Zephyr Enterprise Test Management Tool Review – How to Use Waterfall Model Assets in Agile Tool

An Overview of Zephyr Enterprise Test Management Tool:

Long has the waterfall methodology been slated into enterprise quality assurance teams and with the rise of agile, many teams want to make the move but don’t exactly know how to go about it. What tool to use, what migration process to follow and etc?

This review of Zephyr Enterprise Edition will give you an idea of how to keep those Waterfall assets and reuse them in an Agile tool. We’ll also review the important items you need to keep an eye out for when evaluating test management solutions.

Zephyr Enterprise Edition review

Zephyr Enterprise, the robust enterprise test management platform that manages all aspects of the testing lifecycle, is provided as an on-premise installation as well as a SaaS-based installation. Zephyr fits and enhances any test methodology that you might be using as a part of your software development lifecycle: Waterfall, Agile, V-Model or a hybrid.

By being organized into logical hierarchy starting from a department, to projects – to releases or iterations, coupled with applications to cover different parts of the testing lifecycle, Zephyr allows a rigid process flow to be flexible enough to accommodate changes.

The Waterfall approach to software development has the following salient aspects:

  • It boasts a structured, well documented and disciplined process.
  • With the methodology being non-iterative, it allows multiple projects to run in parallel.
  • It is predictive and largely used for more stable projects.

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Waterfall based release cycle

The Agile approach to software development has the following salient aspects to it:

  • It boasts an adaptive, fast process without the disciplined restrictions.
  • Consists of multiple iterations (1-4 weeks) with each iteration being a software project in itself, producing fully functional software components.
  • Continuous communication, re-usability and a final release.

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Agile based release cycle

For companies, in most typical situations, the testing lifecycle becomes a hybrid of Waterfall or Agile software development methodology that suits their environment most efficiently and effectively:

  • A number of project teams in a company could be following the Agile methodology while a couple will follow the Waterfall standard instead. Zephyr aids that integration.
  • Teams that are transitioning from one methodology to another also fit.
  • Partners and customers demand a competing model or a variation of an existing model will often implement the hybrid methodology to become their internal standard.

Get to Know Zephyr Enterprise User Interface

Zephyr Enterprise Overview Video:


Using the concept of contextual release spaces to allow for a seamless work process, all of your testing assets are organized by projects, and then further organized into releases, iterations, or sprints. These contextual spaces contain a series of applications that manage requirements, test cases, scheduling, assignments, results, reports, metrics, and documents specific to that testing lifecycle. Test cases are also reusable across multiple projects and releases using the Global Tree mechanism.

Every user has an assigned role with a customized testing desktop with relevant applications that allow them to do their jobs more efficiently. They can all share data from the centralized repository on the Zephyr server and communicate via a collaborative backbone. Dashboards are real-time, keeping the whole company updated on every aspect of testing and product quality.

Using the contextual view to navigate between releases, users can open up a number of applications in a single release to work on them simultaneously, for e.g. Release Setup and Requirements Management or be able to open up another release with two separate applications in them and quickly navigate back using the tab structure in place at the top of the user interface. At a moment in time, the user is also given access to the search functionality and the help functionality at the top-right of the screen.

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Zephyr Enterprise User Interface 1

Using the Release Setup application, users can create new releases – or clone existing releases being able to choose and select the specific areas of a release to clone (test case repositories, requirement repositories, attachments and mappings, execution records, as well as defect mappings).

Requirements are critical in the testing lifecycle and with Zephyr, the Requirements can be brought in from external sources like Excel or Atlassian’s JIRA or built directly within the UI. The requirements can then have test cases mapped to them. Furthermore, a report can be built to provide an entire end-to-end traceability view from requirements to test cases to defects.

Using the Repository Setup, Zephyr allows users to set folder assignment restrictions for specific test folders (terminology could vary from test suites to phases) for users to go ahead and add test cases to these folders from Test Case Creation application. The Test Case Creation application allows users to maintain nested folder structure by adding, cloning, or deleting test cases into each folder or subfolder. Linked test cases can be handled within releases.

From the Testcase EAS application, once the test cases have been created, designated user(s) that are in charge of assigning and scheduling the cycles and phases can come here to build out overall execution cycles or sprints and under each sprint, the phases or areas of testing under them. Zephyr does provide easy ways to pull in existing phases as built out via Test Case Creation or build custom phases using a simple search, digging through the folder structure, or through previously executed sprints.

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Zephyr Enterprise User Interface 2

Zephyr provides a highly intuitive screen to access both manual and automated test cases at the same time. The test cases as created in the Test Case Creation application and assigned and scheduled in the Testcase EAS application are viewed here to be executed from the step level as well as the overall test case level. Using the ZBot and ZIPs technology, automation can be trigged from within the Zephyr UI here to bring back the execution information from any automation framework.

As test cases are executed, defects management can be handled natively through Zephyr or integrated with an external defect tracking system, for example, Atlassian’s JIRA. Zephyr’s integration with JIRA is unparalleled with the ability to seamlessly integrate a single Zephyr project with multiple JIRA projects and also being able to see metrics presented in the Zephyr Enterprise UI featuring JIRA data.

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Zephyr Enterprise User Interface 3

Using the Metrics and Reports application, users can trace the distribution, execution, defect, and requirements-based metrics as well as the trend charts. All of the metrics in this view are real-time in the sense, as mentioned previously, they require no refresh or sync button. Metrics can be drilled-down to get more granular views of the testing progress and can also be placed onto the project dashboard to be seen by any member of the project or “dashboard users” which are free users.

Key Features

  • Manage testing releases and sprints
  • Add and track requirements
  • Organize test repositories
  • Create and reuse manual tests
  • Plan and execute automation scripts
  • Integrate leading defect tracking solutions (JIRA & Bugzilla) as well as over 400 automation frameworks (any framework with a command-line interface)
  • Real-time Collaboration
  • Real-Time custom metrics and dashboards
  • Unlimited API access
  • Enterprise-ready test management
  • Available in the cloud (SaaS or On-premise)


  • Migrate to agile with easy
  • Ranked #1 for HPQC replacement
  • Integrate with JIRA and Bugzilla
  • Centralize your testing
  • Run automation
  • Full visibility and traceability
  • Open API access
  • Flexible pricing options
  • Easy migration process
  • Free metrics and dashboards


  • Doesn’t integrate with TFS or Rally
  • Not cost competitive with smaller TM tools
  • Doesn’t have a test recorder application
  • Only three UI skins available

Zephyr Enterprise: Elevate Your Agile Testing

Zephyr Enterprise Edition is unlike any test management solution in the industry. It provides all the rich functionality QA teams and testers need to create and execute test cases with less effort allowing more time to do actual testing by alleviating significant time-wasting steps. Project management is provided with Zephyr’s state-of-the-art push-based real-time metrics (no sync, no refresh!) to make highly critical business decisions based on informed quality intelligence on free project dashboards.

Zephyr can be deployed as a SaaS-based solution or an On-Premise deployment with sound security at multiple levels using a variety of authentication mechanisms. The Enterprise-ready solution has high industry-strength scalability, documented APIs, and regular maintenance and upgrades.

Signup for a free 1 year trial of Zephyr agile solution here.

Are you using this Zephyr test management tool? Which features do you like the most and what are the limitations, if any, in this tool? Let us know in comments below.

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