“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”
That was written by Louis Brandeis in 1913 and still holds true today. When you remove the dark shadows, it's much harder to hide.
Software Projects are Full of Dark Corners
Unfortunately, software projects can be easy places for bugs to hide – testers can be tempted to misreport or hide bad results – meaning you don’t get an accurate picture of quality until it’s too late. As ‘Fastly’ realised, even a single, small, unreported bug can be enough to cause absolute chaos.
Test Management tools like Quality Centre/ALM and Octane shine a disinfecting light on your whole project. They centralise information, remove hiding places and highlight bugs and areas of your application that have not been sufficiently tested before you go live.
Testing Relies on Open and Honest Communication
Test execution and defect reporting rely on open and honest information exchange. Testers carry out tests, test leads aggregate results into reports, test managers aggregate reports and share them with the project. By the time it gets to the final audience, the information has been processed a few times.
But What if Results are… Misreported?
But what if testers misreport or even hide results? It’s easy to do if you’re not using test management tools. Especially when the results are hidden away in spreadsheets in their own folders on network drives, or even their own machines. Testers can misreport these results and nobody on the project would be any the wiser.
Why Your Testers Might Hide Results
Unfortunately, testers do sometimes hide results. I’m not saying it’s common, but I was a tester and test manager for many years, and I’ve seen it happen. So, why would they do this?
Well, there are a few reasons, including pressure from bosses, or a sense of responsibility for delays. It’s also possible they don’t want to bear bad news - they’re only human after all.
Let’s pick out 2 relatively common reasons why testers might hide results:
1. Marking Their Own Homework
You might have heard the phrase, marking your own homework. Meaning that testers working for system Integrators have a vested interest in their software passing. They are not independent and are likely to be more lenient. I’ve even seen testers told to “just pass it” – this later caused crippling issues in production, as there could be a payment dependent on delivery.
2. Sometimes It’s Easier Just to Pass a Test
Human nature often gets in the way of transparent testing. Sometimes it’s just easier for them to report a pass. I’ve even seen occasions where testers pass tests without running them.
- Testers don't want to be responsible for delaying project.
- Testers get more satisfaction from green ticks than defects.
- Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news
Then put yourself in the thick of a busy project, with deadlines looming, and a lack of test visibility… some testers prefer to just bury inconvenient truths, creating skeletons that will come back to haunt you.
Remove Hiding Places With Test Management Tools
Again, I’m not saying it’s common for testers to hide results. But how many times does it need to happen on a project? Just once can be enough to result in a live outage.
Rather than relying on your testers, you can implement simple systems to eliminate the hiding places - You can use test management tools to shine a light on your project.
Centralise All Your Information For Easy Access
You’re not relying on Excel reporting, or on email exchanges. Your testers aren’t digging into their files to pull out results. Your results are there for the whole project to interrogate, with traceability – complete with screenshots, execution times, actual results, even the machines they were executed on.
With test management tools you make it easier for your testers to test, and much harder for anyone to hide inconvenient results.
Test Management Tools Give You Incredible Visibility
It’s not just test results though. With test management tools everybody on your project has complete visibility of vital project information, including:
- Your test progress - which specific tests have passed or failed
- Your test execution details - who ran the test, what steps they took, what their exact results were
- Your open defects - mapped to your tests and requirements - The specific, detailed and auditable issues that your team needs to resolve
- Your test coverage matrix - which tests cover which requirements
- Progress against your business requirements - what you need the system to do
Eliminate Bugs before Go-Live: Disinfect Your Project with Test Management Tools
Without test management tools, even the most conscientious people can hide uncomfortable test results, whether political, personal or due to project pressure. This misreporting can create a false view of quality and will cause failures in your production systems. Even a single bug slipping through can be enough to cause chaos.
Tools like Quality Center/ALM and Octane remove this problem. They centralise your test information and give you complete visibility and transparency. They remove the hiding places and providing direct access to the latest test information, free from human bias and open for everyone to interrogate.
Test Management Tools Let You Easily Assess Software Quality
You will know when you can go live, and where you need to focus project effort to address any issues.
For something this important, do you really want to rely on word and excel?
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