March 12, 2006

QAer Status Reports

I don't like to burden my QA Team with paperwork.  In general, I prefer just talking over receiving reports.

But, when my team gets too large, or too dispersed geographically, I need to ask for Status Reports, to help me keep track of things over time.

Here's an email I send to all new QAers on my team, asking them to send me weekly Status Reports:

I like to receive weekly Status Reports from each QAer.  This helps keep me up to speed on what you are doing, and hopefully keeps me in the loop on issues I need to know.

Please send me the following via email each Friday before you leave.

1) What I worked on this week:

I'm just looking for bullet items here.  The basics of what you have done for the week.
I don't need to know how many hours you spent on things, just what you were doing.

For example:
- Wrote Test Plan for new Zerble Suite 7.0 feature XXX
- Completed testing of Framis 3.2 SR6 using AB&T database
- Attended planning meeting for Zerble Suite 8.0
- etc, etc

2) What I plan to work on next week:

Again, just the basics.
I'm looking to see what is on your plate for the upcoming week.

3) Unplanned Activities:

This will help me better keep track of progress on our schedules versus all the other activities we participate in.

This should include:

- any work not normally part of your weekly routine
- any work on customer or hitlist problems
- any work helping out other teams
- basically anything not directly involved with QA, testing, creating test cases, etc for the upcoming scheduled release(s)

4) Time away next week:

Please tell me if you are expecting to be out of the office during the upcoming week.
I don't need to know too much detail here, just when you won't be here, and a general reason as to why.

For example:
- Vacation day Tuesday, February 10

5) Issues and Concerns

Anything I should know about.
If there's anything getting in the way of your work, here's where you can note it.

For example:
- Memory upgrade on Bigtest server has been delayed.  Without the additional memory, my load testing cannot be completed.

I don't want this to take more than a few minutes to complete.
Some folks find it simpler to keep track of tasks each day, then just paste them into an email at the end of the week.

I will not be sharing the details of your status reports with anyone, although I do pass along a high-level summary of the QA Team in general to the VP of Engineering.

We'll revise this process as we need to going forward, making sure it is simple, not burdensome, but effective.