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What is a Test Report? A Comprehensive Guide To Build One

What is a Test Report and How To Create One?

 

At the end of every testing project, a test report is usually created to summarize the results. This report provides insights into how the test project was executed if it aligned with the initial plan, and what areas need further optimization.
 

In this article, we’ll explore in-depth what needs to be included in a test report, as well as the key metrics that QA teams need to look at if they want to gauge their testing efficiency.

What is a Test Report?

A test report is a document that summarizes the results of a test project. In this report, testers review the status of each test case, their results, any issues found, and recommendations for next steps.

Benefits of Test Reports

A test report is a valuable tool for both the QA team and any stakeholders involved for several reasons:

  1. It communicates the status of quality assurance within the internal team and external stakeholders (most commonly developers, project managers, product owners, etc.). Such practice also creates a sense of transparency across teams regarding the quality of the system.
  2. A test report usually includes success metrics to help QA teams measure testing effectiveness. When visualized, they provide valuable insights for future testing strategies and improvement opportunities. We will discuss these metrics in later sections of this article.
  3. Test reports are usually based on the test plan, so it plays a crucial role in tracking the progress of testing efforts.
  4. A test report is also a documentation that can be leveraged for compliance purposes.

When To Create a Test Report?

Software Testing Life Cycle by Katalon

A test report is typically created at the end of the testing life cycle. If you look at the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) flow chart above, you should see that test reporting falls into the sixth stage: Test Cycle Closure.
 

At this stage, testers gather to analyze what they found from the tests and document key takeaways in the test report. A test report can also be generated upon request of stakeholders for specific purposes, or following any significant updates in the software.

What To Include in a Test Report?

A test report should include the following sections:

  1. Project information: In this part you should briefly describe the testing project and its objectives. Explain the purpose of the report if needed.
  2. Test summary: This section is essentially an abstract where you provide a quick summary of the key findings from the test. Most common metrics to be reported here are the number of test cases executed, passed or failed tests, and any notable bugs found.
  3. Test result: This section is an expansion of the former, where you go into greater detail regarding each bug. You list the test case ID, what the test case is about, and what bug was found. You also include screenshots or detailed descriptions of the sequence of events triggering the bug if needed.

    This section typically includes some visualizations in the form of charts and diagrams to better communicate with nontechnical stakeholders. The pie charts below demonstrate the percentage of passed/failed test cases in a test run in Katalon TestOps.
     
    test reporting features with Katalon

     

Steps To Create a Good Test Report

What does it take for a test report to be “good”?
 

To answer this question, let’s go back and see what a traditional test report looks like.
 

Before the test report comes the test log. A test log is basically a chronological record of the testing activities performed in a testing session. Technically speaking, a test log is a test report, only in a more rudimentary form. From the test log, QA teams extract the necessary information and data before consolidating them into a more organized version.
 

A test log is nice, but at the end of the day, it does not make for a good test report.
 

test log in software testing
 

This screenshot depicts a basic test execution log. It actually did quite a good job at informing testers of the state of their testing project. Let’s break it down:
 

  1. Execution environment: Here you can find the administrator ID of the machine in use for testing (i.e., the test environment), the operating system, and the browser used for testing.
  2. Test execution log: Here you can find information at two levels:
    1. Test suite: You can see its name is healthcare-tests - TS_RegressionTest. We immediately know that this test suite is designated for a healthcare application, and they are regression tests. Based on the description section, we know that they all aim to test the login process and make an appointment upon successful login.
    2. Test case: At a more granular level, we see the first test case TC1_Verify Successful Login aims to test the first part of the test suite: attempting to log in and verify if it is successful. A timestamp is also included in the Start/End/Elapsed row. The Status is PASSED, and all of the Test Steps are listed below.

A test log is great, but it is not a good test report, yet.
 

A test log is focused and operational, while a test report is a structured analysis version of it. It is not enough if you want to accomplish more heavy-duty tasks (tracing and monitoring test performance, result visualization, analytics, etc.). If you want to do so, you would need to manually input those data into a spreadsheet or CSV, which is time-consuming and counterproductive when you have hundreds of test cases and test suites to work with.
 

The following depicts a good test report:

 

Katalon TestOps dashboard
 

What do we need in a good report?

