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The Top Five Reasons You Need to Close the Loop Between Requirements and Tests

Requirements and TestsTests have a very powerful, symbiotic relationship with software requirements. Both help teams define what a solution should do and how it should behave. Both help people envision a desired outcome. And both help teams confirm when that outcome has been produced.

Unfortunately, the important requirements and testing information teams create and manage is usually disconnected. It lives in separate tools – often Microsoft Office documents and spreadsheets – and is kept in sync through a fragile link – perhaps a difficult-to-maintain numbering scheme, an error-prone versioning process, or a clunky import/export interface. Much of the testing team’s work is executed manually: They create test cases from textual documents, record test results by hand, and share them ad hoc via email.

In this common scenario, testers don’t have full visibility of requirements, which limits their understanding. As requirements change and tests should be updated, impacts are not fully understood or accommodated downstream. Quality is put at risk, because tests end up being incomplete, incorrect, and inconsistent.

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Productivity is also decreased, because teams waste time trying to make sure everyone has the latest information. They get bogged down testing and retesting every time they realize requirements and tests are not in sync. These inefficiencies cause testing timelines to be squeezed to meet go-to-market deadlines. Organizations find it virtually impossible to expand their use of Agile given these challenges.

You Must Close This Loop

How aligned are your teams’ user stories with your testing? Do your teams spend too much time manually creating tests? Are you delivering software at the speed and with the quality the business needs? If not, you should be thinking about how to close the loop between requirements and tests.

To ensure quality, maximize productivity, and support your Agile transformation, requirements and tests and the people who create and consume them have to be in continuous alignment. Making that happen through email, versioning, or one-way interfaces may have worked “back in the day,” but it won’t make your teams successful in today’s increasingly digitized, customer-centric world.

Today, tests and testers should be seamlessly connected to requirements. They need easy access to a holistic set of the most current requirements, the ability to collaborate quickly with requirements authors, and an understanding of the end user’s perspective to avoid becoming a bottleneck.

Five Reasons You Should Enable Continuous Alignment of Requirements and Tests

Closing the loop between requirements and tests to keep them continuously aligned means your projects benefit from:

  1. Improved test quality and coverage. Teams know tests are based on the most up-to-date requirements. Test plans are complete and aligned with business value, and tests exist to cover all scenarios, even when requirements change.
  2. A valuable feedback loop to requirements. Testing teams can easily provide valuable input to business stakeholders and BAs, so requirements can be updated to cover unforeseen gaps or improve clarity.
  3. Better decision making. With easy access to requirements and business analysts, testers can quickly get questions answered and clarify intent. They have the information they need to make sound decisions based on a holistic understanding.
  4. Reliable change management. With a linkage between requirements and tests, teams can easily analyze and react to unexpected change. Testing teams keep quality assurance plans complete and accurate as requirements evolve.
  5. Increased productivity. Testers can move at an Agile pace, because they have what they need to do their work as quickly as possible with minimal disruption.

Ultimately, these five benefits lead to even more important outcomes for your organization: accelerated delivery, higher quality, less risk, improved business-IT alignment, and improved Agile adoption.

Modern technology makes this possible.

To enable continuous alignment of requirements and tests throughout the software development life cycle, you need modern technology that seamlessly connects information between the tools your requirements and testing teams use every day.

Blueprint and QASymphony have partnered to integrate their platforms, providing an end-to-end, closed-loop connection between requirements and tests, keeping all stakeholders aligned across the organization and dramatically accelerating Agile IT delivery. Through this integration, requirements information in Storyteller, including auto-generated user stories and tests, visual models, Gherkin feature files, and other related documentation, is seamlessly synchronized with qTest, giving testing teams a test planning jumpstart and access to all the information they need to succeed.

For more information on how Blueprint and QASymphony work together to help teams deliver better software solutions faster through the continuous alignment of requirements and tests, please contact Blueprint today.

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