Monday, 21 April 2014

Test Reports

Problem: Lots of effort is spend on reporting, little is spend on reading them.

Churchill once said: ”This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.” Writing a long report is indeed an excellent strategy in case the goal is to avoid having an audience, delivering the right information is indeed hard.

Solution: Elevator pitch reporting and expectation management.

I admit that I have written extensive reports with lots of figures, metrics and long evaluations during my time as test manager in various organizations. Extensive reporting seems to be the solution if the reader really does not know what he wants or if the organisation uncritically uses a reporting template.

1st thing is to get the scope for the report in place. It is all about expectation management when dealing with those who are to receive the report. I recommend that you bring a suggestion to this session, or you will face the easy answer: “Just give us all the numbers you have…”

This is where the elevator pitch approach will help you. Less is more in in terms of test reports, it needs to be as short and precise as possible, focussing only at the core of things. In my experience this goes for both written and oral reporting, and will help you and the organization focus on the important issues. Furthermore you will save time writing the reports, and the reads will save time reading them.

Feel like you are being asked to report everything, and that nothing of the reported is being used? Ask this question to those asking for the reports: “What is this figure used for in the context where you are using the report?” If you get no answer, then there is a potential for LEANing your reporting. Engage your audience, and agree on a proper level of reporting, that saves time on writing and later reading the reports.

Happy Reporting!


No comments:

Post a Comment