  1. Visualizations: Visual elements do wonders to your report. They include charts, graphs, and diagrams to show patterns in test results. You can zoom in/out on your test data by adjusting time frames to have a more comprehensive view.
  2. Monitoring: You can go as far as to monitor project pace and progress with delivery-date countdown, dates, and build-specific pass/fail ratio for each version. 
  3. Performance: You can visualize performance trends of execution duration and pass/fail tests. 
  4. Comparative analysis: You can compare test results across different versions to see if there are any improvements/regressions in your software quality.
  5. Recommendations: You can include a section where you provide your insights from a testing perspective as to what area(s) should be focused on during the debugging process.

Let’s see how this is done in Katalon.
 

Katalon TestOps create a test report
 

As you can see, in Katalon TestOps, you can view a rich array of information regarding your test run history. Watch this video to understand how:

 

 


 

Download and Witness The Power of Katalon  
 

How To Share Test Reports Within the Team?

Once you have your test report, it is time to share it with the team. In Katalon, once you’ve run all of your tests and generated the test report, you can share it through Slack using the Slack integration. Tip: Make sure to create a Slack API app in advance. See how you can do it here.
 

Slack integration with Katalon for test planning

 

You can also share test reports via email. It can automatically send summary reports to your own email or other stakeholders to notify them about the test result. To do this, you need to set up your mail server and customize email reports in the way you want it to be represented.
 

Katalon TestOps results
 

Key Metrics To Include in Test Reports

These are the basic metrics to have in your reports:
 

  1. Test case execution status  the number of test cases executed, passed, failed, blocked, or deferred. This metric is commonly visualized as pie charts for a specific time frame.
  2. Test case coverage – the percentage of requirements or features covered by executed test cases. 
  3. Test pass rate  the percentage of test cases that passed successfully.
  4. Defect density  the number of defects identified per unit of code or test execution.
  5. Defect severity distribution  the distribution of defects by severity levels (e.g., critical, major, minor).
  6. Defect closure rate  the percentage of defects closed or resolved within a specified time frame.
  7. Test execution duration  the average duration of test execution sessions or cycles.
  8. Test cycle time  the time taken to complete a full test cycle, from planning to execution to reporting.
  9. Test efficiency  the ratio of passed tests to total tests executed, indicating testing effectiveness.
  10. Test effectiveness  the percentage of defects found by testing compared to total defects identified.
  11. Requirements traceability  the percentage of requirements covered by executed test cases.
  12. Test automation coverage  the percentage of test cases automated versus manual.

Challenges in Creating Test Reports

Manually crafting a manual test report takes effort. If you are working on an individual project, scrolling through the test log would be more than enough. However, when it comes to reporting for your team/project managers, manual test reporting really impacts productivity. Here’s how:
 

  1. Root cause analysis delays: Adding test suites, test cases, or test steps increases the volume of logs to sift through. Determining whether a test failure is due to an actual bug or a false positive becomes more time-consuming because of this.
  2. Disk space pressure: Saving reports as PDFs, HTML, or CSV files on your local machine is suitable for one-time use. However, long-term storage of these files can quickly deplete hard drive space.
  3. Communication breakdowns: Team members engrossed in their tasks might overlook the report you've shared. This can lead to frequent miscommunication and subsequent release delays.
  4. Quality and traceability gaps: With test and bug reports, along with requirements documents scattered across various locations, project managers face challenges in assessing build quality and readiness for release.

Best Practices for Writing Test Reports

  1. Tailor the level of technical detail and language used in the report to suit the specific needs and preferences of different stakeholders.
  2. Acknowledge and highlight successful test executions, achievements, and improvements made since the previous report to celebrate progress and motivate the team.
  3. Identify and discuss any risks and challenges encountered during testing, along with proposed mitigation strategies, to ensure transparency and proactive problem-solving.
  4. Offer historical context by comparing current test results with previous reports or benchmarks to track progress.
  5. Verify the accuracy and integrity of the data presented in the report by cross-referencing information.
  6. Use the test report as a platform to encourage collaboration, discussion, and knowledge sharing among team members.
  7. Summarize key findings, insights, and recommendations in an executive summary at the beginning of the report to provide busy stakeholders with a quick overview of the most important information.

 

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