Why should you care about transparency of your testing?
Software testing is a crucial part of software development. It is a critical process to identify and evaluate whether the developed product meets a requirements specification and customers’ expectations or not. Thanks to software testing, a company or an organisation is able to deliver an excellent and bug-free product. We all perfectly realise that without this process, we would not be able to catch any mistakes before they snowball into a larger issue.
Why transparency is important
For testing – as well as for every stage of software development – transparency is the key to success. Why? Well, first of all, we have to remember that although creating a digital product involves many people with different roles, their goal should be the same: released software of a highest quality. In order to achieve that, it is necessary to maintain open and honest communication of a project’s status to eliminate unpleasant surprises. It is very important to promote open communication about testing progress between a project manager and their team as well as between software testers and developers. It keeps project and task velocity visible and traceable from start to finish. Everyone is encouraged to track project goals and ensure the realization of deadlines – at every step of the way.
In fact, every testing activity is essentially an exercise in increasing transparency. When you report a bug, you inform the team about something that was previously unknown. There are a few ways in which a tester can increase the transparency of the system under test, e.g. monitoring, code reviews and logging. Apart from that, an important thing is a way the team shares information with each other: the types of interactions between team members and the willingness to share information within the team.
Obstacles on the way
However, it turns out that preserving a satisfying level of transparency of testers’ work is still quite hard. In many companies, testing and engineering processes are not properly integrated with each other. There is the tendency to split up the development tasks and issues dedicated to QA specialists, which became a non-written standard for test management software, often resulting in creating two separate work streams unintentionally. That’s why setting up a transparent process to get everyone on the same page becomes so hard. And it is true for both big teams working across different locations and the smaller ones that might be sitting in the same room – but who work with different tools.
Finding the solution
There are no doubts: in order to deliver satisfactory results in software testing, the whole team has to be on the same page and each member must feel equally involved in the process. The undisturbed information flow between testers, developers and the whole business team is crucial to avoid even the slightest misinformation. Especially as the latter, as we all know, may be responsible for the project failure in the end. If you want to promote transparent communication in your company or organization, you should think of implementing one consistent information system. Basically, it means deciding on one proven and effective tool for conducting the testing process.
We suggest you take a look at SolDevelo’s QAlity Plus – Test Management for Jira. It removes the knowledge barrier between developers and software testers and boosts transparency in projects. Besides standard test management features, it offers easier collaboration and may help your team stay focused on a common goal.
Why transparency boosts efficiency
Obviously, a transparent testing process will help to release a product of great quality, which, in fact, is what all team members and managers aim for. By allowing for collaborative feedback throughout the whole engineering process, you support testers and QA engineers in their everyday job. Project managers or product owners should be able to take a closer glimpse at the team’s testing efforts whenever they want to. When it comes to developers, it’s really helpful when they can obtain better project understanding while looking from testers’ perspective.
Transparency enables the inspection of the testing process and therefore its improvement (e.g. by reviewing test cases, test execution frequency, etc.). That’s why when using e.g. QAlity Plus, you can create Test Cases right inside other Jira issues so that the test steps and test data are all visible in one place. This way, information usually accessed mainly by testers, becomes a natural complement to a given task. Both developers’ and testers’ knowledge is kept in a single place which facilitates collaboration. It, on the other hand, helps close assignments with regards to the actual requirements and highest quality standards.
What’s more, transparency allows identifying most error-prone parts of the application, such as most failing tests, most bugs created, etc. For example, in QAlity Plus, bugs can be reported right from the Test Execution screen. It contains well-organized and useful data that allow to quickly assess whether a particular test case causes defects frequently or not. This helps the team to analyze these parts of the system that are especially vulnerable and take necessary steps to improve those areas.
Last but not least, transparency helps to demonstrate the work that was done so that there are no misunderstandings. It is exactly the reason why the Test cycle summary in QAlity Plus was created. Thanks to a quick overview of the work done as well as the test execution report, it provides us with important details from previous executions to make sure that nothing is missed. What’s equally important, it helps to avoid unnecessary work.
Software testing is without any doubt, not an easy game. There are many parts of the process that can simply fail and testers have to face lots of difficulties from the very beginning. Some of them are related to communication problems. And as we know, there’s no good communication without transparency. Transparency produces a trustful environment and simpler collaboration – both among the QA team and with others responsible for the development and release process. By giving individuals visibility into all parts of the testing process, we enable constant feedback early on in the process and help everybody’s work be connected to the project as a whole. This, in turn, results in a bug-free and useful end product.