09/03/2008 by Gerd Fladrich
From my point of view, there are three key components for reaching the goal „high quality at low costs“ in test management: adequate methods, adequate staffing, and adequate tools – each at the right time. If one of these factors are neglected, the project threatens to fail.
Luckily, the tool comes with the adequate method, without nailing you down too much, enabling the planning of resources and test phases. I have had some experience with projects where all team members started off highly motivated, applying well thought-out methods, but soon failed to come to grips with the tools – the worst-case in general being a spread-sheet driven project, in which things like: „Haven´t you run a test? I made an entry in the Excel sheet that you should …. oh, sorry, it is still on my computer, forgot to upload it. …” typically happen.
Another frequent scenario: the best of all tools has been installed, but nobody ever told the people to make use of it.
So what should a tool be able to perform that is expected to map a consistent quality management process and make it transparent to all people involved? From my point of view, this tool should
- provide a simple and intuitive interface,
- enable global using, i.e. be web-based, without requiring much installation effort,
- allow requirements to be recorded, categorized, and evaluated,
- enable risk estimation,
- allow rights and roles to be managed,
- allow tasks to be assigned,
- be able to have test cases recorded, managed, and executed,
- enable simple release management,
- allow errors to be recorded and traced in a workflow,
- facilitate evaluation of the different phases as well as the total project,
- be able to link all entities and allow detected errors to be assigned to a test case or a requirement,
- enable test automation – by service tests in an early phase, later also by GUI automation,
- have open interfaces to other tools.
A high degree of acceptance by all persons involved should be achieved and the users should be able to apply the solution without too much training.
Having read my article up to this point, you might think: Okay, I realize that Excel can´t do all this. But I wonder if any other tool can? In my opinion, there is one tool that meets these requirements, Quality Center by HP, originally launched by Mercury Interactive.
And the best of all: Not only can I observe that it makes my quality and test management projects a success, I also take great pleasure in working with it.