Author’s Remarks: This guest post by Vu Lam, CEO of QASymphony, emphasizes the significance of core features in test management tools and critiques the current state of the market.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the essential features mentioned below. Share your opinion in the comments section.
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As the Agile methodology takes root in Software Development and cloud computing gains prominence, the market is inundated with ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) tools. According to the renowned research firm Gartner, worldwide enterprise software spending is expected to reach $297 billion this year, marking a 6.4% increase from 2012. This fierce competition has led to a neglect of the test management functionality in these tools.
Amidst the race to secure profits, the needs of professional testers often take a backseat. Consequently, the test management tools fail to meet the requirements for a successful test cycle, let alone a project spanning several months or years.
What You Will Learn:
Essential Features of Test Management Tools
In many cases, ALM solutions prioritize the needs of software developers while disregarding the insights of professional testers. When test management tools are added as an afterthought, they often lack the necessary components for an effective test cycle, let alone a comprehensive project that spans months or years.
In today’s software development landscape, projects extend well beyond production release. Consequently, the testing requirements, such as regression testing and the implementation of new features in live platforms, have become more intricate. This prompts testers to seek test management software and tools that possess crucial features.
Recommended reading => The Importance of Feature Testing
Feature #1: User-Friendliness and Flexibility
If a test management solution is excessively complex or cumbersome, it will result in unnecessary training expenses. The system should be easily accessible and intuitive. The easier it is for testers to understand, the quicker the adoption, and the lower the chances of errors.
Moreover, the solution needs to be flexible enough to accommodate various scenarios. Different projects have distinct testing needs, and the tools should be capable of adapting to diverse testing processes. Having to fill in unnecessary fields, repeat redundant test cases, or execute extraneous steps wastes time and resources.
The flexibility should extend to the structuring and execution of specific sets of tests to focus on particular requirements or defects.
Feature #2: Transparency and Traceability
Testers highly value the ability to trace every aspect of their work in the test management system. This facilitates accountability and provides a wealth of data that can be used to streamline testing and plan for future projects. A reliable Test Management software should trace the entire lifecycle of a defect or requirement.
There should be a clear link between requirements, test cases, defects, repeated test cycles, and the responsible individuals. This eliminates potential tensions between testing and development, preventing the blame game.
Explicitly establishing a relationship between requirements and test cases, whether it involves multiple requirements within a single test case or multiple test cases for a single requirement, is crucial. Given the inherent repetition in testing, this explicit relationship can significantly save time. Clarity enhances efficiency.
Feature #3: Task Allocation and Tracking
Clear assignment and tracking of tasks are vital. It should be possible to assign specific tasks to requirements or defects, along with tracking whether the tasks were completed and by whom.
In addition to assigning tasks, it should always be evident which tasks are approved by either the development team or, when necessary, the project manager. Actionable tasks and assignments must be appropriately highlighted for the relevant team members.
Testers should be able to filter tasks, gaining a quick overview of their upcoming assignments. Various filters can also benefit test team leads and managers, providing progress insights and generating useful reports that highlight the team’s activities and encountered issues.
Feature #4: The Ultimate Test Management Solution
Every project is unique, making flexibility in the chosen test management solution crucial. Finding a solution that combines flexibility with traceability, usability, and transparency equips you to face any testing challenge.
About the Author:
Vu Lam, the CEO of QASymphony, is a prominent figure in the development of Quality Management solutions for Software Developers and QA testers. He has been at the forefront of Vietnam‘s offshore IT services industry since 1995 and previously worked at First Consulting Group.
He holds an MS degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University. Feel free to contact him at Vulam [at] qasymphony.com.
Which feature do you consider essential in any test management tool? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.