The Value of Testing Instructions

For a complete walkthrough of writing high-quality testing instructions, checkout our guide on GitHub. Below, let’s look at some key reasons for writing clear testing instructions.

Clarity of thought

Adding steps to test your Pull Request causes you to stop and think about what you’re trying to achieve. Because you’re trying to articulate these steps, it forces you to crystallize what is happening. You may find yourself considering important edge cases at this step that you weren’t originally thinking about.

A blueprint for automated tests

Another benefit is that when you’ve done a good job listing out all the ways your work should be evaluated – you have a very good test plan on hand.

If the Pull Request that you just authored doesn’t contain automated tests already, you at least already have a very good guide on how to go about adding it.

Making your Pull Request actionable for Pull Request reviewers

Pull Request reviewers ideally don’t have to think about how to evaluate your Pull Request. Sure, they can comment on coding decisions, but you’ve done the hard work in terms of laying out what they should be looking at.

Remember: while your mental picture of the code under review may be fresh, it can take time for the reviewer to mentally process the context of the change and develop the same level of understanding.

Building strong quality culture

Finally, we believe that if every engineer will take part in writing clear testing instructions, we will continue building and maintaining a strong quality culture. Testing will be moved to earlier in the development cycle as opposed to towards the release how we currently have it. As a result, our bet is that WooCommerce releases will be of higher quality with fewer fix releases needed.

Testing Instructions Guide

In order to facilitate the definition of testing instructions and promote good practices, we have created a guide on how to write high-quality testing instructions. The guide is linked in the Pull Request template and also available publicly so that every contributor could get on board with us.