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I am a web developer at a full service marketing firm. We have a relatively small development operation but we build websites for global clients. We just completed development on a new website for one of our larger clients, the CEO and the board approved the site and we are ready to launch. The problem now is that someone high up in their IT department is now demanding to see website test results/documentation.

This is not something that we have ever ran into before. Is there some sort of standard documentation that we should be keeping through the testing process?

We do not pay an outside firm to perform any formal QA testing done on the website but our testing process is much better and more robust than any other firm that I have worked at. We track a number of our bugs, and we could show them some of what we have fixed, but we do not document everything as that would eat into our efficiency.

I am confident that the website will perform well, especially as their old website (that they are running now and we did not build) is riddled with bugs, errors, performance issues, security nightmares, and lives on GoDaddy's shared hosting.

We will continue to manage this website after it has launched, so the person questioning this will not really have any involvement in the website at all.

Has anyone else run into something like this? Is there a system/process that we should use in the future to track these kinds of things?

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    Before responding, ask yourself: "What does the contract say about this?" If the request is not covered in your contract then what you do is tell the client that you are delighted to help them, and will supply a separate bid for it, which they can pay if they really need the extra work/documentation/whatever done. And always draft (and stick to!) a contract for developing websites. Let the client vote with their wallet about which parts they really need. Do this with every client every time, so it's them making the decisions about what's important. Everyone will be happier. – Tom Brossman Jan 1 '16 at 22:30
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Okay. I used to develop large-scale applications for global telecoms, major global NGOs, etc. Periodically, someone would interject themselves into the process for what ever reason. Be careful, sometimes they have sway and their demands can become a requirement. Just keep that in mind.

In each case, there is a client and while it is easy to think it is the company, it is actually the one person or group that signed the contract or created the requirements documentation and followed through on the development. Deal with them directly. Do not get distracted. Do tell them that the demand has been made and this is not standard from your experience. Be cooperative and helpful, but remind them that this is a new requirement that must be considered as part of the contract. If it was not required and now is, this is a new burden which is fine but may eat into the scope of the work. (assuming that it does)

Having said that, the only test plan that really applies is the final pre-acceptance plan that ensures that you have met the demands of the requirements. All others are work product and do not matter. It is part of the process of development. It should be a part of your process that this final test plan is well documented so that you can ensure that your work is complete. Just make sure your test plan is fully comprehensive. If it is part of your standard work and well documented, it should take no to little effort to print a document that shows your compliance. You do not have to print your entire plan of course. The nuts and bolts are your business. That is work product and may be proprietary. That is up to you. However, it is completely reasonable for a customer to ask for an audit of all requirements completion. This can be a simple document that lists all the requirements in short terms and contains a check-mark for compliance. It is standard in the development process that the low-level (detailed) requirements document be coded so that requirements can be referenced in other documents easily. This is enough for compliance.

I always advise following ISO and CMMS standards for development. This is not only an important marketing feature, but also an important CYA measure. Just make sure you dot your "t"s and cross your "i"s. (humor) People argue that this is unnecessary over-head, however, I have to tell you that if all of your work meets these standards and is woven into your business processes, then it is no burden at all. It becomes nothing more than being absolutely professional in your work and practices. You will be able to demonstrate your professionalism and the customer will rave about you every time! Trust me. Following standards begets new work very rapidly.

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