SBTM with iTester and Google Drive

A bit of context

SBTM (Session-Based Test Management) is one of the ways of structuring exploratory testing. There are several tools that help you implement SBTM in your testing work. At Altom, we have developed a couple of our own tools to help us manage our exploratory testing, each suitable for different needs. One of these tools is iTester, which should be useful in case you are running a test session in an environment where using a computer is not practical, while your iPad or iPhone is close at hand. There is also an equivalent for your Google Drive: the SBTM Session Template which allows you to record your sessions straight from your browser, without installing any additional tools.

To help you keep track of your sessions, you can use another specially designed Google Drive template called SBTM Report Template, an easy way to gather all the relevant session-based test management metrics.

In this post, we will try to explain:

How to use iTester to record your exploratory testing sessions

The iTester app allows you to take notes during your exploratory testing sessions, and is useful especially if you are working on the field and have no access to a computer.

When you start the app, you can set a test charter for your session, set a session length, and you can enter any environment details that you might find useful. You can also set an area or a feature that the session will be focusing on, and this info will be used to gather coverage info on the summary report.

the iTester welcome screen

When you start the session, you will be able to enter different types of notes:

  • Test
  • Bug
  • Setup and
  • OffCharter

These are notes that will affect time calculations. For example, the app will record the time that you are working on setting up your environment from the moment you touch Setup until you touch another one of these note types.

The other note types (Note, Question, Next Time and Data) will not affect time metrics, and you can save notes and questions as part of the session test-time. For example, if you select Question/Note/Next Time/Data  while Setup is active, the time will still be recorded as time spent on Setup.

the session screen in iTester

When you finish a session, you will be able to either share it by email, Dropbox, Box, or whatever other similar app you might be using, or upload it to Google Drive to use it later and add it to an SBTM Report.

session sharing with iTester

How to use the SBTM Session Template

We have also created a Google Drive template version of the app which can be used in a similar fashion for taking notes during exploratory testing sessions. You can find the template here: https://docs.google.com/previewtemplate?id=0Aqk-dNwZsfwrdHlfYTRSN3FKQzlVenBYWUhZUk44REE&mode=public

The Google Drive version of the app functions on the same principles:

  • to start a session, you set a charter and the length of the session, you specify the name of the reporter and the area your tests will focus on, as well as details about the environment
  • the session sheet uses the same type of notes: Test, Bug, Setup, OffCharter (which influence time metrics), and Question, Note, Data, Next Time (which do not affect time calculations)
  • you can add the sheet to an SBTM report, by copying it to the Summary Report template

To start using the session sheet template:

  1. Click on the template link – you will have to sign in with your Google Account.
  2. Click on “Use this template” – this will create a copy of the spreadsheet in your own Google Drive. You can rename it if needed.
  3. On the Session sheet, at the top, by the regular Google menu, you will see an “SBTM Session” menu, with a “Start Session” submenu, as below:
  4. start session submenu in SBTM session template

  5. When you click on “Start Session” you will be asked to enter the charter for your testing session; after you insert it and you click on Start session button, the session starts.
  6. You add all data (Planned session time, Environment info, Area) and then you can start testing.
  7. To end a testing session, go to “SBTM Session” menu, and select “Finish Session” submenu.

For this template, if you go to Tools -> Script Editor…, you will see the actual Google Apps Javascript code that creates the session sheet. You are welcome to modify this code and make whatever improvements you feel necessary.

How to create an SBTM report on Google Docs using your sessions

Ru has created a Google Drive template that you can use to create your SBTM report:
https://docs.google.com/previewtemplate?id=0Aqk-dNwZsfwrdG9Eazhyc0tSMHNOc1ZRQzZFdFRLMGc&mode=public

and here’s a screenshot of the report in use:

the SBTM summary report template

To start using the report:

  1. From iTester or from SBTM Session Template, upload one of your sessions to Google Drive or email it to yourself so that you have at least one session file at hand.
  2. Click on the template link – you will have to sign in with your Google Account.
  3. Click on “Use this template” – this will create a copy of the spreadsheet in your own Google Drive. You can rename it if needed.
  4. Click on the Sample 1 sheet and delete all data inside. This applies to all other samples.
  5. Open your session file – either from your email or from Google Drive – select all data and copy-paste it in the Sample 1 sheet in your SBTM Report. Rename the sheet from Sample 1 to something relevant.
  6. On the Summary sheet, at the top, by the regular Google menu, you will see an “SBTM Report” menu, with a “Refresh Data” submenu, as below:
  7. Refresh data submenu in SBTM report template

  8. When you click on the “Refresh Data” button, you should now see the metrics relating to your own sessions.
  9. If you want to add a new session to the report, create a new sheet and copy-paste your session there.

That’s it!

A bit more on how this works:
From the document, if you go to Tools -> Script Editor…, you will see the actual Google Apps Javascript code that creates the summary sheet. You can modify this or improve it in any way to make it fit your needs better.

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