Testing, whether it’s unit testing, integration testing or acceptance testing is the most vital part of a software implementation project. Ensuring the solution functions properly and meets the requirements is the primary objective of the project. During testing, you want your testers to log issues that they find, whether it’s defects, potential issues or even questions to help ensure that when the lights go on and the system is live, that it is a successful rollout with no major issues. In order to keep your team effective and your testers happy during the testing phases of your project, you need to make sure you have an effective triage process for when incidents are logged.
What is a triage process?
When you have your customer or project team testing your software, they are going to find “bugs”. The triage process allows for these “bugs” to go through an assessment based on pre-defined criteria to determine the level of priority or severity that are assigned to them but also to determine who best to address them, either contractually or by skill set. The triage process can be as simple as developing a flowchart that you share with (or develop with) your customer to ensure that everyone is on board with the process and will abide by it. The triage process is simply a set of steps that are done every time a bug is discovered. A typical triage process would involve the tester uncovering the bug then reporting it (via whatever system you have in place to track these issues) then having a designated team member (ideally one with a solid understanding of the solution) review the item and determine the severity and who should address it. More complex triage processes can involve multiple individuals (or even a panel) to assess items as they come in and come to consensus on the severity, criticality and nature of the item. Having pre-defined criteria in your contract for these measures is a great help because then it becomes very (contractually) clear on how the assessment is done.
Why do we need a triage process?
The triage process doesn’t need to be cumbersome or overbearing, but it needs to satisfy one specific need – to filter and identify the issues that need the highest level of attention from those who are responsible for remediating it. This allows the project team to stay focused on high-value targets throughout the project and testing phase in particular to ensure that budget and schedule impacts are negligible while ensuring the high quality standard that your customer expects. The triage process assists by ensuring that as items come in to the project team to remediate, that they can quickly understand by the classification which ones are the most important to work on first, keeping your team highly efficient.