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  1. #1
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    Should QA Receive Technical Spec and Release Notes?

    The Engineering team on our current project does not issue a finalized Technical Specification or Design Document until after the testing is completed. Instead, release notes are delivered to QA for the various modules, along with the code.

    The problem is that my team is obviously unable to start creating test cases until the code is released. Too late right? I'm used to seeing a Marketing Requirements Document, Functional Specification and Technical Specification, prior to documenting test cases. At least the initial version of the Tech Spec.

    The developers argue that they can NEVER issue a finalized Technical Spec before the start of QA testing, because the design isn't done yet. They say, "We are still developing it, so how can we document what the design is?" I say, "Fine, but you should be able to issue a first draft and then modify the Tech Spec as development progresses."

    Am I right? What documentation do others base their test cases on? Do you commonly create your test cases from Release Notes? Or mainly from the MRD, Func Spec and Tech Spec?


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  2. #2
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    Re: Should QA Receive Technical Spec and Release Notes?

    No often, but sometimes We had to do it without all proper documentation. I suppose you can start writing the most part of test cases, based on what you have, with some help from architect, designer,... If they don't have all the documentation finished, at least they can help hou.
    If I remember well, we (almost) never had all the documentation we needed from the very begining.

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    Don't worry, be Happy!

  3. #3
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    Re: Should QA Receive Technical Spec and Release Notes?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by qaguru:

    The developers argue that they can NEVER issue a finalized Technical Spec before the start of QA testing, because the design isn't done yet. They say, "We are still developing it, so how can we document what the design is?"
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes. I'd force the issue. There's no reason you can't at least begin test planning and writing of test cases from 'draft' documentation - you can then update your cases to reflect any changes in the documentation. The key here is helping them understand that there *should* be a difference between Requirements and Technical Spec. The Technical Spec includes design. The other thing to discuss is WHY they are still making design changes throughout. The overall design of the product should be planned before implementation just like every other part of development - if they are making changes to DESIGN up until release, you're going to encounter additional problems.

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>
    What documentation do others base their test cases on? Do you commonly create your test cases from Release Notes? Or mainly from the MRD, Func Spec and Tech Spec?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Test Cases should at least be created in a 'first draft' version based on requirements, if you are doing black box/UI testing. You don't care how they implement it - you care that the requirements are present. Technical Spec allows you to verify the back end processes/data when necessary, but you can even begin planning for that without knowing exact details as to how it will be done.

    What levels of documentation are actually being created in your company? In *theory*, there should be some sort of Business Requirements, Functional Requirements, and Technical Requirements. (Obviously, many more can be and are sometimes done, this is just an example). Test planning should begin with the Business Requirements (Very High Level), and become more detailed and specific as documentation is provided.

    If they continue to provide release notes only, and AT the time of release, push for additional QA time at a Management level. Explain that as QA would normally complete test planning and test case development in parallel with the Developer/Programming effort, that time has to be accounted for AFTER you receive the tools necessary to do it.

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    Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection - the lovers, the dreamers and me...
    Annemarie Martin
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    Association for Software Testing

  4. #4
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    Re: Should QA Receive Technical Spec and Release Notes?

    well .. our standard practice is to involve the QA team in most of initial meetings that the development teams have during domain understanding with the client. This way atleast the team are aware of changes and etc. Also initial drafts are available with which we can built test cases... it is better to have a good professional relationship with respective team leads, as they are the right people who can guide u thru the specs. Also as the GUI's are getting made, u can always see them and base some test cases ... it is impossible to come to a position where on the testing day, u get a surprise of an application ... (My one big fear .. aaaaaaaagh)

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  5. #5
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    Re: Should QA Receive Technical Spec and Release Notes?

    Just some comments / questions that might help you:
    1) What is the development group using to determine "What is to be built? Do you have access to it?
    2) Is this the mechanization of a current process? Do you have access to information on that process?
    3) Is the development group working from a known set of Requirements? Access?
    4) Is it possible to have "knowledge transfer" meetings between development and QA?
    5) Is there some sort of value add that QA can bring immediately to the table to use as collateral to get the information / prototypes you need?


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  6. #6
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    Re: Should QA Receive Technical Spec and Release Notes?

    If the requirements are "As built", meaning the requirements/design docs are written to conform to the delivered system, then there is no need for QA at that point. Testing, yes, but it seems useless to determine if they delivered a product that conforms to the requirement if they are writing the requirement/design at the same time.

    Run into a function that doesn't work "right"? No problem, it's not in the spec anymore!

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    Paul
    Paul

  7. #7
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    Re: Should QA Receive Technical Spec and Release Notes?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pjb1:
    If the requirements are "As built", meaning the requirements/design docs are written to conform to the delivered system, then there is no need for QA at that point. Testing, yes, but it seems useless to determine if they delivered a product that conforms to the requirement if they are writing the requirement/design at the same time.

    Run into a function that doesn't work "right"? No problem, it's not in the spec anymore!

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Totally agree.

    Sounds like the original poster is missing a High Level Requirements document from which the Technical Specification or Design Document is based on.

    You should be able to write testcases from the Requirements document.


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    JRica, CSTE
    Software QA Engineer Lead
    JRicardo
    Senior SQA Analyst

  8. #8
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    Re: Should QA Receive Technical Spec and Release Notes?

    Hi,
    I am new to the forum and I LOVE IT!!!
    The post by qaguru and pjbl were right on the money. As QA manager, the project manager told me that it was my responsibility to compose a finalized Technical Spec. I thought that was odd. Now, it appears that the requirements are "AS BUILT" because the project manager negotiates with the developers with out documentation and I don't feel comfortable with the amount of time I am given to test in-between releases.

    What should I do?
    Rashida
    Billing OSS QA Manager

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    Rashida White
    Rashida White

  9. #9
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    Re: Should QA Receive Technical Spec and Release Notes?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rashidawhite:
    As QA manager, the project manager told me that it was my responsibility to compose a finalized Technical Spec. I thought that was odd. Now, it appears that the requirements are "AS BUILT" because the project manager negotiates with the developers without documentation, and I don't feel comfortable with the amount of time I am given to test in-between releases.

    What should I do?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Sounds like the project manager is lazy. It's not your job to compose a technical spec, but if nobody else does it, and you don't have the authority to make them, then it may be a good idea to write your own, and then ask the developers to sign off on it.

    Could you ask to be in on all the meetings where the project manager negotiates with the developers? This might at least help you see how it works.

    It's common that there are no written specs, but usually there is something written. I am wary of any project manager or developer who says that a project was developed based on an oral understanding.

    Who writes your user documentation, and where do they get their information? They may be a resource.

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    Testing software since 1996
    Testing software since 1996

  10. #10
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    Re: Should QA Receive Technical Spec and Release Notes?

    Thanks for your advise, pookietooth. Well...I am responsible for user documentation. However, I am relatively new to the company and I've found that the little documentation that does exist is not accurate or complete.

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    Rashida White
    Rashida White

 

 

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