ALM Practices Part 5: Checklists

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What is it?
An (online) list of verification tasks to sign off as part of the delivery process of a newly delivered unit of work. Usually these include things that are often forgotten, or aspects that require explicit verification. See an example of such a list here.
Why would you do it?
Because quite often, things considered common sense, are overlooked anyhow. Browser compatibility is one example of this. Also, most teams have written down some form of project-specific rules and guidelines. However, writing something down and complying with them are two different things. So it may be wise to include the most important functional, technical or administrative guidelines on the checklist.
What’s the bare minimum you need to do?
  • Create a minimal checklist on the project site and adapt and extend it all along the project. Use it with important deliveries.
What’s the usual thing to do?
  • Use the checklist as a formal sign off document after finishing a use case, screen or user story.
How do you do that?
  • Store the checklist as a wiki on the SharePoint site associated with your TFS Team Project. This lowers the threshold for the team to change or update the checklist with new insights, and causes it to become a team effort for gaining high quality.
  • Make sure each entry on the list is short, concise and that it means the same for every member of the team.
  • If an entry on the list requires the verification of multiple aspects of the product, split the entry in multiple single-purpose entries. If you don’t, you risk the chance that people only roughly look at it and quickly sign off the corresponding entry.
  • Include the most important design guidelines and coding standard rules as individual entries.
  • Ensure that your team members complete one checklist per screen, use case or user story (depending on your planning unit) and file it either physically or on the project site.

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