This seems like an obvious question and many people have successfully conquered it and set up a standard for reporting. Every once in a while it falls apart and people get blindsided by extra requests that they did not expect but for the most part it works fairly well.
We first mentioned this question a couple of weeks ago. The obvious and simple answer is to provide what your stakeholders want to have provided. The only issue with that statement is that we find a lot of stakeholders:
- Do not always know what they want at the beginning of a project.
- Change their minds as the project changes it risk profile (Stakeholders start taking more interest as the project risk increases and commensurately less interest as the project risk decreases)
Since testers and Quality Assurance personnel are in the ‘Risk Reduction’ business we are in a good position to answer that question for them. As part of the anlysis of the project and the required testing, we will be judging the risk of the project and concentrating our testing on that. So we have a handle on the overall risk profile at the start. We can start with a level of reporting reflecting that risk profile.
Since Software Testers and Quality Assurance personnel are also the ‘canary in mine’ when things start to go wrong, we can ramp up the reporting preemptively when things start to go wrong. For example, if there is a sudden surge in severe defects in a project, then we can start providing more information and recommendations.
Most of the above seems obvious but when you are busy testing, the temptation is to leave the reporting at the same level (or even reduce it when we are busy). That is the exact opposite of what is needed.
Next week – Some specifics for reporting.