Serge BaumbergerSerge Baumberger HP Quality Center 10 from a Test Manager’s Perspective

03/02/2009 by Serge Baumberger

The new Version 10 of the HP Quality Center (QC) is now available. Yet what are the actual advantages of the new QC compared to its predecessor from a Test Manager’s perspective?

Below, I will take a look at some of the new features and changes, and I will answer the question whether one should even make the switch.

The Most Significant Changes

The new QC Version 10 has seen a series of changes, of which the most significant ones are:

  • Version control
  • Baselining
  • Integrated dashboard
  • Shared libraries
  • Cross Project Customization

Version Control

Finally, QC has been provided with a fully integrated version control. In past versions, one had to make do with third-party integration, which generally stumbled rather than ran. The version control, if desired, must first be activated for every individual project via the SiteAdmin. Once this is done, all entities falling under the version control become Version 1. QC entities include requirements, tests, test resources, and business components. If one wishes to add a test step to a test case for example, one is automatically requested to check this test case. As soon as there is more than one version of an entity, one can compare various versions against each other or retrieve an older version.

Summary: The whole thing is intuitive and easy to operate. But what’s the use of having eight versions of a requirement, when one doesn’t know which software release a version belongs to?

Baselining

Along with version control comes baselining, which is intended to answer the question above. Using the new “Management” module that replaces the “Releases” introduced in 9.x one gets to the baseline function via the “Libraries” tab. This enables one to obtain a summary of a complete testing release and retrieve it if necessary. In this way, a test set can be pinned to a baseline in the test lab. In other words, as of now, the manual copying of entire trees into the test plan module is a thing of the past. At last, test managers will be able to properly organize software that has multiple parallel releases (in production, current release, future release).

Summary: Setting up the baseline works very well. While creating it, a log keeps one updated on what is currently taking place. However, setting up baselines probably needs to be done during off-peak hours since it can take a while for larger QC projects.

Integrated Dashboard

Equally interesting for test managers is the new integrated dashboard that can be found on the left-hand navigation bar where the “Management” module is, too. The special feature of the new dashboard does not pertain to the graphics, which are not particularly appealing, but the “Cross-Project” functionality. It is now finally possible, when working on a QC project, to get an overview of all of one’s ongoing projects. These dashboards are freely configurable and can be designated to be personal favorites or publicly accessible. Special Excel reports also enable direct access to the database via SQL. The generated reports can then be graphically processed at the same time by means of VBScript.


Summary: The new dashboard module is quickly customized and achieves its purpose in ongoing projects. What is missing is a sensible way of printing content for a given project meeting, for example.

Shared Libraries

Libraries, which are located in the “Management” module, can be re-used and distributed with Version 10. A library represents a collection of entities in a QC project, including their relationships to each other. When dealing with many similar projects, it offers the advantage of not having to repeatedly create entities. Libraries can be imported from project A into project B, compared against each other, or even synchronized. A library also allows one to collect the same entities as in versioning. Defects are not included, but they can be shared with the new “HP Quality Center Synchronizer” manually among several QC projects. As mentioned, the advantages really only present themselves when one has many and/or large-scale projects. I suppose that is why this functionality is available only in the QC Premier Edition (also available are the Standard and Enterprise editions).

Summary: It remains to be seen whether this function will actually be used in real-world applications. In my opinion, it makes perfect sense to be able to take over pre-defined assets from another project so that one doesn’t have to keep re-inventing the wheel.

Cross Project Customization

And now here’s the last big change: Cross Project Customization. Many organizations have defined standards, such as a uniform defect status field or a standardized priority scale, for their software quality-related areas. However, these fields and lists were often changed or even deleted by QC project administrators. Some companies have even gone to great lengths in using their own programming to define a template that can be distributed to all QC projects, thereby establishing a uniform standard.

For all those who want to spare themselves this time and effort or do not wish to keep an in-house programmed interface going, there is a solution. Site Administrator now provides a way to link projects with a template. If the template is changed, the delta can then be passed on later at the right point in time. This function has been awaited not only by test managers who like to have the same configuration in all their projects, but especially also by the respective operators of QC installations, namely the system administrators. Cross Project Customization is also only available in the Premier Edition.

Summary: This change is awesome! Finally, testing organizations or Test Factory managers are able to implement a certain basic standard in their projects. Once this is accomplished, nothing can get in the way of standardized, across-the-board reporting.

Is an Upgrade Worth It?

