How to Create Actionable Test Management Reports

  February 10, 2023

Software tests are essential to prevent bugs and create robust user experiences. But building and managing these tests presents its own challenges that often fly under the radar. Fortunately, test management reports can provide visibility into test coverage and performance, making it easier to identify problem areas and ensure test suites run smoothly.

This article will explore the different types of test management reports and how to make them valuable and actionable.

Test management reports can provide visibility into test coverage and surface problem areas with your test suites, keep everyone across the team on the same page, and ensure your test suites run smoothly.

Why You Need Test Reporting

High-quality software is essential to creating great user experiences. After all, it only takes a single crash or frustrating bug to deter new customers or lose existing customers. At the same time, maintaining high-quality software is much easier, enabling engineers to focus on building new features rather than tracking down bugs.

Test management reports help visualize test performance across a software project. For example, they might track test coverage, bugs per sprint, or resource usage. Using this information, teams can better understand the effectiveness and shortcomings of their test suites while measurably improving quality and coverage over time.

In particular, test management reports can help:

  • Track progress – Test management reports provide insights into the number of test cases run and the overall pass/fail rate. Using this information, teams can track progress and identify areas where testing lags behind schedule.
  • Identify issues – Test management reports can highlight areas where tests fall short. For example, a high number of test cases might fail in one place, or there may be a high percentage of test cases resulting in bugs in another area.
  • Improve coverage– Test management reports show what percentage of code is covered by tests. That way, teams can identify where test coverage may fall short and develop a plan to improve coverage and enhance quality assurance.
  • Communicate results – Test management reports provide an easy way to communicate test performance to non-technical stakeholders, including managers and customers. As a result, everyone is always on the same page.

3 Must-Have Test Reports

Test management reports can provide a wealth of data, but the key is identifying what’s most impactful. In most cases, the type of report needed depends on the end user (e.g., a manager or tester). For example, managers might want a trend report showing high-level test performance, while testers may be more interested in what’s next in their queue.

The three test report types are incident reports, cycle reports, and summary reports.

Test Incident Report

Test incident reports communicate any defects or issues as they occur. For example, a test incident report might arise due to a bug in a test case that causes the test to fail. Each test incident report typically will have a unique identifier and, importantly, a priority level, making it easy for managers to assign them and testers to fix them in a logical order.

Zephyr’s Top Defects Impacting Testing report provides actionable information for test engineers looking for their next steps. Source: Zephyr

For example, Zephyr’s Top Defects Impacting Testing report (above) shows a list of defects stopping most executions from passing. By prioritizing these defects by impact, these actionable reports show test managers and testers exactly where they should focus their efforts.

Test Cycle Report

Test cycle reports contain information about each testing cycle. For example, a test cycle report might show new defects or issues occurring after a sprint. These data points can help test managers determine if testing efforts are on track while enabling testers to see what problems impact the test suite.

Zephyr’s Test Cycle reports provide a high-level overview of test performance. Source: Zephyr

For example, Zephyr’s Test Cycle reports (above) show a high-level breakdown of each test cycle’s passing, failing, or blocked tests. Using this information, test managers can see how many tests remain in progress (WIP) and what tests are blocked.

Test Summary Report

Test summary reports provide a high-level review during or at the end of a cycle. Managers typically use them to certify a release is ready for production. Some errors may persist, but these reports will show if they are below the quality assurance margins. In addition, test managers may look at them to identify weak spots mid-cycle.

Zephyr’s Test Execution Summary reports provide a high-level overview. Source: Zephyr

For instance, Zephyr’s Test Execution report provides a daily overview of everything that is in flight, from issues raised during testing to results by coverage. These actionable reports are helpful when you want to identify potential delays early during testing and make appropriate adjustments to ensure the project stays on track.

Delivering Value to Non-Testers

Test management reports provide value to numerous parties, including test engineers, software developers, product managers, and stakeholders. Depending on the report, they can help with everything from assessing release quality at a glance to determining what parts of the application are the problem.

Zephyr’s Traceability Matrix ties everything together to provide end-to-end visibility. Source: Zephyr

For example, Zephyr’s Traceability Matrix reports trace links between requirements to defects. In addition to helping testers and managers make go/no-go decisions and prioritize work, these reports can help support end-of-release audit reports for compliance or regulatory reasons, or may be provided as a deliverable to stakeholders to verify coverage.

The Bottom Line

Test management reports offer helpful summaries of bugs and issues impacting a project. Testers generate reports to identify weak spots; managers use reports to assess overall quality trends; and stakeholders may need reports to evaluate progress. 

Zephyr is a test management solution providing many helpful and actionable reports for technical and non-technical end users. In addition, the platform integrates into Jira and with other developer tools teams already use, making it easier than ever to manage tests. 

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