The Test Manager's Vade Mecum


The next most important item is my "handbook," a CD with a compendium of useful information and tools. It has two main sections: a Toolkit containing all the successful templates and sample processes I've developed and refined over the years and my Watchlist, an expanded and synthesized version of all the learnings I've compiled from projects I've worked on.

There are different Toolkit and Watchlist items for delivery and consulting projects. Toolkit contents vary from big things, like my template for a test strategy and high-level plan, to small things, like contact numbers for my favorite contract testers and Web links to useful resources. Reviewing the handbook CD for this column, I was surprised to see how much is on it. Here's a partial list of items from my Toolkit for software development delivery projects: 

  • Templates for:
    • System risk assessment
    • Test data strategy and plans
    • Test execution plans
    • Test cases of various kinds, including spreadsheets with built-in calculations
    • Testing budget, with sample categories
    • Testing project plan, with sample activities and tasks
    • Testing project risks and issues logs
    • Status reports for different purposes
    • Phase-end or project wrap-up reports
    • Test team action list
    • Tester question list to post online
  • Samples of:
    • GUI checklists
    • Spreadsheets for planning and tracking
    • Hiring interview questions
    • Testing term definitions
    • Field customization list for bug tracking systems
    • Defect management processes for single-system and multi-system tests
    • Planning/strategy considerations for UAT testing
    • System risk assessment workshop process
    • Phase and project acceptance criteria
    • Descriptions of testing roles and responsibilities

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