Dimensions of a "good" test report

While working with James Bach a couple of weeks ago, I was asked to report my status while I was in the middle of my testing. After stuttering out some abstract bullet points (in no particular order), James stopped me and gave me some advice for how to deliver a test report.

James told me to consider the following dimensions:

  • Mission: This is what I'm trying to accomplish...

  • Coverage: I'm looking at this...

  • Risk: I'm looking for this...

  • Techniques: This is how I'm looking for it...

  • Environment: This is where, when, for how long, with who, and with what...

The results of those inputs are:

  • Status:

    • Where am I?

    • What have I found so far?

    • How much more do I have to do?

  • Obstacles:

    • Do I have any issues I need help with?

    • Is there anything I can't work around?

This advice was for both verbal and written reports. The report should cover the above dimensions and be at the appropriate level of specificity for the person asking.

We practiced different levels of specificity (which is something I need to practice more), but I think talking about that might become it's own blog post in the future.