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With this white paper, we continue to discuss some simple but still powerful innovations that can significantly improve testing process in your project team. The next tip I want to share with you is about how to remember all good ideas and embody them one day.

 

Written by:
Tatiana Kit,
Team Leader of Network Testing Team

Goal:

Do not forget to do in the future the tasks that are impossible to do right now.

How it was:

There can be a situation when somebody from the project team founds a bug that was not provided by any test. Test can be written/modified at once or later, especially, if more than one test is required. If we start to write tests at once, we fail to meet deadlines for the current task.

There can be also a situation when team receives the specification of the new feature, which will require some specific test environment or testing data, but testing itself will start only in several months. Nevertheless it's better to create the mentioned environment beforehand - but not now.

And one more situation is when somebody gets an idea: why did not we test this feature under such conditions? Ideas use to come suddenly, everybody has some tasks, but the idea is great, so we should work on it.

Problem:

Ideas and plans are forgotten in several days. If they are stored somewhere, you can never know when it is a good moment to look to this storage.

Solution:

We tried various solutions: bug tracking, ideas list in the version control system, different documents in different storages. But the best thing for us, the one that really worked, discovered to be a cork board with pinned small paper notes.

It’s really so, any team member, who has an idea of a new task, briefly writes it down on the small piece of paper and pins it at the cork board in the testers’ room. Each project has its own cork board. Usually, we don’t have too many “pinned” tasks – 5-6 for a project.

If task list is stored in the repository, nobody takes a look into it for years; bug tracking system is always overflowed… But if the tasks are pinned at the cork board, everyone sees them while walking by. Sometimes a team member gets a new idea or decides to do one of the “pinned” tasks.

We DO NOT pin the tasks from the current or planned testing (check after bugfix or test execution). “Pinned” tasks are specific test writing, test data and test environment creation, or research/reproduce of the specific situation.

Task is unpinned only if it is finished or the manager has decided that it doesn’t have to be done at all.

Benefits :

Not a task will be lost. They all will be done when team members have time.

All tasks are in the limelight, and testers think them over from time to time.

There is also one more plus: there are always some tasks in the project. As sometimes tester can’t perform his current tasks (e.g. the current build does not do for testing, or bug tracking system is temporarily unavailable, etc.), so he just selects a task from the “pinned” ones and does it.