The new Version 10 is an absolute milestone not only for tests managers. It also makes life easier for testers, Test Factory managers, as well as QC system administrators. The new functions have been anticipated for quite some time and have been implemented in the new product in a well-conceived manner.

However, there are still questions about how stable the new version is (my tests ran flawlessly) and how simple a migration of a larger installation might be. If these questions receive favorable responses, one should absolutely consider switching over to the new version!

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33 Responses

  • 1
    Go2Group:

    This is a great review, Serge!

    We’ve done our own review as it relates to remote API calls in HP QC 10 and are excited about the results, specifically with our own product, the JaM Plugin. We initially started supporting TestDirector back in the day, then progressed to QC 9 after HP picked up Mercury.

    Thanks for the perspective!

  • 2
    Serge Baumberger:

    Thx alot for your response. I try to keep up the good quality of my blogs ;-)

    regards,
    serge

  • 3
    Lynn:

    Serge, what’s your assesment on the reporting features? Coming from QC 8.2 and will be upgrading to 10, I’m curious. 8.2 is not the most friendly as far as reporting goes.

    Thanks,

    Lynn

  • 4
    Avi Kavas:

    Hi Serge,

    I found this review pretty interesting, especially considering the fact that I’ve been involved designing some of the features reviewed here… ;-)

    I would like to add some comments that could hopefully provide you with more information.

    1. Version Control.
    Regarding “…But what’s the use of having eight versions of a requirement, when one doesn’t know which software release a version belongs to?”

    =>We recommend that you capture baseline in every significant milestone of your release (requirement signoff, every significant development phase, product release, etc).
    When you view the history page for each versioned entity (tests for example) you can all see the baselines related for this version. When applying meaningful baseline names, you easily associate versions to releases.
    Example:
    Version 1 | Baseline: Release 1.0
    Version 2
    Version 3 | Baseline: Release 1.1
    Version 4 | Baseline: Release 2

    2. Integrated Dashboard
    “Summary: The new dashboard module is quickly customized and achieves its purpose in ongoing projects. What is missing is a sensible way of printing content for a given project meeting, for example. ”

    => In patch 2 of QC 10.0 we have added the ability to export a page to PDF format so it can be easily printed or distributed by e-mail.

    Thanks,
    Avi

    Quality Center R&D

  • 5
    Serge Baumberger:

    Hi Avi,

    thx alot for your comments to my blog, I appreciate your input.

    QC 10.0 is really awesome – it’s very good, that you and HP could react that fast and have already SP 2 out, which fixes and improves alot!

    I like especially the Dashboard PDF-Printing ability.

    best regards,
    Serge

  • 6
    Serge Baumberger:

    Lynn:
    05/13/2009 at 7:21 pm
    Serge, what’s your assesment on the reporting features? Coming from QC 8.2 and will be upgrading to 10, I’m curious. 8.2 is not the most friendly as far as reporting goes.
    Thanks,Lynn

    The improvement from reporting coming from QC 8.2 to 10.0 is huge. Especially the Dashboard and the Excel-Reporting function is a must have when it comes to reporting. With Excel-Reporting eg. you can even include your sql statements and vb-design code and save this as a template if you like. You can report almost everything you like, it’s fast, looks nice and you can still change it afterwards in excel if you need to ;) .

    br,
    serge

  • 7
    Anuradha:

    Hi Serge,

    I would like to know if I can customize the COM components or code of QC to develop my own customized reports. For example, my company needs reports in a specific format. can I do this?

    Thanks,
    Anuradha

  • 8
    shalini:

    Hi Avi/Serge,

    Test Management is already available in HP QC9.2.
    Now my client wants to upgrade the HP QC9.2 to HP QC10. Any impacts due to migration of the data to QC10?

  • 9
    Marc Robertson:

    Does the version control functionality include branching to allow for parallel development? For example, suppose you have Feature A in version 1.1( no one ever buys 1.0 ) of your software, and have a test written for that. You start working on 1.2, creating a branch in your source code repository for the source code, and need to change the tests to match the new functionality. Then, you decide that the feature could be improved with a fairly simple change you can get out the door quickly, while continuing the more extensive changes planned for version 1.2. So, you create a branch for version 1.1.1, and need to modify the tests for that. I guess I’m trying to understand why you wouldn’t put the test scripts in the appropriate branch in your source code repository. Keeping the tests in a separate repository would seem to make it more complicated to connect source code version with test version.

  • 10
    Mark Ford:

    The QC 10.0 version control functionality is limited in that only one version can be checked out at a time. You could branch by creating a copy of a test but that’s not really all that helpful as you cannot compare the two after updates are made.

