Reporting, Diagrams and Emails

Each of us need to get his/her message across through reporting, diagrams or emails. This topic is also covered during “Soft Skills in Test Management” tutorial by Graham Bath. Graham gave several wonderful and useful tips on how to get your message across and deliver your message. In this post, I would like to share these tips with you and hope you will learn and gain benefit from them.

Reporting:

As mentioned before, reporting is one way to get our message across. There are three important tips when writing reports:

  1. Ask yourself “who will be interested in reading this report?” before writing any thing.
  2. Reduce the report to the max by writing as much as necessary and as little as possible.
  3. Maintain trust all the times since people will not read what you have written if they do not trust what you say.

For maintaing and keeping trust, here are some additional tips:

  • Always tell the truth.
  • Never hide relevant information.
  • Be capable of saying “I do not know”.
  • Never spread rumors.
  • Make honest interpretations of data – No manipulations.
  • Show respect for the readers of the report:
    • Give them a chance to read and understand.
    • Keep to an objective and professional style.
    • Do not break people trust.

Using Diagrams:

Graham described this point as easy as this: A picture is worth a thousand words. Therefore, if the picture tells you the wrong 1000 words then the picture is worthless. In addition, good diagrams show the reality behind the data.

Using e-Mails:

“I did not mean it that way” is an often expression we hear when discussing emails. Also, many times we face emails that are hastily written or having overcomplicated words and shortened text/”slang” expressions. In addition, emails are often a poor instrument of communication between different cultures.

A couple of things are to avoid when writing emails. Among them are:

  • Text in red or writing using various colors.
  • Text in capital letters or in a large font size.
  • Using “!” when addressing someone directly.
  • Jokes and sarcasm.
  • Threats and hurtful comments.
  • Sending emails to people who are not related to the topic.
  • Omitting people mentioned in the text of the email.

Graham also focused on thinking before writing the email. This will help us to stay objective. In addition, the email should be kept to one specific point and short since people do not read long emails. Moreover, two questions you can ask yourself before you send the email to check how well you wrote the email:

  • Would I say the same way tomorrow?
  • Would it matter if this were passed on to others?

Hope this information is useful for you. Again and again, thanks a lot to Graham Bath for the wonderful tutorial.

All the best…

* Source: “Soft Skills in Test Management” tutorial by Graham Bath

 

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