Test management tools are resources used to help manage software testing activities and make them easier and faster to perform. They help to save time and money so that people/applications and other resources involved in actively testing can use their time more effectively.
Test management tools come with all kinds of formats, offerings and price tags and can often be customised to suit the needs of the organisation e.g. web-based, open source, tools specific to type of testing such as agile, performance, exploratory testing.
Test management tools provide things like:
- structure and support for test set-up
- frameworks for planning testing activities
- customisable templates
- auto email notifications
- prefilled defect steps to reproduce bugs
- enhanced data/screen capture
- methods of storing test assets such as requirements, test cases, defects and linked resources
- timely, consistent MI reporting for:
- progress of key test activities
- quick reference visuals for senior stakeholders
- requirements gathering and analysis
- test case preparation
- test execution
- defect information
- software quality
- test stage management
- customisable reporting filters
- coverage analysis
- priority and severity of work
- traceability between requirements, test cases and defects
A good test management tool needs to be simple to access, easy to use, flexible to accommodate change, easy to maintain and one that promotes collaboration between interested parties.
Example Test management tool types:
- Open Source: (computer programming code or software that anyone can use or modify without asking permission from the company that developed it).
These allow users to manage costs and have more control over its use.
- Cloud-based (applications, services or resources made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider's servers).
These are especially helpful when staff are based in separate international sites.
There may be a need to have desktop and mobile access, in which case the tool would need to facilitate that e.g. Kualitee, the feature rich, cloud based application.
- Test management tools such as Zephyr can be useful as they integrate with other well-known tools such as JIRA, Bamboo, Selenium, Jenkins, Confluence, QTP
- QTest is widely used within Agile and DevOps set ups as is it is light and simple to use which increases efficiencies. It can integrate with JIRA, programming interfaces and other automation tools.
A good test case management tool is simple to use, promotes collaboration between stakeholders, and allows for some flexibility. The right tool can have a direct impact on you and your team. Choosing a tool leads to better test coverage, more efficient testing, and better reporting.
- Automation compatible test tools allow greater re-usability for test assets, increases coverage, lowers costs, reduces manpower effort required, facilitates easier reporting.
- Visual Studio Team Services (Commonly known as VSTS) owned by Microsoft, is another widely used Test Management tool. Microsoft manage the major upgrades in approximately three-week intervals, without any downtime.
- Often features deployed are released internally to partners so that there has usually been some robust testing before the features are rolled out to the wider community. The features that are rolled out are well sign-posted and detailed.
- Microsoft manage all the infrastructure, the machines which run VSTS and so its users don’t have to worry.
- VSTS can be used globally and access can be managed using Azure Active directory for use with AD accounts
Security is a very hot topic lately, largely because of blunders in cyber security data protection breaches and because of media exposure related to GDPR.
Microsoft published a whitepaper which explains how they host your data and it demonstrates they treat security seriously. Microsoft detail that they achieved HIPAA, BAA, and SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 certifications. They also have recommendations for additional steps you can take when adopting VSTS such as AAD and two-factor authentication.
On top of this they also utilise the Azure storage features to its advantage, not least to safeguard against hardware failure, service disruption or data centre disasters. The VSTS team have procedures in place to protect your data from either accidental or malicious deletion.
So, in summary, there a wide variety of test management tools available which can and do significantly support software testing management operations and help to achieve commercial objectives.
With the right tool in place your business can be more confident in delivering change that will optimise your competitive edge, retain valued and satisfied clients, win new business and sustain a lasting quality reputation within the industry.