Test reporting is one of the pillars of software testing. Testing by itself has no value unless how it reduces product risk by highlighting defects that needs to be fixed and components that need performance adjustments is communicated effectively. Some of the factors that emphasis the need for metrics is:
Although software testing discipline has evolved with regards to skills, tools and processes, getting rid of excel as a reporting tool is like trying to peel off your own skin. Managers loves excel because they feel comfortable navigating in excel rather than some fancy, intimidating tool that will make them feel less tech savvy. One of the best test management tool in the software testing market is MicroFocus ALM (Formerly known as HP ALM ,so for the remainder of the article we will refer to MicroFocus ALM as HP ALM) which has kept excel as one of their reporting feature to help with the transition.HP ALM’s excel report needs quite a substantive knowledge of SQL as well as VBA to generate excel report from HP ALM.
After few upgrades of HP ALM, business view excel reports were introduced to alleviate the need for mind wrecking SQL used in the past for less technical users. Suddenly excel reports can be designed using a user friendly wizard that is less intimidating to manipulate raw data from HP ALM. The steps below shows how to create a simple business view excel reports.
Step 1: Go to dashboard menu in HP ALM as shown below
Step 2 : Select a folder you want to put your report. New folder structure can be created within each folder type.
Step 3 : Create you report
Step 4: Give your report a name
Note: if you are creating a new excel for the first time the HP ALM will ask you to install the HP ALM excel addin, please follow the prompt till the end.
Step 6 : Create report content in excel
Step 7: After all the data is populated in the generated excel , the filtering of columns will appear on your right pane. Select all columns that are not relevant to your reporting purpose and move them to the defects fields block. See the snapshot below for clarification.
Step 8 : Now using the data from the table pulled from HP ALM, create a table that uses normal excel formulas to manipulate the data to create graphs. The default row limit of the data is set to 30 because that’s the number of records HP ALM can auto refresh. To see all record from your HP ALM database table, remove the value 30 with 0. Read the prompt message for more info. The excel option has two saving options. One is saving the report on your local drive and the other is for saving the report on the HP ALM server to be shared across the team. See the snapshot below.
Step 9: Navigate to your created report
Whenever substantial changes are made during the creation of the report, please repeat the saving actions shown on the previous snapshots. One of the type of the graph that the extracted data can create is the defect status by severity as shown below, By using excel formula countif(range, criterion) to aggregate the defect by status, a pie chart below can be created.
Step 10:As you have notice through the steps need to create the prior shown end product, the way we create reports in excel is still fundamentally the same except that the source of the data is dynamic and is from the HP ALM server. When the Test Manger needs the status reports of the team they can go to HP ALM and perform action below to get a freshly baked report.
Benefits of the Automated Testing Report
The Business view excel report’s limitation is your excel skills. The idea is to make test metrics to be as painless as possible. If the metrics are adding another layer of admin, having reliable metrics is going to be a challenge. Stay tuned for the next post “Being a Test Professional in a Dark Continent”.