Think a JIRA Test Management Add-On is the Solution? Think Again.

In recent years many Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools have rapidly emerged in the market to support Agile methodologies.  Organizations have learned the hard way that older legacy applications are not well-suited for Agile transformation and processes.

Atlassian offers an ALM solution, JIRA, that does a tremendous job of aligning various components of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). From project planning to requirement management and defect tracking, these ALMs position themselves to accommodate the needs of an organization’s SDLC efforts. While these ALMs do many things very well, there’s one major gap in all ALM tools – Test Case Management.


The Rise of the JIRA Testing Add-On

That’s why when you visit the Atlassian Marketplace, you will find a wide range of Test Case Management add-ons available for JIRA, all trying to fill that void.

Despite the appeal of centralizing your SDLC efforts into JIRA, these Test Case Management add-ons are truly not scalable for larger enterprise QA teams.  As organizations grow, the complexity of QA testing grows, requiring enterprise-grade tools.  

The Limitations of the Test Case Management Add-On

At QASymphony, we speak to customers every day who struggle with this very issue.  They thought that a JIRA Test Case Management add-on would be the solution.  Instead, it’s the problem.  Here are some of the big issues they tell us they are having with the add-on:

  • Zero or limited ability to reuse test suites and runs for regression
  • No folder structures so everything is searchable, but not scalable
  • Unknown change history for Test Case Versions
  • No visibility into Test Execution History for JIRA Issues
  • No ability to share test case objects across JIRA projects
  • No out of the box integrations to support automation efforts
  • No API support
  • No single point for updating test cases
  • No ability to configure tests across different browsers, operating systems, etc.

Bigger Teams Need Better Tools

This does not mean that a JIRA Test Case Management add-on is all bad.  For small teams, it may be a perfectly acceptable solution.  However, bigger teams need better tools.  To truly scale agile testing, teams need solutions that do all the things that the plugins can’t do.

For small teams, it may be a perfectly acceptable solution.  However, bigger teams need better tools.

For example, if a team with 100 testers tried to use the plugin, they would struggle to test runs , such as regression cycles and suites, across different sprints.  This would create massive inefficiency in a large team, as they’d have to constantly rebuild these groups of tests  for each sprint they conduct.  As you add more configurations, versions and environments per each test run, the limitations of an add-on become clear.

The Better Option: A Test Case Management Solution that Integrates with JIRA

The better option for an enterprise is to use a separate Test Case Management solution that integrates well with JIRA.  You can see a list of the top ones on sites like Software Testing Help and Code Rewind.  The key is to find a solution that offers more robust functionality than a standard plugin and also utilizes webhooks to create a real-time sync between objects in JIRA. Enterprise Test Case Management solutions also have more extensive training and support resources to help larger teams.

Yes, your team will have to have separate ALM and Test Case Management applications.  But, the advantages and efficiencies you will gain from an enterprise Test Case Management solution will easily outweigh the downside of working across applications.  

So if you’re truly serious about scaling agile testing across your enterprise, you’ll have to think outside of the Test Case Management add-on solution.

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