Test status reporting is primarily the responsibility of the test engineers performing the test and it plays a vital role in the test phase of the software development lifecycle. It is important to track accomplishments, project issues, and pending tasks. Effective test status reporting notifies management and other members of the project team of test results, defects that are found during testing, and helps to determine the need for action items.
The main point of status reports is to indicate the state of the tests that were executed and all of the bugs found during that round of testing. It is helpful to be able to compare the testing process to a baseline plan and to weigh the quality of the system by the number of defects. When preparing a test status report, it would be useful to include information such as the number of test cases and their states, the number of defects found and their states, patterns and trends observed during testing, known risks, schedule changes, etc. Whenever possible, test status reports should provide information in terms of features, schedule, budget, and so on. For example, review the following statuses:
“Testing was completed and it was a disaster. There were tons of bugs, and most of them have not been fully evaluated yet. We are finding more bugs than we can fix so there is no way we will meet the upcoming deadline.”
“As of Thursday, we have run all 300 of the test cases planned for this week. Currently, the defect tracking system indicates a backlog of 150 defect reports that are listed as either open or assigned to a developer. We’ve seen and improvement in the number of defects being found. Last week we found 50 and this week the number of bugs found dropped to 15. But despite this improvement, I do not believe that we will meet the upcoming delivery milestone because the backlog and a slow fix rate for defects. We should consider the options that we have I changing the current schedule.”
The first test status does not offer useful details and implies that the project is in dire straits without proving it. The second status is more effective because it explains the test status in detail, provides numbers that help to quantify the observations, and assesses risk.
Two last items to keep in mind when creating test status reports is audience and frequency. Being overly technical with a non-technical audience will only serve to confuse the people receiving the information. Being too vague with a technical audience will not help them to determine their next steps. Test status reporting should also occur on a very regular basis (such as weekly or bi-weekly) in order to make sure information on progress and defects is up to date so that management can make decisions based on accurate information.
Sample Test Status Report Template
Prepared By: Name
Date of Preparation: Date
List of accomplishments such as amount of test cases completed, reduction in defects, etc.
List of issues that management and the team should know about. Also include items that may affect schedule, budget, etc.
Goal and Priorities:
List any pending action items, new tasks, goals for any upcoming rounds of testing, etc.
C) Defect status:
List of defects found and their current statuses