Five Simple Steps to Write an Engaging QA Report

Evgeniy Brik

Evgeniy Brik

Head of QA at Andersen

Quality Assurance
Dec 8, 2020
4 minutes to read
  1. Be person-oriented
  2. Exercise a ‘user-friendly’ style
  3. Remember the action plan
  4. Include prescribed information
  5. Give an assessment

A Quality Assurance Report is a must-have component of the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC). It makes the product testing process and results completely transparent to the project customer and to the rest of the team working on the software. A well-prepared report determines whether the application is ready to release or not, based on the data concerning its quality. It also improves QA team management as it uncovers its weak points and helps to avoid them in the future.

Writing a professional report is a more difficult and responsible task than it might seem at first glance. Not every QA specialist can create a report which will be both informative for technical specialists and understandable for the management on the first try. That is because a professionally prepared document shows the product quality and demonstrates your QA engineers’ expertise to the company’s executives.

Make use of our guide for QA reporting; for example, daily reports that reflect an interim stage of testing or test summary reports after the completion of the whole testing process. A good practice is to provide a sprint test report if you use Scrum. QA reporting is also conditional on the type of tests. Functional, integration, unit, and usability testing - all of them have very different goals and focus on different aspects of the app. No matter what type of testing you carry out, there are some attributes your report should have and data it must include. Below is a guide of five simple steps that will make your QA reporting effective.

Be person-oriented

Experts with different roles in a team are unlikely to look at one issue the same way. Product managers are focused on the further release of the app. So for them, the issue of compliance or non-compliance of the test results with the exit criteria will be highly important. Developers expect a QA report to be ‘bug-based’, as their task is to remove them with regard to your observations. Lastly, QA managers are most concerned about organizing the work of QA engineers, depending on their operational efficiency and project scope. That is why the percentage of tests performed and defects detected is of high priority to them. Taking all this into account, try to emphasize the information relevant for the team members you are reporting to.

Exercise a ‘user-friendly’ style

Whoever reviews your statement, it should as far as possible be:

  • Сompact. Avoid abundant and abstract data that are needless to make progress in product development.
  • Easy-to-understand. Choose full words over abbreviations that are typically used only within your department. Change intricate terms to generally comprehensible expressions.
  • Illustrative. Reinforce your figures with graphs, charts, and screenshots. Highlight the completed tasks in green, and the cases that require immediate action in red.
  • Honest. Never conceal one piece of information to draw attention to another. Always double-check the accuracy of the calculations. Write up the risks of the product and its readiness to release.

Remember the action plan

In order to be of practical use, your report should be business-driven. It means that following the report, the manager will know whether the product is ready for release or not and what revenue to expect out of the project. The data should also make clear where more resources are needed and where to reduce expenditure. In addition, the overall amount of tests, the number of successfully performed tests, and the time spent to accomplish the tasks allow the executive to evaluate expert knowledge and the work efficiency of the QA department. For this reason, a good QA report should contain not only the facts but also certain actions to perform.

Include prescribed information

We strongly recommend QA engineers to indicate the following data in every statement:

  • the details of the product, e.g. its name and version;
  • the duration of the test cycle according to the report;
  • the testing environment, such as test server model, OS version, hardware type, resolution, and other relevant features;
  • the information on the testing itself, namely the types of tests performed, their total number, how many tests were successful and how many failed, how long one test cycle takes, etc.;
  • the information about errors and detected bugs by modules of product, corrected issues, etc.;
  • a list of tests that couldn’t be run and the reasons why;
  • assessment on whether the product meets the exit criteria and suggestions for improvements, if any.

Of course, the document can include some additional information, but the points mentioned above are expected to be there.

Give an assessment

There is hardly any use of bare figures. What is the good of the number of defects detected without further explanation of their consequences? The executive won’t perceive whether they are major or minor and whether they can proceed with the project as it is or not. And what's the point of specifying the ratio of tests passed and failed? There is none if the project manager won’t understand whether the testing can be finalized or not. So don’t just mention the issues - access their criticality and significance as well. Particularly, focus on the exit criteria that were not met and the effect likely to result from it.

Remember that a well-thought-out QA report is not only about what you draw the manager’s attention to but also about the current condition of the product. Take advantage of our guide to make your reports even better.

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Evgeniy Brik, Head of QA at Andersen