The importance of good evidence of testing can be neatly summed up by considering the difference between an eye-witness memory and a video of an event. Our expectations and our circumstances can exert a great deal of influence on our recollections. Testers frequently note down what they were expected to do, rather than what they actually did.
Do you record and maintain complete evidence of your testing activities? If you’re engaged in the medical or financial fields, then there’s every chance it’s a matter of compliance, but evidence of testing can benefit all sorts of industries. By collecting strong evidence as you test it’s possible to safeguard against problems down the line, and the data you collect can provide some valuable insights.
Good evidence encompasses various qualities: it is authentic, it has integrity, it is readable and accessible, it is contemporary, and the original records, and any changes, are always attributable. Following these basic principles will guide you towards collecting the right kind of evidence. This could prove important during any auditing process, but it can also teach you about your processes and staff and help you to identify areas of weakness.
Assessing what evidence should be recorded is your first consideration. Video files may seem like an obvious solution, but organizing and storing them would be expensive and difficult. You ideally want to be able to record the pertinent data about a system, an application, a test session, and the responsible tester. You want a clear audit trail, with time stamps, and attributed changes, including the reasoning behind those changes.
Imagine that you want an investigator or auditor to arrive at the same conclusions as you did, but all they have to rely on is the evidence in front of them. What would convince you? Are you providing that level of assurance? You may imagine that it would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to set up, but you’d be wrong.
What I’m getting at is that you can’t walk them through the evidence or explain it, it needs to be complete enough to tell the story on its own. People fill in the gaps for themselves when they’re involved, but someone coming to it cold may see it differently.
It doesn’t need to be an especially onerous undertaking. If you employ the right tools for the job, then you can collect quality evidence that meets your criteria automatically.
Using qTest eXplorer, it’s possible to fully configure exactly what you collect from individual test sessions and create a step-by-step trail that’s clear and detailed. You can create individual records of test sessions encompassing multiple applications and steps. All the data you need about the system environment and the applications being used is folded in by default.
This precise trail of testing activity is perfectly suited for regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare, which require detailed evidence of testing.
This kind of evidence can be used to inform later testing sessions. It gives a very detailed overview of tester activity. It can offer valuable insights that may serve you well on later projects. It can even reveal inconsistencies in approach or operational flaws that can be corrected. All of that comes before you consider the importance of quality evidential material for clients or independent auditors.
Collecting high quality evidence of testing can protect you from potential problems and keep you informed about exactly how testing is being carried out.