Feedback from a Developer (without knowing it)

Recently someone asked one of my developers if we created formal test plans. Since the conversation was in an email, my developer cc’d me on it and responded saying he wasn’t sure but he had seen me create test cases in our bug tracker, SpiraTeam. He wasn’t sure if that qualified as a formal test plan.

Upon reading the email I responded asking what the questioner considered a formal test plan. Then I explained how we use Mind Maps to detail test designs and that works for us as a “test plan”. Yet I kept wondering when the last time I wrote a test case was so I went through our system and found a timestamp on the last created case. It read July 7th, 2011.

Curious still, I sent an email to my developer and asked when was the last time he saw me create a test case in Spira. His response was:

“I don’t know, didn’t you create some for the release before the DW or something? Maybe it wasn’t test cases, but I’ve seen you do things that take forever in Spira, I always thought they were test plans or test cases.”

“…I’ve seen you do things that take forever!” Yup that’s what writing out explicitly defined scripts (sometimes called test cases) will do. They take time to write out, time to “execute”, don’t necessarily help the tester plan their testing, and are abandoned after their use. After numerous years it was time to move onto something more effective.

This conversation was interesting for a few reasons:

  • First my developer confused a test case with a test plan. Not a big deal and not unexpected but interesting just the same. I’m sure many people in my organization would answer the question the same way.
  • Second my developer seemed to remember me writing test cases from over a year ago but didn’t recall that a week prior I sent him a Mind Map to review. I wonder if he remembers *seeing* me work on the Mind Map?

Perhaps writing test cases seemed so strange (or perhaps wasteful or tedious?) to him that he couldn’t help but remember it? Like when your parents remember something you did wrong and don’t remember things you did well.

Perhaps he didn’t connect the Mind Map with testing, or to test planning? If my developer’s response is the consensus across my organization then it says the visibility and/or understanding of my work isn’t where it needs to be.

Thanks for the feedback. =-)

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Jamie Larson