Do you see what I see?

Yesterday I had an interview with the Test Manager for a potential project and the subject of providing valuable information, as testers, came up.

We had a bit of back and forth regarding what exactly is valuable information – I asked him what the term “valuable information” meant to him. He then proceeded to tell me it’s information that helps stakeholders make informed decisions.

We were on the same page.

But then I brought up the idea of trying to bridge the gap between what you (as the tester) has observed and found, and what the receiver of that information observes. I told him I have learned that I should never make the assumption that when I report my test results, that the recipient will have the same impression as me.

Instead – I should make an effort to help close the gap and communicate the information so that they are more likely to see what I see. Keep in mind, I am not necessarily trying to convince them of the same viewpoint. I would say I’m trying to minimise the risk of misinterpretation.

I think a big step in helping ensure that the information gap is closed is how one decides to present the information:

  • If test cases are being done, do you simply give a pass/fail rate for all of the test cases? Or do you group them by Priority? Or by product area?
  • When bugs are found, do you report them, including only information about the bug itself, with no context as to the impact?
  • Do you present the information differently to different people?
  • In the past, what have you learned with presenting your test results? Did you find that surprising decisions were made based on the information you gave them? Maybe people had a different understanding on what your test results meant.

I’m still developing my thoughts on this, so there might be another blog post on the topic to come.

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