Dashboard for Agile Testing

The previous dashboard I published here is useful for distributing and monitoring work in a team and presenting various (“old-school”) metrics like number of bugs, execution of test cases, etc.. It was quite handy in the team I worked in then but not very useful in the scrum team I’m in now.

The team scrum board gives a good overview of the team’s progress, but I’ve felt the need to present more test specific information that also supports they way we work with SBTM. It is also an opportunity to show other parts of the company what test gets up to, so I put together the following dashboard that I stick on the door to the test lab each morning.


  • Status’ and ‘Completion’ displays progress for each task
  • The smileys show the perceived feeling of ‘Quality’
  • Setup’, ‘Test’, ‘Rep’ shows actual time spent for setting up a test, actual time testing and time spent on reporting. The pie-chart down in the right corner shows the accumulated time spent divided up on these three categories. Obviously most time should be spent on ‘Test’ and if a lot of time is spent on ‘Setup’ might indicate a problem.
  • ‘Test Improvement Tasks’ and ‘Top-5 Quality Issues’ aims at drawing attention to what tasks the team is working to “continuously improve” and what issues needs the most attention.
  • In the tab: Log (see screenshot below) I generally scribble down notes (read ‘problems’) each day which is of great help later. The smileys forms the highly non-scientific “Sprint Gut-Feeling Index” on the dashboard. My idea here is to log over time how the team experiences the Sprint.


If you want a copy you can download it here. The Dashboard was made in MS Excel 2013.

Identifying Hidden Assumptions in Requirements

Identifying Hidden Assumptions

from “Testing Extreme Programming” (Lisa Crispin)

Introduce SBTM with the Pomodoro Technique?

I recently organized a book-circle at the client I’m at, where we read “Pomodoro Technique Illustrated” by Staffan Nöteberg. It basically teaches you simple time management technique that helps you stay focused and productive.

I have summarised the basic principles the mindmap below, but I would recommend to read the book in its entirety to get the whole picture. At 127 pages with loads of pictures it is a quick and easy read. It is also well suited for a book-circle since each chapter ends with review questions.

What quickly became obvious to me being a software tester is how similar the approach is to Session-Based Test Management (SBTM). This book is not only useful for improving personal efficiency but I also think it could be excellent in building the case for SBTM and by doing that making SBTM easier to introduce and implement. (I have described SBTM in a previous post).



To improve the communication and knowledge transfers between the test center and the sprint teams as well as the overall quality, in my current project, there is currently an effort to promote pair-testing.

Here follows a short description that I written to outline the use and benefits of pair-testing

– Two testers (or more) test together on one machine. “The Driver” controls the keyboard and the mouse. “The Passenger” analyzes and comments on the testing

– Excellent for coaching and mentoring
– Knowledge transfer
– Often a very productive and creative way of testing

– A tester pair with another: tester, developer, business analyst or customer
– One person might pair with several persons over a day
– Switch between being “the Driver” and “the Passenger”
– Define a “test-mission” that focuses and delimits the test to avoid an ad-hoc approach
– Time-box each test-session

Prepare PT-Session
Create a “test-mission” by defining focus, scope and delimitations of the test
Decide on session length. A test-session could be 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the scope. Plan also for breaks
A tip could be to plan the meeting in for example Outlook

Execute PT-Session
During the session the pair tests according to the focus, scope and delimitations of the tests described in the Test-mission
One team member (the Driver) should be in control of the keyboard and mouse
The second team member thinks out-loud, asks questions, takes notes and gets the coffee

Death By PowerPoint

PowerPoint is a popular and widely used presentation tool that offers a lot of flexibility and configuration options. It might be the standard of presentation tools, but it is still up to you to put together a presentation and present it.

A while back I attended David Phillips excellent presentation ”How To Avoid Death By PowerPoint” where he went through tips and techniques on how to design and deliver a presentation. Here is a brief summary of what he said:

You can read more about David Phillips and his work on: presentationsteknik.com
(Thank you Tommy for letting me use your notes)


UPDATED: Simple Excel Dashboard to Monitor Test Progress

A while ago I posted an Excel-sheet that I have been using to manage the test case execution. I have recently done some updates that I like to share:

  • Tab ‘EXECUTION’: It is now possible to also enter Defects: BugId/TestRef; Status; Priority; Open Date; Close Date; Description/Comments
  • Tab ‘STATISTICS: The Stats on Defects are displayed in 5 graphs: Recent Defects; Defect/Status; Defects/Priority; Time to Close Defects; Invalid/Rejected
  • Tab ‘STATISTICS’: You can define Thresholds for the Test Progress trend. Based on the thresholds a Green, Amber or Red symbol is displayed to indicate “Overall Test Progress
  • Tab ‘RESOURCES’: I’ve added a tab where you can enter some parameters to make a basic test resource estimation

Refer to the old sheet for a more detailed description. You may download a copy here: TestProgressManager In return, please drop me comment and tell me how you like it it and if there are anything that could be improved.

The Excel sheet has been created in MS Office 2010. Earlier versions may not support all formulas and graphs.

MindMap: WHAT is SBTM and HOW is it applied?

In the mindmap SBTM-What?, I’ve tried to give a basic overview of what Session-Based Test Management
is. The main nodes of the mindmap are:

  • What is SBTM
  • When is it used
  • How it is performed (see SBTM-How!)
  • Metrics used
  • Tools used
  • Challenges in SBTM
  • and a Glossary

…in the second mindmap SBTM-How!  I’ve described how I approach SBTM through the following steps: Prepare, Plan, Execute, Report, Follow-up



(Last updated: 2012-11-07)


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