Test Incident Report

Once the process of software development reaches its culmination, the developed product reaches the testing team, who then test the software in accordance with stated requirements. During this phase, the aim of the team is to find as many defects and incidents as possible and report them to the developers and programmers. During this process, the team generates several reports and documents that define the procedure of testing as well as the techniques and methods used for it.

Test Incident Report is mainly generated during the software testing stage and it records all the defects, bugs, and any other discrepancies found by the testers while testing the software. Apart from reporting the defects in the software, the document also identifies and defines various invents and incidents in the software, which prevent them from getting expected results.

Defining Incident in Software Testing:

When a software under test exhibits questionable behaviour and offers results that deviates from the expected result, then it is termed as an incident. These incidents are a result of failure or misconfiguration of the testing environment, corrupted or invalid test data, as well as input of wrong expected results. Moreover, these incidents occur in the software due to the various mistakes made by the software testers while testing the software. It is only when the root cause of some problem is in the software that these incidents take the form of defects, errors, bugs, or any other discrepancies.

To ensure proper functioning and performance of the software, it is vital for the team to record these incidents regularly and take proper preventive measures. Therefore, to accomplish this the Test Incident Report is created by the team of software testers after the completion of software testing.

What is Test Incident Report?

Test incident report is a document/report generated after the culmination of software testing process, wherein the various incidents and defects are reported and logged by the team members to maintain transparency among the team members and to take important steps to resolve these issues. The aim here is to report all these incidents that require proper assessment and investigation, and to meet the expected output criteria set during the planning phase.

As an important part of software & system test report, test incident report classifies the various incidents that impact the performance and functionality of the software and offers details and evidence of test failures. It keeps a track of the numerous defects found in the system as well as helps report, classify, assign and manage the defect discovery to final resolution. In short, the main objective of this report is to provide programmers, managers, and others with detailed information about the system’s observed behaviour and the defects, which are then eliminated by them.

Why Test Incident Report?

Reports and documents generated after the completion of a project help the team members monumentally. These documents improve communication between team members and allow them to be aware of the various measures taken to develop, test, evaluate, etc. a software product. Likewise, test incident report documents and classifies numerous incidents that hamper the behaviour, performance, or the functionality of the software by logging them with proper information/details and evidence. This report allows testers to deliver information regarding tracked incidents to the incident management team, which assists them to easily target the incidents with unsuitable behaviour and to take necessary actions to resolve them. Other reasons that make creating test incident report important are:

  • It offers programmers, managers, leads, incident management team, among other detailed information about system’s observed behaviour as well as the numerous defects tracked by them.
  • Provides details about the failed tests and when they failed along with supporting evidence.
  • Prioritizes defects and incidents, which saves time, efforts and resources of the team.
  • Helps differentiate between defects and incidents.
  • Establishes transparency among team members and reduces communication gap between team and other stakeholders of the project.
  • Tracks, reports, classifies, assigns, and manages defects and incidents from discovery to their final resolution.

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Format for Test Incident Report:

Test incident report is a vital part of software & system test report, which is created by international organizations like IEEE and ISO for defining the formats of various reports generated during the process of software development life cycle (SDLC). The format for these reports and documents are universally acknowledged and accepted by software developers and testers. Therefore, the format defined by the IEEE std 829-1998 for test incident report is as follows:

  1. Test Incident Report Identifier: The first information included in the software is the test incident report identifier, which is a unique company generated number that offers an identity to the report and helps differentiate it from other reports. It also helps identify various other components and offers advantages like:
    • Enables the team to identify the level of the report and the level of the software it is related to.
    • Track the testing phase where the incident originally occurred.
    • Helps eliminate these incidents effectively through process improvement.
  2. Summary: After providing the report a unique identity, the team offers a summary of the incident, wherein all the necessary information and details are included. Moreover, the emphasis of this portion of the report is to define how, when, and where the incident occurred as well as the way it was discovered by the team. All these details help them resolve the incident and improve the quality of the end product. Other details included here are:
    • Test procedures, techniques, methodologies, etc used for incident discovery.
    • Test logs showcasing the execution of various test cases and procedures.
    • Test case specification is included to portray the recreation of the incident.
    • The methods used to discover & resolve the incident.
    • Any other important detail related to the incident reported by the testing team.
  3. Incident Description: In incident description, any information related to the incident that was not already included in the summary is provided by the team. These include extensive and detailed information about the incident and providing any other supporting evidence, which can help the developers or incident management team understand the defects and incidents effortlessly. Few of the things included in this section are:
    • Expected results/Outputs.
    • Inputs.
    • Actual results of the conducted tests.
    • Testing procedures and their steps.
    • Date & time of various executed tests.
    • Levels of testing where incident(s) were discovered.
  4. Impact: Finally the impact and severity of the incident(s) is recorded by the team under this section of the format. Here, the details about the actual and potential damage caused by the incident is identified and logged by the team for future reference. These are mainly based on the severity of the incident, the priority to fix them or both, which further help the team categorize them properly.


Logging and reporting of defects and incidents after software testing is an extremely important task allocated to the team of testers to ensure the accuracy and validity of the software. By recording and reporting various details and information about these incidents they can keep a track of each and every incident and can take necessary steps to resolve and eliminate them. Moreover, by preparing the test incident report they can communicate details about testing with others concerned about the project and avoid communication gaps. Therefore, if you want to ensure smooth functioning of your team and promote great management, preparing test incident report after software testing is crucial for you.

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