Best Practices for Implementing Automated Test Reporting in Agile Teams

According to the test automation analysis platform TestProject, insufficient reporting is one of the major factors contributing to the failure of the transition to test automation.

While automated test reporting is essential for any company planning to switch to automated testing, it is particularly useful for Agile teams. How can these teams ensure the most effective deployment of automated test reporting? This article will provide you with useful recommendations.

1.  Defining clear objectives and selection of relevant metrics

Metrics are the heart of any test report, and automated reporting makes it easier to cover all essential metrics in a report without putting in extra effort. However, for effective reports, it is critical to cover relevant metrics and components, which in turn will depend on the individuals for whom the reports are intended. Thus, the identification of the goals of your reports and their audience is necessary for ensuring their informativeness and usability.

At the same time, some of the components are expected to be added to virtually any report. These are:

  • Information about the test coverage, describing the scope of the application covered by automated testing;
  • The results of the test execution, covering test passes, failures, as well as any errors that occur during the process;
  • Test performance metrics that focus on parameters related to the testing process itself, such as response times or resource consumption.

On top of that, alignment of test reporting with the Agile team’s Definition of Done (DoD) is especially important, as it helps to maintain a shared understanding of the project’s quality standards. To achieve this goal, teams should ensure the criteria defining software features as complete are reflected by the metrics included in their test reports.

Alternatively, Agile teams can consider adding visualizations such as charts and graphs, as well as historical data for tracing changes in test metrics and results. In addition to this, the use of customizable dashboards in reports can help Agile teams easily adjust the report content to the expectations of their recipients and provide them with a quick yet comprehensive overview of testing results.

2.  Real-time reporting

Automated report generation allows teams to receive fast and timely feedback on the condition of their software.

There are many ways in which you can utilize real-time test reporting supported by automation. For instance, best practices for implementing automated test reporting tools in Agile teams often include the use of such software coupled with the build and continuous integration (CI) systems.

This practice makes it possible to generate test reports automatically whenever a code change is introduced and tested.

3.  Automated notifications

Some test automation tools, such as Executive Automats designed for Microsoft Dynamics 365, are equipped not only with automated reporting features but also with automated notifications. This functionality can be rather useful for Agile teams as it helps them get prompt alerts about critical events, for instance, coverage drops or test failures.

4.  Historical reporting

As mentioned earlier, Agile teams can consider adding historical data to their test reports where relevant. While in certain scenarios, this data may be redundant, in others, it can help to understand the dynamics of trends characterizing test metrics over time. This can be quite insightful, helping Agile teams identify areas requiring improvement as well as other patterns.

5.  Integration with collaboration tools and feedback loops

Swift communication and collaboration in Agile teams are paramount for the project’s success, and test reporting plays a significant role.

Automated test reporting can be successfully integrated with various tools designed for collaborative work, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack. In such a way, each member of the team will be up-to-date with the current testing status without the need to constantly monitor test results.

Besides, automated test reporting can further enhance communication in your team by optimizing feedback loops.

6.  Documentation and training

It is necessary to ensure that each member of the team knows how to interpret test reports. Although creating documentation that covers the metrics used in reports and training the team members to help them understand the report components and their significance for the software quality are not always obvious best practices, they are undeniably useful.

How lack of automated reporting can affect the work on a software project?

While the use of automated test reporting has great potential for optimizing the work of Agile teams, it is absolutely necessary for Agile teams that have already switched to automated testing.

Automation can significantly increase the test scope, the task in which manual reporting proves inefficient. Here are some of the common issues Agile teams may have to face if they fail to implement automated test reporting properly:

  • Hindered defect detection and communication between team members, caused by the lack of quick feedback, which stops Agile teams from solving issues effectively;
  • Poor visibility of the test execution process, which makes it more difficult to understand the software quality;
  • Lack of regulatory compliance in the industries requiring the provision of comprehensive test documentation for audits;
  • Inefficient resource utilization due to excessive manual effort required for test reporting.

Automated test reporting in Agile teams – conclusions

An effective automated test reporting process is critical for all teams regardless of the methodology they use. In the case of Agile development, test reporting automation proves particularly useful as it can support the critical component of the Agile methodology, such as continuous improvement. To achieve this goal, Agile teams should pay special attention to the integration of their testing tools with collaboration tools, configuring notifications and real-time reporting, and choosing effective metrics.

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