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What testers look for and expect from a test management solution – Part I

What testers look for and expect from a test management solution?

There are several good testing tools in the market; each boasting strong features and capabilities that seem to be well-aligned with testers’ needs. But as we have all seen happen, many times solutions are built in an ivory tower without the input of the real world end user in mind. We wanted to keep it real and find out directly from testers what they expect from a test management solution. We went straight to real world practitioners to pose our question and found that most needs clustered around 3 key areas.

1. Traceability Traceability repeatedly came up as a top priority to testers. It is definitely a key benefit to have on any test management system, but just having traceability capabilities is not enough for the majority of testers we spoke to. They want to know how frictionless it is to obtain a traceability output. If it is difficult to create traceability then its value is significantly diminished. The other aspect of traceability value is in the quality of its output, meaning how comprehensive is it. Some tools are set apart and outweigh others for the ease with which you can trace not only the requirements, but also requirements to the test cases, to the execution or even to the people.

Another point repeatedly mentioned as important to testers is the ability to identify the relationship between test cases and requirements. At the very least, a tester should be able to have one test case for every requirement. However, many testers are in situations in which they have a single requirement that spans across many test cases, or they have one test case that goes to many requirements, so testers need the ability to link, as well as display, those associations in the clearest manner.

2. Usability At the very core, the ability to have foresight, or to be able to do all tasks without a lot of manual work, is definitely a key benefit to have in any sort of test management suite. The testers we spoke to were unanimous in emphasizing the importance of usability. As an example, the ease of identifying what sort of test cases and what test labs need to be executed when a particular defect has been fixed was brought up numerous times. Rather than having to manually track back to map a defect with a particular requirement, testers are looking for a convenient way to check that information without repeating the whole process.

The other element of usability identified is the ability to run a selective set of test runs that cover particular cases for the testing of specific requirements or defects. A testing solution should have the capability to generate a list of all associated test cases for instant feedback.

3. Ease of assigning and tracking tasks Testers also pointed to the ease of assigning tasks as critical to their test management solution. For example the ability to assign a specific task to a specific requirement and the ability to track whether that action was performed or not is essential for efficiency and collaboration. Task assignment needs also extend into the ability to know which assigned tasks and requirements have been approved to have a clear knowledge of what the development team has or has not approved as accepted to work on.

We understand that testers needs vary dramatically based on the software they are testing and their own organization’s testing maturity so the above points are a reflection of the feedback clusters of the testers we spoke to, which we know may not be the same for you, so we would love to know your thoughts as well. What is critical to you in your testing solution?

Continue with part II here

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