Current Date :June 13, 2024
Test Documentation

What Is Test Documentation and Why Do We Need It?

Just like in any other method, documentation in QA helps teams create their work. It helps to standardize the method, clarify the terminology, build milestones, and keep all team members posted. Below, you will find a short overview of the artifacts used through the QA process and learn how they make our lives easier. 

What Is Test Documentation?

Test documentation is a collection of artifacts prepared before the testing and during the process.

Test documentation explains the test coverage and execution process, records the essentials, quotes the basic terminology, etc.

In other terms, every team member can discuss test documentation to discover the complete information about all the testing activities that ever occurred or will take place in the future.

Why Is Test Documentation Important?

Testing without documentation makes it hard to see the entire picture of the project. Unless you have clear goals, a step-by-step plan to accomplish them, and all the important conditions defined in a document, an outcome continues blurry. Every person may have a distinct understanding of the common purpose and an end product. Meanwhile, test documentation explains what is important for us and why, what activities we are to run, and how much time we have. 

Finally, we know what the team should accomplish and what signals about the end of the process. Both QA engineers and customers can strive for completely bug-free functionality. However, it is a myth, not a reasonable objective. Thus, it makes more sense to discuss what would describe the end of the QA phase – running tests for the whole functionality once, testing until we get no significant bugs on production or a fast check of business-critical features that enables you to fit in the tight deadlines. 

As a rule, trying to define this through messages or calls isn’t sufficient. It’s all about the human factor. Some have too much data to process and remember.

The others may misunderstand the adjustments. As a result, everyone concludes up with their own version of the requirements and goals. The absence of documentation can seriously influence the work of the QA engineers, especially when operating with complex products or under constantly changing requirements.

A failure to learn how a feature should behave and why points to more errors. Prioritizing the incorrect part of the functionality results in skipping errors and providing inadequate reports. The examples can go on and on.

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What Test Documentation Do QA Teams Use? 

The most commonly used artifacts are test plans, test cases, checklists, use cases, bug reports, and requirement specifications. 

TEST PLAN 

A test plan defines all the test activities within one project. Here, you can discover information about everything a software tester or a QA team is to do throughout the project. Every test plan highlights the object of testing, criteria for the beginning, work schedules, and end of testing, strategy, risks, and a list of work completed.

CHECKLIST 

A checklist is a document that contains a brief description of software functionality a specialist has to check. It seems like a list of features to test and statuses – the results you see. Usually, we use checklists rather than test cases since they are quicker to prepare. If you require a more particular description of the procedure, however, test cases are important. 

TEST CASE 

A test case is a document highlighting a detailed description of the steps and activities a QA engineer requires to perform to test one piece of the functionality and the standards for passing. Companies can utilize slightly different test case formats, but the data in each should be highly detailed and specific. 

USE CASE 

A use case is an easier and less official document. It explains a scenario of interacting with software. Every use case is based on the assumption regarding what a person will do and where they will click, enabling software testers to check the intended user paths. When creating use cases, software testers address specifications and business objectives. 

BUG REPORT 

A bug report gives full information about a defect (its description, severity, and priority, etc.) and documents the steps and conditions for generating this bug. A detailed and efficient bug report significantly enhances the chances to fix this defect quickly. 

REQUIREMENTS 

Software requirements specification, or solely requirements, is a full explanation of the software under development. To be more precise, requirements say the properties, qualities, and features of the software below development. Using this information, teams can avoid misinterpretations and controversies.

How Does It All Work? 

There are high-level and low-level documents. Every software tester can draft checklists, test cases, and bug reports. It’s a component of their everyday responsibilities. Meanwhile, the establishment of a test plan needs extra skills and experience. In other words, it’s a task for an experienced specialist or a QA Lead. 

The larger a project is, the more documentation it needs. If a team employs only checklists on a complex product, there is a risk of misinterpreting the priorities and running inefficient tests. The reason rests in the need for detail. A checklist only lists a feature, and every software tester can interpret the testing object and results in a distinctive way. 

Test documentation is dynamic. It is efficient only if a QA team updates it frequently. If we are talking documentation just so it exists, it doesn’t make much sense. Requirements can change. Priorities can shift. It all affects test coverage, needed resources, etc. 

If a team doesn’t record the variations, they end up with ineffective documents and inconsistencies in the method. Just like that, test cases or use cases become outdated and inappropriate with time.

When new functionality arrives, QA engineers require to cover it with tests, too. Unless you record everything thoroughly, you risk finishing up with unhelpful documents.

Also Read: Why Testing Is Crucial For E-Commerce?

In Conclusion 

Whether to generate test documentation or not is a thing every organization should decide for itself. QA specialists can advise clients to do it, but customers are the ones to agree or disagree. As for the privileges of working documentation backing up the process, they are quite clear. Test artifacts help to have information in order and make it simple to understand what has been happening on the project from the very start even for newcomers. And while planning documentation takes some extra time, trying to figure out the gaps without it is always much more challenging and time-consuming.

When it comes to QA, nothing is better than having the correct people in charge. That’s why we make sure that everyone in our team is qualified and accredited on some of the industry’s best practices. 

At TestUnity we have an expert team of QA Engineers. This enables us to give our clients the support they require to make sure that their software hits the market in the right circumstances. Contact us for a free consultation and see for yourself why TestUnity’s QA approach is the best choice for your software.

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