By Nadine Parmelee
In an ideal world, as a project nears completion, time is taken to make sure project artifacts are checked for accuracy and archiving — for example: requirements documents, project plans, and specifications to name a few. For the Quality Assurance team, their focus will be on the Test Plan, use cases/test cases, tools data and other elements associated with testing for the project. This effort should be done throughout the project in order to maintain project integrity and mitigate any risks associated with people making mistakes because they were looking at down-level information. This blog is intended to share why keeping requirements current before, during and upon completion of a project provides better quality products overall.
As a product matures and the requirements for existing features change, it is important to make sure requirements are updated, and/or new requirements are written. As project teams become more fluid, and new members may need to join, the ramp-up time (and costs) of adding new features and updating to a newer version can be greatly reduced when the information available to the current project team is up to date. Moreover, it is not uncommon once a product has been in use for a while for only a few people to remain who have any project experience who would be familiar with changes that have been made along the way, when, and why.
From a Quality Assurance Engineer’s perspective, having any confusion regarding what is ‘in test’ and what isn’t will lead to poor results. It becomes confusing when test cases and the existing requirements don’t match up and the testing team is left to ‘figure out’ what the best course of action is to reach the correct expected results. Do they have accurate test cases? Do they have enough test cases? Do they have all high risk data points in the test cases? Do the test cases give the desired coverage to deliver expected quality? Keeping project requirements accurately documented throughout the lifecycle of the project, all the way through project close, is essential to enable your test team to start off on the right foot without ambiguity, and stay the course throughout. Your test team can now concentrate their time and energy on making sure they are ready to test the new features and functionality and possibly enhance their delivery for even higher quality results.
It is my position that solid, well-understood and documented requirements will enhance all facets of delivering quality across entire project teams (especially the Quality Assurance people where you will often find my loyalties).