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Wednesday
Oct122011

Submit an automated test that fails along with your bug report

We touched on this one before with this tip from Dave Christiansen, however the topic came up again at last month's IWST. Depending on the tools you use, you might consider attaching automated scripts to your defects. If you can find a bug, and then quickly record a simple script that recreates it, attach that and send it along with the defect report.

This tip was part of a brainstorm developed at the September 2011 Indianapolis Workshop on Software Testing on the topic of "Documenting for Testing." The attendees of that workshop (and participants in the brainstorm) included: Charlie Audritsh, Scott Barber, Rick Grey, Michael Kelly, Natalie Mego, Charles Penn, Margie Weaver, and Tina Zaza.


Monday
Oct102011

Leverage audio and video recording tools for bug reporting

In the past, we've shared a couple of tools for capturing desktop audio and video. In this post, we wanted to reinforce the idea of using audio and video recording tools for bug reporting. Instead of just submitting the steps to reproduce and a couple screenshots, try including a verbal description and show the bug or issue in action if that's possible. This often removes any ambiguity, and it can sometimes provide details to the development team that you may not have thought to mention (like the browser being used, or the screen resolution, etc).
This tip was part of a brainstorm developed at the September 2011 Indianapolis Workshop on Software Testing on the topic of "Documenting for Testing." The attendees of that workshop (and participants in the brainstorm) included: Charlie Audritsh, Scott Barber, Rick Grey, Michael Kelly, Natalie Mego, Charles Penn, Margie Weaver, and Tina Zaza.
Friday
Oct072011

Take photos of whiteboards and use those

It can take a lot of time to translate a whiteboard drawing into a Visio diagram. Sometimes it's worth the effort to do so:

  • you plan on making updates over time

  • you know that others will take the diagram and extend it in some way once you digitize it

  • it needs to be a polished presentation for some particular reason



But many times, these diagrams are for one-time use. We create them to communicate a particular detail of the project, and then for all intents they just sit there - stale. In these cases, resist the urge to create them in digital format. Just snap a picture of the whiteboard with your phone, email it to yourself, and use that photo in any follow up emails or documents. This can save tons of time, and create a culture of more agile documentation.

This tip was part of a brainstorm developed at the September 2011 Indianapolis Workshop on Software Testing on the topic of "Documenting for Testing." The attendees of that workshop (and participants in the brainstorm) included: Charlie Audritsh, Scott Barber, Rick Grey, Michael Kelly, Natalie Mego, Charles Penn, Margie Weaver, and Tina Zaza.


Wednesday
Oct052011

Start with a picture instead of words

Often when I go to document something complex, I try to draw it out on a whiteboard first. I then go over to someone else's whiteboard and draw it out again - recreating it from scratch and explaining it along the way. As I do this, I get their feedback. Then I go find someone else, and do it all over again.

I keep doing this for a couple of reasons. First, it helps me clarify my thinking on the topic before I start writing stuff down. Second, I'm shortcutting the feedback cycle by getting direct feedback on the concepts before I codify them with a bunch of words on paper. Both of these lead to documentation that has both fewer words (because I'm more succinct and often include my pictures) and fewer rounds of edits (because people have already given me their substantive feedback).

This tip was part of a brainstorm developed at the September 2011 Indianapolis Workshop on Software Testing on the topic of "Documenting for Testing." The attendees of that workshop (and participants in the brainstorm) included: Charlie Audritsh, Scott Barber, Rick Grey, Michael Kelly, Natalie Mego, Charles Penn, Margie Weaver, and Tina Zaza.


Tuesday
Oct042011

Make sure everyone understands what's actually needed

When you're trying to streamline your test documentation efforts, one aspect you should consider tackling early on is to get everyone involved into a room and to workflow what's actually needed by the various teams involved to be successful. This might include:

  • What documents do we need to create?

  • What sections do those documents really need?

  • How detailed do those sections really need to be?

  • What information do I need, to be able to write that section, and where do I get that information?

  • What information do others need from me to be successful in their documentation efforts?



Once you've worked through that process once, make sure you check back periodically (each iteration, quarterly, annually, etc) to make sure there's still value in what's being created and that everyone is still clear about what's needed from them.

This tip was part of a brainstorm developed at the September 2011 Indianapolis Workshop on Software Testing on the topic of "Documenting for Testing." The attendees of that workshop (and participants in the brainstorm) included: Charlie Audritsh, Scott Barber, Rick Grey, Michael Kelly, Natalie Mego, Charles Penn, Margie Weaver, and Tina Zaza.