Although test report documents are traditionally associated with Waterfall, they can also contribute to the Agile development process.
A test report summary contains full details of the environments where the code was tested, who tested it, when it was tested, and how it was tested. The document serves as a physical log that records exactly what code was tested, in what system configuration the code was tested, and any bugs that occurred during testing.
While some IT organizations create test reports longer than 20 pages, the length of the document is subjective. The overall purpose of the test report summary is to record the actions and results of a test. This allows the team to make informed decisions about procedural improvements that can be made for future testing. Often a development team can use test reports for internal audits following a customer complaint, but these reports should be done regularly during the testing process to create better software in every development cycle. .
In Agile development, the test report summary represents a record of the test execution. Compared to its companion Waterfall, this version is less formal and focuses more on results.
Let’s take a look at the basic components of writing a test report and why such a summary can be useful in Agile software development.
What’s in a test report?
Before creating a test report, the writer should determine the target audience and why the report is needed. For example, if an application requires an audit trail for regulatory reasons, the test report writer will likely need to include more specific data. If the target audience is senior management and they want to understand what the team tested for each release, the writer can include a summary outlining the main functions tested. Or, if the report is no longer an audit that will not be read by anyone unless a critical bug is detected, the writer can structure the report to include only technical information. Download a test summary report template here.
While these summaries should all include the same basic information needed for the target audience, there is no formula for test reports. Testers can add or subtract data as needed to achieve the purpose of the test report. Here are four main components every tester should include when writing a test report.
Objective of the test. The focus of the test is what type of test the team and its testers perform, and why. For example, if the test report covers functional testing, regression testing, and performance testing, the test report writer will need to describe the goal for each type of test.
In most cases, regression testing is the primary goal of running the test. The goal of regression testing can vary, but a team typically performs flaw detection after developers add new feature code to an existing code base. Regression tests are carried out before any new version and vary in duration and depth of test. If a team’s regression testing includes onboarding, performance, or other types of testing, the writer should state the purpose of each test specifically in the objective section of the report.
Test cases, test coverage and execution details. The next element on how to write a test report is to explain the test suite. Specifically, indicate what type of test was run, where it is stored, and when it was run. The test report writer can also add the name of the QA professional who performed the test, but this is not a specific requirement. Instead, it’s more important to include the how / what / why and the actual test results.
The author should indicate how many tests were run, passed, failed, or skipped in this section. Skipped tests represent tests that a team scheduled but missed either because of time constraints or because the tests were stuck reporting defects. In such cases, teams should also include the amount of code they tested. A team can use test management tools and applications to specify the amount of code tested by their QA professionals. If such tools are not available, contact the development team for an estimate of test coverage.
Execution details, whether a tester manually logs or a test management program follows, include who tested the code and when and where it was tested. A test report writer has some flexibility in how to view data and details; it often depends on the number of tests performed by a team. The test report can include a general data grid to display the information or another data report. Again, there is no defined rule for how this information is included in a test report. Writers use their own judgment.
Number of faults. Another important aspect is to document the defects detected by the testers. This section is vital for post-test analysis, which means test report writers shouldn’t just list bug identification numbers. They should include a brief description of each bug to save time later. However, the author will not necessarily need to list all the bugs found during testing. The report writer may consider waiting for the product management team to confirm the existence of a bug or defect before including it in the test report.
Testers should carefully review the list of faults to verify that they are not re-reporting known bugs or bugs already in the repair book. The data in this section should focus on the defects found in the indicated version, organized by their priority. Defects and bugs are always detected, but it is their priority and severity that determines whether the version is sent to customers or whether it is held for repair.
Test platform and environment configuration details. The configuration and test environment section is tricky. Details are important, but test report writers should also consider security and compliance when sharing information about an app’s code. The author should assume that the target audience generally understands the testing system; this is not the place to reveal details about an application’s servers and code storage.
Once the writer shares the test report, there is no guarantee that it will be stored safely. Indicate the name of the server and the dates, but keep the basic data.
If the configuration was not standard, the writer should also include this information. The standard configuration should be documented within the test team for reference.
For example, if during the test the configuration changes and causes faults, a writer should include this information in the test report. Someone can analyze the effect this has on the extent or depth of the defects and the overall test coverage.
Understand who a test report is for
The importance of the test report really depends on the needs of a particular business. It’s a handy document for tracking test results by release so members of an IT organization know what has been tested and when. Whether it is a formal document or a simple summary of what has been done, a test report contributes to better software development.