How to Spend Less Time Providing Software Testing Status Updates in the Enterprise

May 3, 2017

Do you spend too much time providing status updates in emails, calls, and meetings? Does your testing team often not have the information they need to get the job done? Here is how you can improve communication throughout the phases of software testing.

How to Improve Communication Throughout the Phases of Software Testing

Review Requirements Phase

Incomplete or inaccurate functional requirements are the root cause of most software defects. Agile and DevOps have proven the benefits of having testers on the development team.

Testers, developers, and product owners shouldn’t only communicate in sprint planning. There should be two-way communication throughout the lifecycle of the project. It is even more critical that there is effective two-way communication if QA is not Agile.

Reinforce Goals

Reinforcing business goals on a regular basis in the most effective way available. That means sending the message in the tools in which the team members live. It is easy to lose the forest for the trees during the testing and development process. That is why it is so important to communicate and reinforce the business goals of the project. Reviewing requirements in the context of the goal provides a better shared understanding. This makes it easier to:

  • Determine the desired system behavior

  • Highlight requirements that are not aligned with the business goal

It isn’t reasonable to expect stakeholders to log in to different tools. You need to rely on the tools they already use to communicate. Some teams may use tools such as Slack and others may have collaboration built into their system. The important thing is to connect your tools with the tools stakeholders use. You should also set up a process for reinforcing the business goals of a project.

Vet Requirements

Testers should receive requirements and changes to requirements in their test management tool. That way testers:

  • Always have the most up-to-date requirements

  • Can provide their expertise on requirements

The earlier that testers can review new or updated requirements:

  • The more effective meetings will be

  • The better the software will be

Again, the important thing is to connect your tools with the tools stakeholders use.

Capture and Share All Communications

Make communications about requirements available to everyone to:

  • Form a better shared understanding

  • Keep everyone from asking the same questions over and over

Don’t rely on note taking during meetings. Instead, record meetings and have them transcribed. There are several effortless, low-priced transcription services available online. Then, post the transcript where all team members can access it.

Planning and Designing Tests Phase

Capture and Share All Questions

Testers should be able to post questions to all project stakeholders. This provides all stakeholders the opportunity to give their feedback. It also provides testers the best opportunity to receive the best feedback.

Share Test Cases

Stakeholders should receive test cases and changes to test cases in the tools they use to:

  • Always have the most up-to-date test cases

  • Be able to provide their expertise

Test Execution

Capture and Share All Communications

The size of the testing team may change, particularly during the test execution phase. Before test execution there may only be a single test lead on the team. During test execution, you may need more team members. Providing new team members access to prior communications will help them:

  • Get up to speed quicker

  • Save the test lead and stakeholder from having to answer the same questions

  • Share the proper context with all team members

Capture and Share Rich Context

Describing the behavior of a defect can be challenging. Ambiguity can lead to friction between the QA and development teams. Providing rich context speeds up defect documentation and resolution. Look for tools that can help you capture:

  • Environment details

  • Testing steps

  • Screenshots

  • Video

Those tools should also make it easy to annotate the screen shots and video.

Capture and Share All Questions

Again, testers should be able to post their questions to all project stakeholders. This is very important during test execution.

Stakeholders should be also able to post questions about defects to the testing team. This keeps testers aware of the progress of resolving the defects so that they can prepare to retest.

Share Test Defects

Stakeholders should receive recorded defects in the tools they use. This will help them to resolve defects faster. Again, connect your test management software with the tools other teams use.

Reporting to Stakeholders

Stakeholders should receive reports about the progress of testing activities. Reports should include:

  • Test plan status

  • Test documentation status

  • Test execution status

  • Pass Percentage of the test cases

  • Defects density

  • Critical defects percentage

  • Defect severity

Performance Review

Stakeholders should receive reports on the:

  • Risks

  • Forecast

  • Progress

  • Productivity

  • Predictability

  • Capacity

Report progress in the context that matters to a stakeholder. A product owner may care about the progress as it relates to a particular feature. An executive may care about the progress of his portfolio. A good test management tool should provide you the ability to track and report on these items.


I hope this article has inspired you to take a closer look at how your team communicates. Communication is the springboard for improving enterprise software testing, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The current IT landscape is complicated -- teams are geographically dispersed, businesses are migrating to the cloud, and emerging methodologies like Agile and DevOps are gaining speed. In this fragmented ecosystem, it can be difficult to evaluate or glean any coherent insights from your testing activities. In addition to offering a comprehensive SaaS solution for release and environment management, Plutora also provides test metrics throughout the enterprise. Powerful reporting and analytics tools organize and feed real-time data to reports and dashboards allowing testers, stakeholders and decision makers to know progress and results at any given moment. Get every team in your organization on the same page with Plutora.


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