    You can however create branches using the baseline import functionality. Take a baseline of the folder containing the version 1.1 tests and then import that baseline back into the SAME project into a different folder for your interim version 1.1.1. The version 1.1 version tests can now be updated for 1.2 independently from the version 1.1.1 tests.

    When finished with the version 1.1.1 tests you can take another baseline and compare it back to the original to see everything that changed. You can then retrofit these changes back into the version 1.2 tests.

  • 11
    Mark Ford:

    I think it’s worth mentioning that the Business Component (BPT) module in QC 10.0 also benefited from significant improvements:

    * Canned reports & graphs are now available for the BPT module
    * Create collections of BPT components in a fixed sequence that perform a specific task (flows)
    * Can convert manual tests to BPT components
    * Can add user defined fields and workflow code to BPT module
    * Can copy components and BPT tests from one project to another
    * Prompts for parameter promotion when BPT component is assigned to test
    * More “Used By” dependency views (resources and application area)
    * Dynamic dates can be used to represent time relative to the current date
    * Cross filtering and send mail options

  • 12
    Farid:

    Hi Avi,

    “=> In patch 2 of QC 10.0 we have added the ability to export a page to PDF format so it can be easily printed or distributed by e-mail.”

    I have installed patch 2 and I cannot see any option to export as PDF. Where do I find that?

    Thanks,
    Farid

  • 13
    Farid:

    Hi Avi,

    I think it was a bit hasty post! :)

    Got it – It is Dashboard > Export

    Thanks,
    Farid

  • 14
    Avi Kavas:

    I would like to comment to Shalini’s post,

    “Hi Avi/Serge,
    Test Management is already available in HP QC9.2.
    Now my client wants to upgrade the HP QC9.2 to HP QC10. Any impacts due to migration of the data to QC10?”

    I don’t anticipate any noticable impact of data migration to QC 10.0. Is there any specific aspect you are concerned about?

    Thanks,
    Avi

  • 15
    Amit Kumar:

    Hi Avi,

    I found version control a bit confusing

    Lets say a project X is under version control, now I create a new folder in Test Plan tab calling it “New Req”, now when I add a new folder “test cases” and test case “test one” under this folder it is checked out with version 1, now the moment I check in its version changes to 2.

    Don’t you think its version should be 1 as its first instance of that test case being created and later when any update is done the version should be changed to 2.

    Thanks

    Amit

  • 16
    James:

    Hi Serge,
    nice summary you written….answers alot of of our questions.
    we are upgrading from QC9.2 to QC10 and was wondering if you have had any issues with the install…any tips or tricks or holes to avoid?

    we had issues with upgrading to 9.2 so we want to be a little more proactive for the UG to 10.

    if there is a separate link for this please direct me.

    thanks,
    James

  • 17
    German Garcia:

    Hi all,

    I had the chance to assist a webinar of this latest version. I have to say that is awesome. Besides version control, baselines, integrated dashboards, common shared libraries, you have to mention that now HP thinks not only in very big enterprises but also in small companies (let’s say 20) that doesn’t need to stablish a very huge tool; I see this positive because of QC costs. I can recall that now there are available about 3 versions (Come on QC guys, help me out on exact names).

    Regards,

    German.

  • 18
    Ram:

    Hi,

    When I tried to integrate my QTP 9.5 scripts to QC 10.0 and while trying to run the scripts im getting error saying “The QuickTest Remote Agent is either not installed on the host you specified,or a version earlier than 10.00 is installed.To run this test,Quicktest Professional 10.00 must be installed on the host computer.”. Please let me know what is the solution as I’m not finding QTP 10.00 either.

  • 19
    Chris Capasso:

    To All,

    I heard there was some issue running 9.5 QTP scripts in the 10.0 QC. Has anyone tried or encounter such a problem?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • 20
    Thomas Lattner:

    Thanks a lot, this is really what a test manager needs to know at first.
    I tried to use your Tweet-Button, which attempts to send a retweet, but it said the url is wrong. :-/

  • 21
    Thorsten:

    Hi all,

    is electronic signature now available as it is required in the GMP related pharma industrie?

    BR/Thorsten

  • 22
    Dan Taylor:

    I have not used qc and I can do the funky chicken. with that said how does one enter in a blog in qc?

  • 23
    Olga:

    Hi All,

    Does anyone have training information on the use of HP QC 10.0 (Release mgmt, requirements, & testing)? or is HP the only traning provider?

