In a high-pressure development environment, the testing process is getting sidelined as there are time constraints. On the other hand, the quality of the released software is getting greater emphasis each passing day. Therefore the test managers need to bring a higher level of efficiency in their testing efforts. The QA professionals are now leveraging test management tools to improve their testing outcomes. The open-source tools available have limited capabilities and innate deficiencies. Here is an insider guide which will help you choose the right test management tool to get value for your money.
What is test management?
The quality assurance process deals with the process of testing and validating software. In simpler terms, “Test Management” is the practice of organizing and controlling the process and artifacts that are required for quality assurance. The main purpose of test management is to allow the testing team to plan, develop, execute and assess all the testing activities that are a part of the software development process. The process includes keeping everyone involved in the testing effort on the same page by providing a platform for collaboration, tracking dependencies and identifying relationships among test assets. It also includes defining, measuring and tracking the quality goals.
What is a test management tool?
A test management tool provides a platform to store all the information related to the testing activities. It helps in planning testing and provides reports on the status of testing efforts. A test management tool maintains and plans all the manual testing efforts, gather execution data from automated tests, and enter information related to defects. Test management tool helps to streamline the entire testing process and provides a communication medium across multiple project teams. A good test management tool incorporates requirement management and bug tracking capabilities as well.
Test management tool – Must have features
Support for multiple methods
There is a quick evolution of the software development methods. The project managers are now more prone to work with Agile and DevOps approaches owing to their immediate benefits. A test management tool should be compatible with traditional as well as the latest Agile & DevOps development approaches.
Ease of installation & use
Working on tight schedules, you would not want to waste time on installing and using a tool that takes up your testing time. A web-based test management tool saves you from the hassles of installation. Another critical factor before zeroing on a tool is that it should require minimal training. The learning curve of the tool should be as low as possible and it should provide good help documentation.
The cloud-based tool gives you the advantage of using shared resources which gives you a cost benefit. It is easier and much cheaper to scale on a cloud-based tool. There is low or virtually no cost involved when it comes to maintenance and up gradation.
Ease of collaboration
With the increasing adoption of agile approaches, there is a need for greater collaboration among developers, BAs, product owners and testing team. A good test management tool will allow the different stakeholders in a project to coordinate and communicate with ease.
For comprehensive test management, a tool must have defect management capabilities. The testers should be able to directly report bugs to the development team. They should be able to view the status of the bugs fixed.
Requirements are the starting point of a project. The software is developed in line with the requirement. For a high-quality software, it is imperative that the features and functionality can be mapped directly with a requirement. The prominent test management tools have a requirement management module. This helps testers to validate the build with respect to the requirements.
Traceability is a critical feature in a test management tool as it helps to know which bugs are linked to which test cases and requirements to set the priority for resolving the bugs. A test management tool should allow its users to quickly find which bugs are critical and prioritize them accordingly.
Rather than customizing the testing process to match the tool, a good test management tool will allow you to customize it as per your needs. The flexibility to customize is a strong point of a test management tool.
It is important for the user of a test management tool to get a quick update on the status of the testing process. Along with the progress, the test management tool should offer actionable intelligence to take corrective measures. The insights gained through a powerful reporting function helps in increasing the efficiency of the QA process.
Test case re-usability
By importing the already prepared test cases to a test management tool, you will be to reuse them. The most prominent tools for test management allow exporting test cases in most common CSV format for import. The tool should also allow exporting test cases which can be reused for other projects as well.
Integration with other tools
The test management tool should allow integration with most common tools such as JIRA so that the capabilities of other tools can be harnessed. The integration helps to get a more comprehensive solution for the testing team. The integrations should be customizable via API.
Test management tool – Checklist
Here is a quick checklist of the questions you should ask before selecting a test management tool.
- Do I have clarity on all my project requirements?
- Whether I should go for a single powerful tool or multiple tools for comprehensive test management?
- Which tool will be well suited for my requirements and budget?
- Whether I should buy the tool or lease it?
- Shall I lease a service or self-host the tool?
- Do I require an API or an open design?
- Is there any support for other tools and how the integrations will be done?
- Do I require a tool for mobile platforms?
- Will I get granular level test information from my tool?
- Is it possible to organize the test cases in hierarchies?
- How will test runs be monitored?
- Does my tool have a powerful reporting function for analysis and reports?
- Does my tool support exploratory testing?
- Will my tool provide a common platform for requirement management, test management, project management and defect management?
A right test management tool can introduce efficiency in the whole testing process. The most important thing to keep in mind while selecting the test management tools is that your end goal is releasing high-quality software.
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