you are actually providing a glimpse of the quality of the product that you are testing.
– If a significant phase is complete- highlight that.
– If there is a critical defect that is going to block all/a part of future execution- highlight that.
– If using a presentation, make sure to include some graphs to make a better impact.
For example, the below graph is a representation of the number of open defects, module-wise:
Apart from these, you can also optionally include:
– What are the activities planned next?
– Do you need any inputs from any of the other teams and if so, what?
Lastly, few pointers to help the process along:
- Be concise at the same time complete
- Make sure the results you report are accurate
- Use bulleted points to make the report very readable
- Double check to include the right date, subject, to list and attachments.
- If the report is too big and has too many factors to report: place it in a common location as a file and send a link in the email instead of the file itself.(Be sure the recipients have access permissions to this location and the file)
- If it is a status meeting – Be prepared for the presentation, arrive on time and most importantly, maintain an even tone (don’t be too proud of the defects – they are in general “bad news”).
Sample Status Report
QA Testing Status Report:
Following these guidelines, we arrived at the below status report.
For the convenience of our readers we have included 3 sheets conveying different levels of information that they can convey.
Sheet 1 – is like a summary of the overall status of the project.
Sheet 2 – is more about the individual detail of the test cases status.
Sheet 3 – is a sample bug report.
Download this Sample Status Report xls Template with all three sheets. (Right click on the link and select ‘Save link as..’ to download)
About author – This is an article by STH team member Swati Seela. You can know more about her on our Software Testing Course Page.
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