Test Management has been a quintessential requirement for over a decade, and the number of software enterprises looking for a quality software test management tool is increasing multi-fold day by day. Moreover, given the fact that there are an umpteen number of test management tools available in the marketplace today makes it an even more daunting task to choose one that best fits one’s project needs.
As a QA manager, you might look into several factors specific to your project. Here are a few primary ones you might want to probe into before choosing an apt test management platform.
Choose a Matching Plan and Pricing:
Most of the test management vendors have multiple suites or plans that fit for a broad range of project testing requirements. A plan for a startup organization with few testers and developers might require a limited edition plan, with respect to the number of users, test cases, features, and integrations. On the other hand, a CMM level 5 organization might have a very large team of Business Analysts, Developers, Testers, Operations, and Maintenance executives. They might be looking at a very high-level plan with unlimited features and functionalities.
There are different pricing methods adopted for different test management tools. It can be user-based, time-based, or a combination of both. Also, when we speak about pricing, we take into consideration not only the upfront and recurring costs but also costs for training, set-up, and customer support. So, you must look into your team size, project requirements, and testing budget, and choose a plan and pricing accordingly.
To make it easier for you to understand, have a look at QA touch plans and pricing, suited for startups, mid-level, and enterprise level project teams.
Understand Your Project Current Scenario:
Before diving into the features and other factors, you must first understand your project scenario first. You will need to have answers to a few questions, such as:
- Have you been using other test management tools already or not?
- What is the technology your project is implemented upon?
- What are the software products you are already using? Are they self-hosted or cloud-hosted?
- What are all the tools you want test management to be integrated with?
The preferred test management tool should be in alignment with your existing resources and infrastructure.
Check for Ease of Use:
A quality test management tool must facilitate the quick set up and have a user-friendly platform dashboard. It should be in the manner in which you can easily understand your way through the product. Check for whether all features such as Test Cases, Test Runs, Defects, Users, and Integrations are clearly identifiable and understandable. Along with user-friendliness, the product should also be easily configurable. Product documentation and tours, live demos and video tutorials, are some materials vendors can provide for hassle-free workflow. Most vendors provide a free trial of the tool for a specific number of days. Do check for these factors during your trial period before making a purchase. QA touch platform has been reported to have a very much user friendly dashboard by most of our clients.
Check for Accommodation of Different Project Methodologies:
There are different methodologies that modern software projects work upon. The process that an organization follows depends on their project and/or internal and external stakeholders requirements. But, to summarize, a good test management tool must be scalable enough to map and facilitate Agile and Waterfall model. Check for what kind of customizations the tool has to offer in order to adapt for different methodologies.
For instance, Agile projects would have short sprints and imply synergy between testers, developers, and clients. So, your test management must enable efficient and timely reporting of sprints, test runs, and defects, and it must enable you to compare metrics for each sprint. Waterfall model, on the other hand, is more sequential and longer. This requires detailed planning of requirements and test cases as some of the key necessities in the test management process. DevOps is another model that requires sync between development and operations team. So, check for consistency between your project model and test management tool before making a selection.
Critically Examine the Test Management Tool Features:
The Test Case feature should be as detailed as possible. There are two main features that gather attention: Sample data and Test Steps in a test case. Each test case may require different test steps, and each of the test steps may have different sample data to test with. It should be possible to add sample data for each step and not for the whole test case. That’s how you will know at which point the test case failed and why, thus making defect management easier. So, check for the level of detail the tool provides with regards to test cases before proceeding.
Another key feature that a test management tool must provide is bundling up relevant test cases into execution packages. Creating numerous test cases and executing them one by one without a structure is what makes testing a humongous task. That’s what a quality test management tool ought to solve! Test runs enable assigning a group of test cases to a single person, instead of one by one. Bundling test cases also helps provide hierarchy and priority to the testing process. Critically analyze if the test runs feature is seamless in the test management feature you are about to choose.
Test Management is also about conveying the results of the testing process to relevant stakeholders. When speaking about reports, the look and feel of the test management platform must also be taken into consideration. A test management platform might be technically flawless, but it needs to understand the platform without hassles.
Apart from that, the tool should help you report on test cases, test runs, requirements and sprints in a few clicks. It should also accommodate reporting in a wide range of formats, such as bar graphs, pie charts, and more. To sum up, seamless reporting is a critical feature your test management feature needs to have.
Managing your software testing process from a centralized place (i.e. one dashboard) makes your job a lot simpler. There are several other tools you must be working on in a project, and it will be really tedious for you to switch tools while working, especially when test managing. For example, you might be using a collaboration tool like Slack for assigning individual testers to the test cases present in a test management tool. In this case, integrating Slack with your tool helps to assign responsibility to the test cases right from your tool, without switching to Slack.
Integrations can be done with different software performance testing, collaboration, code management, and several other functionalities. Jira, GitHub, Slack, Trello, Katalon, Jenkins, Salesforce, and Selenium to name a few. The tool should also have its own API for enabling custom integrations. Choose your test management tool after ensuring it integrates with the products you make use of for your project.
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Ensure Seamless Customer Support:
After ticking all the above factors, do ensure if the test management vendor support is consistent and timely. There can be instances when everything about the product is awesome, but you don’t know where to start and how to start. You might want assistance working with some test management feature. You might feel a particular test management feature might add value to the product. The vendor must have a dedicated customer support team to address all your concerns. Raising tickets from the test management platform must be seamless and it should be backed up by an all-round support system. Moreover, most vendors also provide you with live product demos, product documentation, and/or a platform tour to ensure you do not get stranded at any stage.
For instance, QA touch has a seamless customer support system where clients can communicate their queries, request for demos and raise support tickets. QA touch also has a dedicated community for QA professionals, to discuss on latest trends, follow the latest announcements in product and raise enhancement and feature requests.
We hope this blog helps you in understanding what to look for while selecting a software test management tool. Make a checklist of the above mentioned factors and tick all those you find in the tool that you are curating. Don’t restrict examining only one vendor. Critically analyze tools from several vendors and keep shortlisting, one by one. Prior to all this, understand your project requirement in terms of test management. No evaluation will help you choose the most appropriate tool without understanding your business needs.
Here are a few other things that you can do:
- Look for customer testimonials and case studies on vendor websites and pages.
- Check for the availability of a free trial, and ask if the vendor can extend it for you.
- Attend webinars and conferences, and be an active member of testing communities to stay in line with the latest trends with respect to test management tools.
Do you have any other key requirement you feel needs to be evaluated in selecting a software test management tool, other than the ones listed here? Drop a comment in the section below. It would be very valuable for QA members of our community and those outsides.