T e s t E x e c u t i o n
Depending on your test approach, tracking your progress will either be difficult or easy.
If you use a script-heavy approach, tracking progress is easy. All you need to do is compare the
number of scripts you have left to execute with the time available and you have a measure of your
If you don't script, then tracking progress is more difficult. You can only measure the amount of
time you have left and use that as a guide to progress.
If you use advanced metrics (see next chapter) you can compare the number of defects you've
found with the number of defects you expect to find. This is an excellent way of tracking progress
and works irrespective of your scripting approach.
Adjusting the plan
But tracking progress without adjusting your plan is wasting information.
Suppose you script for 100 test case, each taking one day to execute. The project manager has
given you 100 days to execute your cases. You are 50 days into the project and are on schedule,
having execute 50% of your test cases.
But you've found no defects.
The hopeless optimist will say, "Well! Maybe there aren't any!" and stick to their plan. The
experienced tester will say something unprintable and change their plan.
The chance of being 50% of the way through test execution and not finding defects is extremely
slim. It either means there is a problem with your test cases or there is a problem with the way in
which they are being executed. Either way, you're looking in the wrong place.
Regardless of how you prepare for testing you should have some kind of plan. If that plan is broken
down into different chunks you can then examine the plan and determine what is going wrong.
Maybe development haven't delivered the bulk of the functional changes yet? Maybe the test cases
are our of date or aren't specific enough? Maybe you've underestimated the size of the test effort?
Whatever the problem you need to jump on it quick.
The other time you'll need your plan is when it gets adjusted for you.
You've planned to test function A but the development manager informs you function B has been
delivered instead, function A is not ready yet. Or you are halfway through your test execution
when the project manager announces you have to finish two weeks earlier
If you have a plan, you can change it.