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Putting It All Together

Figure 1 puts it all together to show the framework for test reporting. Notice that everything flows through the filter of your audience. If you’re talking to the project manager, you might choose to focus on mission, status, and obstacles—talking about techniques and environment only when asked for details. On the other hand, if you’re talking to a test manager, you might focus on risk and coverage, relating status and obstacles as appropriate. Finally, if you’re talking with a developer, you might focus on techniques and environment. Each person gets a different perspective on what you’re testing.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Framework for test reporting.

For any given aspect of your reporting, you need to be able to report at different levels of precision. Just as you filter what you report based on your audience, you need to be able to filter how much of something you report. Your mission can be a couple of words, or it can be a paragraph. Your risk and coverage can be entire documents, or sketched out on a napkin (something Scott Barber is fond of doing when modeling performance testing). James Bach talks about "dialing in your precision." A tester should be able to report to any level of detail, to any stakeholder, at any time. I like that idea. It makes me think of a testing control panel with different dials I can tune to get the report I need (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure 2 "Dialing in" your reporting precision.

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