Elevate Your Quality Assurance Process. Here’s how we selected a test management tool

A photo of a hand writing a checklist in a journal

Quality assurance takes up to a 40% average of development budgets

And for good reason: with a large portion of resources and personnel dedicated to thorough testing, development teams mitigate risks and ensure delivery of the best possible product to your customers.

The arrival of Agile methodology testing stirs up an important question: do we still need to have standard test documents when using Agile as the development and testing process?

To that, IEEE says: yes. To get working software in every sprint, it must be tested. To know if it was tested properly, there should be test documentation. Iterative development driven by testing is highly methodical, but also a far more malleable approach than Waterfall development, because it lets you nimbly correct course from start to finish.

While we love a good challenge at 303 Software, we know our operations shouldn’t be a source of one. While we had an established and well-planned process for quality testing during and after the development phase, it was clear we needed to upgrade our QA processes based on the Testing Maturity Model.

We’re a collaborative team, and felt confident in our overall organization and communication. The issue was with how we were executing our QA: manually managing our testing process was disrupting the development flow.

Without a system that integrated effortlessly with our project management tool, we were losing time tracking test cases and bugs, communicating changes in project requirements, and manually recording our work.

It was time to find a new system for test management.

One Good Process Deserves Another

Efficient and thoughtful problem-solving is naturally a part of our work, so when we found ourselves in need of an effective test management tool, we developed a set of requirements based on our established processes to find the right one.

Developing a concrete list of needs and expectations for a new test management solution was a huge time-saver.

We determined that the right test management tool should help perform the following steps during each of these stages: 

Stage     Step
Discovery & Release Planning Roll Out Test PlanQA Story Point Estimations
Sprint Planning Test Scenarios Design and Test Case design
Sprint Test Running and Reporting, including Test MatricesBug Status Tracking & Corrective ActionsTracing Requirement Changes
  Automation of Selected   (Sprint -1) Test Cases
Quality Sprint End-to End TestingManagement of Requirement TraceabilityQA Sign-off with QA Deliverables
Release Sprint Release Quality Project(Release -1) Test Automation

With a clear understanding of our process, we could begin building out a list of more specific requirements.

At a minimum, the right test management tool should:

  • Integrate into your environment
    • A test management system should support and integrate seamlessly into your existing processes and programs. If a new system requires you to adapt everything to it, it isn’t the right one for you. Don’t let a new product wag the dog, so to speak.

  • Require minimal staff training
    • Developers know the importance of user interface and easy deployment, and a good test management tool is no exception to these standards. A worthwhile tool will be easy to learn with a short runway to total implementation to get your team up and running quickly.

  • Automate as much of your process as possible
    • Whatever the product, automaton is in demand for good reason. Automating as much of your workflow as you can saves time, eliminates confusion within your team, and significantly reduces errors. This can include the automation of test scheduling and running of test cases, as well as capturing defects from failed test cases.

  • Offer robust capability for managing test cases
    • Software solutions are rarely built to be one-size-fits-all, and whatever tool you choose should be able to handle any test case you throw its way. Here’s a list of requirements we created for our own system—use this as a jumping-off point or a check-list for your own search.

The most effective test management tool will:

  • Iterate test cases and test results
  • Make test cases easy to access and maintain
  • Make the test case management process replicable
  • Record and track bugs
  • Prepare test matrices with different filters
  • Run test cases and accurate follow-up of status updates in a timely manner
  • Make it easier to manage both manual and automated tests and test results
  • Manage various versions of test runs for each test case and test scripts
  • Enable traceability of test cases with requirement concerns, defects, and other artifacts

Reaping the Rewards of Sleeker QA

Our diligence in vetting options based on our established processes and unique needs paid off. Once 303 Software implemented the new test management tool, improvements in our efficiency were immediately noticeable.

The test management tool’s easy integration with our project management software has been a huge time-saver. This feature was one of our necessities when we began the search for the right tool, and we’re glad we stuck with it. Gone are the wasted minutes—and errors—accumulated with non-traceable supporting QA documents.

Plus, the instant, across-the-board updates with each change in requirement mean there were no more crossed wires between project managers, QA’s, and the rest of the team: QA’s only work on what is still necessary and relevant to the final product.

Which Tool is Right for You? 

Finding the right test management tool begins with having a locked-down QA process. In order to improve our process to deliver the Highest Quality result—which includes the Quality of Communication, Quality of Deliverables, and Quality of Image—303 Software took time to find the optimal test management system that met our needs, and we’re happy to share our findings with you. If you’d like more insights into the tool selection process—or if you want to chat about QA best practices in general—contact us any time at helloworld@303software.com


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