Today, the entire software development process is going through a cultural shift from the traditional Waterfall model to the modern agile methodology. With this paradigm change, the entire development group, including testing, is facing significant changes in workplace culture, philosophy, tool usage, and delivery patterns. Different important factors are leading to this paradigm shift. Some of them are:
- Tremendous pressure of reducing time-to-market cycles in a competitive market.
- Different IT platforms, languages, and systems are getting used for development.
- Usage of IT systems have increased manyfold among regular people.
On one side, organizations working on “System of Engagement” types of projects are adopting DevOps. On the other side, organizations working on “System of Records” types of projects are going for Continuous Delivery. Both these philosophies demand an integrated testing platform for ensuring quality at every lifecycle stage, right from the beginning of execution to delivery.
But, for all this to become a reality, organizations need a centralized tool, from where all the test activities can be managed and tracked efficiently with a clear visibility of the release progress. There are many Test Management tools on the market, offering various testing capabilities. Organizations need to be extremely careful about choosing the right one that fits their business needs.
In this blog, we have discussed some of the key features to look for in a Test Management tool before making a buying decision.
Flexibility and Ease of Use
In the absence of a proper tool, MS Excel is the most popular offline medium for managing test artifacts. One of the major reasons for this is the ease of use and flexibility of the tool. So, while moving from Excel to a standard test tool, it has to be made sure that the tool is very easy to use and its training and user adaptation time is very less. Every organization, and in some cases every project follow their own model of testing. The testing tool should be configurable enough to support these model variances.
Support for End-to-End Traceability
It is very important for the testers to able to trace back all their work in a centralized test management system. A bi-directional traceability between test artifacts and the associated requirements and defects increase the efficiency of measuring quality of a project. It also allows organizations to track the coverage of both Requirements and Test Cases, failing which may lead to missing information, loss of productivity and fall in quality.
Real-time Reports and Dashboards
Most software projects fail due to the lack of proper visualization of analytical data related to a project’s progress. In the absence of a centralized tool, the entire process of reporting is dependent on manual interactions, making it error-prone. So, the tool to be procured should have the facility of providing real-time reports and dashboards, keeping stakeholders updated with the latest status of progress and assess quality at every step.
Support for Test Automation
Today, due to fierce market competition, Test Automation is no more a choice but has become a mandate for organizations. A testing tool must have the support for managing Test Automation scripts from a single repository. However, that is not enough for a Test automation project. Test automation needs to be an integral part of the entire execution process. Features like the central execution of test automation scripts, automatic capturing of test results and making them visible from a central platform are necessary. Viewing Test Automation results needs to be a part of the end-to-end traceability chain.
Integration With Other Phases of Application Lifecycle
Today, in the world of Agility, testing is no longer an isolated phase or a security gate to final delivery, but an integral part of the entire lifecycle. To achieve this and ensure quality right from the beginning, testing should get involved at every stage of the lifecycle. Therefore, a testing tool should have the capability to integrate with tools from other phases of the lifecycle, so that a centralized status update on the project’s progress and quality can be achieved. Seamless integration between testing and other lifecycle tools paves the way for an organization to achieve Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD), the milestones to implement DevOps.
If you find any more criteria to be imperative to procure a test management tool in your organization, please share your comments. We would appreciate your participation.