Tell the Right Story

Making Sure Your Test-Status News Is Presented Effectively

of behavior, fighting nonpriority or unproductive battles. This gets in the way of effective communication. Our goal, then, is to maintain an admirable passion for quality without becoming a project obstacle.

Let's recognize that, just as it's understandable that programmers and other engineers are challenged by bug reports and information about failed test cases, we testers have a natural human tendency to become ego-involved in how the project management team responds to test status. After all, we want our work to be valued. It's important for us to understand that testing does not happen for its own sake. Organizations don't have test groups to satisfy idle intellectual curiosity, but rather to deliver specific quality risk management services to the organization in the context of a specific project. These services help the project management team balance the four elements-quality, features, budget, and schedule-to make a fully informed decision.

Make It Count
The test team counts on you to make the case in support of all the work your teammembers have invested. Pulling together the right information at the right time for the right audience, and picking your battles according to priority, will make everyone happy. Your test team will be bolstered, your project will run more smoothly, and the software product will achieve higher quality. That will make your customers happy too.

Editors Note: This column derives from Rex Black's upcoming book Critical Testing Processes , Addison-Wesley: Boston, 2003. Look for this book to be published summer 2003.

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