Sunday, November 11, 2007

What's your Top Five?

I've found the 'Top Five" approach in defect disposition quite effective. Here's how its done.

Q) What's the "Top Five" approach?

A) Simple, create a the list of top five defects you'd need urgent fixes for.

Q) Is it different from Test Holdup Defects?

A) Well, to some degree it is and to some degree it is not. Holdup defects are the ones where your testing activity is held up. This needs urgent fix, so naturally the holdup defects should be part of your top five defect list. However you should have defects that aren't holding up your testing.

Q) Why only five defects in the list?
A) From our experience we've found that anything more than 5 defects in your top five list becomes unmanageable for development and test leads and thereby this list loses it effectiveness. The idea is to have only so much defects in the list that the test and development leads can memorize.

Q) How to manage this list?
A) You'd require a solid development team backing for this approach. Speak with your development lead and manager before you embark upon this step. Ask for the commitment from their team that the defects in the TopFive will get their utmost attention and will be dispositioned fast.

Q) Are there tools to manage the list?
A) Reports from your defect system should be sufficient. If your defect system supports tagging of defects, this is the best way of doing it. Tag your TopFive defects and create a report. Simple excel sheet or an email message with predetermined format will also work.

Q) What types of defects should not be in this list?
A) Defects that you know will take longer time to get dispositioned should not be in this list. We've defined a 'longer time' as over two weeks. Since you know these defects will take longer, do not keep these defects in this list as these will take up a permanent slot in your Top Five defect list.

Q) What type of projects are TopFive list effective?
A) Typically medium to large project with current open defect count of over 150 defect count. For smaller projects, may not require the overhead of maintaing this list.

Q) When do you create a TopFive list?
A) We typically create a list of 5 or less defects every week ( say monday) and communicate this to list to the development manager.

Q) What's the turnaround time for TopFive defects?
A) Typically, we've found to have one week time for these defects. i.e. When you enter a defect in this list it takes typically one week to get fixed.

Q) What's the followup process?
A) Typically we do a status check with development manager every 3 to 4 day and disucss the list in our weekly meetings.
Creative Commons License
The Elusive Bug by Rajesh Kazhankodath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 India License.