Software Testing Reports: Why Your Testing Reports May Be Costing You

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If QA teams don’t make the most of their reporting efforts, they will squander a golden opportunity to enhance the quality of their software development practices.

The reporting phase of the software testing process is one of the most important aspects of quality assurance. Identifying critical bugs, defects and performance issues will not provide much value to the development team if there isn’t sufficient documentation outlining what the flaw is and how it can be reproduced. By taking a lax approach to reporting, QA teams will hinder their own testing efforts, costing the organization time and money.

Simply reporting on test results and discovered bugs isn’t enough. Software testers need to ensure that they are making the most of these efforts and providing actionable information to developers and other team members. Nothing is more frustrating to a QA expert than receiving a bug report that offers little insight into the nature of the flaw or how one can go about recreating it. Software Testing Fundamentals explained that one of the most important criteria for effectively reporting flaws is to be specific and detailed.

“Provide more information (not less),” the source stated. “In other words, do not be lazy. Developers may or may not use all the information you provide but they sure do not want to beg you for any information you have missed.”

Specificity is especially crucial when detailing how programmers can go about reproducing a defect. QA professionals should never assume that the audience of a testing report will fully understand what vague terms or phrases actually mean. When attempting to recreate a bug, sequence is critical, so every little step needs to be spelled out clearly.

Software Testing Fundamentals also urged testers to reproduce found defects before passing along a report to developers. The urge to notify team members of a lingering bug may be difficult to ignore, but QA experts should ensure that they have correctly defined the steps to take to recreate the flaw.

Consider Usability Issues & Metrics

Another factor that can sidetrack reporting processes is focusing exclusively on bug reports. Software flaws can encompass far more issues than those that might be considered classic bugs. End-user functionality should be the ultimate concern for QA teams, but they can often get bogged down identifying and correcting flaws that they may lose sight of that. A technically sound piece of consumer software that doesn’t provide much value to customers will fail once it has been released. Part of a QA unit’s responsibility is to help determine how functional a program is as a finished product. That involves stepping into the end users’ shoes and looking at software performance from that perspective.

QA teams can really get their money’s worth from reporting by effectively leveraging testing metrics. The information collected through bug reports and test results should never be used solely for identifying specific issues with a particular piece of software. As the Monterrey Software Quality Assurance Association noted, this data can provide a great deal of insight into the progress made on a given project. Furthermore, testing metrics help QA leaders measure the performance of their team members and determine how productivity could be improved in the future. If companies are not utilizing their software reports to collect and analyze testing metrics, they are squandering a golden opportunity to enhance the quality of their software development practices.



SanjaySanjay Zalavadia is the VP of Client Services for Zephyr, who offers a real-time, full-featured test management system. Learn more about Zephyr right here.

About the Author


As the VP of Client Service for Zephyr, Sanjay brings over 15 years of leadership experience in IT and Technical Support Services. Throughout his career, Sanjay has successfully established and grown premier IT and Support Services teams across multiple geographies for both large and small companies. Most recently, he was Associate Vice President at Patni Computers (NYSE: PTI) responsible for the Telecoms IT Managed Services Practice where he established IT Operations teams supporting Virgin Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile and Carphone Warehouse. Prior to this Sanjay was responsible for Global Technical Support at Bay Networks, a leading routing and switching vendor, which was acquired by Nortel. Sanjay has also held management positions in Support Service organizations at start-up Silicon Valley Networks, a vendor of Test Management software, and SynOptics.
Find out more about @sanjayzalavadia

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