Question: If your results aren't visible, are you even testing?
I’ve seen so many occasions where testers do all the work, but the results stay locked up on their machines, not helping the project at all.
Sure, major issues are flagged, but there’s no chance to get the overall view of the project that only testing can provide.
In fact, I’m going to take it one step further: If you don’t communicate test results effectively, testing will fail, and your project with it.
Testers can struggle with reporting, for lots of reasons, including their own nature. But increasing visibility doesn’t have to be difficult…
Test Results Must Be Visible
Testing is critical in any software project, but only if the results are communicated effectively and quickly. This means in a clear and informative way, to the right people, at the right time. If you don't get the results out, was there any point in even running the test?
To effectively communicate test results, you need a firm grasp on all those factors. You need to know:
- How do they want the information?
- Who needs to be informed?
- When do they want to be informed?
I've been a tester for over 20 years. During that time, I've known hundreds of other testers. Sadly, most of us struggle when communicating, especially upwards in the hierarchy.
Communication Can Be Tricky for Testers
Nobody likes to report bad news - Despite what developers think, most testers really don't like to report failures. We don't spend our days praying that code doesn't work, we want a clean run. Nothing gives us more satisfaction than green ticks all the way down a test execution report.
Shooting the messenger - Also, as testers, we're often in the firing line when reporting failures. It's a classic case of 'shooting the messenger'. It's not testing's fault, but we often cop the initial flak. We're telling projects teams what they don't want to hear, and that's hard.
We're techies, geeks, and nerds - A lot of us are quite reserved, even introverted in many cases. We like sitting in front of a screen, churning through scenarios with our headphones on and without disturbances. Some of us struggle to proactively communicate issues, preferring to wait until we're asked.
The wrong test tools - It’s virtually impossible to provide project-level communication if you’re using Excel. I don’t care if you’re the most outgoing, in-your-face person, Excel will suck the life (and time) out of your test team. – Spreadsheet-based testing is a constant struggle against the tide; you’ve got to find results, aggregate data, and make sense of the information – only then can you start to communicate.
How to Increase Test Visibility
The good news is, with the right tools, test visibility is easy.
With a centralised, web-based test tool, information is at your fingertips. It makes life easy for your test team and the whole project will start to see the real benefits of testing, beyond just a tick box exercise.
Micro Focus offer 2 out-of-the-box solutions to simplify testing and reporting:
Both offer comprehensive reporting functionality, including prebuilt and customisable dashboards.
With dashboards, you take reporting out of your test team's hands, at least at a day-to-day level. Dashboards offer real-time visibility of test status. Dashboards ensure that testing is always up-to-date and importantly, always visible - even if your testers are hiding.
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