    Thanks,

    Olga

  • 24
    Umesh Nayak:

    Dear Serge,

    Good explanation with helpful information about Quality Center.
    Appreciate a lot ! Thanks for good work !

    Regards
    Umesh.

  • 25
    pravat:

    Hi Avi,
    lets continue with amit kumar discussion,
    lets say a project X is under version control, now I create a new folder in Test Plan tab calling it “New Req”, now when I add a new folder “test cases” and test case “test one” under this folder it is checked out with version 1,
    I have a question here regarding the QC 10.0 “version control system” and that is as to how we go about maintaining the complete “Test cases “approval process in the test lab.
    An example of the test approval process is listed as below:
    1. “Tester 1″ writes some test cases in “test plan tab”
    2. “Tester 2″ reviews the test cases and finds some comments/inputs to be added.
    3. Tester 1 again incorporates these review comments in QC and finally it goes next level for review and approval.
    Here, is there a way out to track these test cases review comments along with their respective versions and the complete test case approval process.
    if there is a link or document for this please direct me.
    Thanks
    Pravat

  • 26
    Nithin Kuriakose:

    I’ve just been investigating and playing on the version 10 starter edition from HP. From what I have seen, it runs seamlesly and the installation/customization is also pretty straight forward. This version has actually taken off a pile of pending works from QC admin section and caters widely to the testing community for all facets.

    Your article is equally briliant, Serge. Thanks for putting this up.

    Regards,
    Nithin

  • 27
    Stephen:

    Here is a question on verson control. How do I get rid of obsolete versions? If every time a test is modified a new version is created, you are going to very quickly create a lot of versions. Now I know that there is no delta management of versions, every change results in a complete copy of the test as the new version.

    So how much space is gonig to be consummed for this?
    How, when I reach version 20 of a test do I get rid of versions 1-10?

    I will not advise using version control until HP can publish a solution for that.

  • 28
    Ragu:

    How to execute the previous version of a test case in the TEST LAB?

  • 29
    Georges Lauture:

    I have a question on Mark Ford’s post from 06/02/2009 at 10:22 pm about “parallel development”.

    Just to recap…
    - Version 1.1, which is being updated for the version 1.2.
    - Version 1.1.1, which was imported from 1.1 and modified for the parallel development/testing.
    - You’re finished with version 1.1.1 tests and take a baseline
    - You retrofit your changes back into version 1.2 tests.

    Here is my question…
    1. What do you do with the actual tests in Test Plan that were imported (i.e. 1.1.1)? If you delete them, all run history is lost.

  • 30
    Mike:

    Here’s a feature I would like….tell me which developer is the most productive and least productive (i.e. who fixed the most bugs, the fastest etc.). QC has this info in the DB as defects move from assigned to fixed but no way to get the info out

  • 31
    Michael Wislon:

    Serge,

    Great post on this topic. I have personally used HP’s QC in general, but I have had a few issues with QC. When I was looking to upgrade, I had the same questions regarding stability and how testing would pan out.

    I personally took a different road and looked at different alternatives, just to see what was out there. QC alternatives were mentioned on http://breakfreefromhp.com/ .. have you ever heard of this web site Serge? Also, have you ever tried out different testing tools? I am curious to my options.

    - Michael Wilson

  • 32
    matthew:

    serge, thank you for your observations. i don’t blog much but i have been in the solution delivery industry in the silicon valley for going on 19 years. test case mgmt and issue resolution (defect resolution) are my areas of specialization. i have logged 1000s of defects and i have written and executed 1000s of test cases and i have assembled and managed qa teams from 3 people to 30+ on multi million dollar deliverables (approx. 15 or so projects). HP Quality Center has to be one of the worst if not the worst all around QA Management utilities that exists in the marketplace today. Anyone who has composed small to very large test plans and managed those plans through the execution cycle would never design a tool in the fashion of HP QC. It was bad when it was mercury interactives product and it got no better when HP acquired it. HP QC isn’t just a horrible qa application, it’s a horrible application period. If you google “Why HP QC sucks” you will get hundreds of thousands of results and most of these are dead on accurate. If anyone is reading this, do yourself a favor and find or build a real Test Management Utility before you get in bed with HP QC.

  • 33
    William:

    If QC is really that bad then why are so many companies using it? If it really was that terrible then it wouldn’t have gained the market share it clearly has to day. I’m not saying it’s perfect or that their aren’t other solutions out there that might be a better fit but don’t automatically discount it. If you need help identifying the best tool for a particular situation then we can help with test management tool evaluations.