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The biggest problems with a test management tool and how to fix them

Running tests will get you a long way ahead in software testing if done correctly. But don’t forget that the most critical component of any software testing process is running tests correctly. No matter how well you execute test suites, if you don’t have good test management, all your efforts will be for naught. Therefore, test management is of paramount importance to achieve successful releases at the end of every SDLC.

The goal of this article is to lay out the primary roadblocks that most organizations face when it comes to implementing effective test management. The sooner these issues are recognized, the better equipped an organization will be to address them. Furthermore, the greater an organization’s understanding of test management concerns, the lower the risk of obtaining a tool in terms of time and money.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the top challenges with test management tools.

Challenges with Test Management Tools

Buying the Wrong Tool

This is the biggest problem with test management tools because no matter what kind of process or organization you have, if the tool is not a good technical or business fit, no one will be able to use it.

Unfortunately, few people conduct thorough research before purchasing a test management tool. Defining a set of tool requirements based on

  • the tool’s intended users need to accomplish,
  • a set of assessment criteria by which potential tools will be rated,
  • and the experience of others who have used the tools under consideration are all part of adequate research.

Solution Strategies

Create an evaluation scorecard to compare the tools’ performance against a set of criteria. In terms of relative importance to the company, rank the criteria. Along with an evaluation, conduct a “proof of concept” (POC). During a POC, the vendor will frequently send a technical team to your location to automate tests using your applications in your environment.

Incomplete Coverage of Test Types

When you profile your tests and defect kinds, you’ll notice that there are many different types of tests that need to be run. These include tests for:

These include tests for:

  • Correctness
  • Reliability
  • Security
  • Performance
  • Usability
  • Interoperability
  • Compatibility
  • Data Conversion

Traceability and coverage among requirement and Test case are an important part in QA process to trace user requirements with test cases. This is required to ensure that for each requirement adequate level of testing is being achieved. Traceability helps to link the requirements and Test cases accurately and to make sure the 100% Test coverage, which helps to achieve end to end testing of an application with good quality product.

Your test management if fails to provide insight on test coverage and traceability then it’s a problem as your QA team has no idea on what is being tested and whether every critical feature is tested or not.

Solution Strategies

Prioritize which test types are most important to your performance when evaluating tools, then rate prospective tools based on those criteria.  Recognize the tools and the constraints they bring. To get higher degrees of test type coverage, you may need to use a multi-tool solution. Manage people’s expectations in check by reminding users that 100 percent test type coverage is unlikely.

At the same time, validate the test management tool whether it can provide traceability and coverage by using:

  • Test cases from requirement
  • Test suite from requirement
  • Test suite from Test case

Inadequate Tool Training

Lack of time and/or money may compel employees to skip the vendor’s training. Not receiving the appropriate training because of poor topic selection is a problem that could prevent the tool from being used to its full potential. People frequently focus on only the core functionalities of a tool, obviating the opportunity to learn about the tool’s lesser known but potentially more powerful aspects.

Solution Strategies

Include financing in the tool proposal for at least a core group of people to be trained. People should be matched to the most relevant training topics. Allow the vendor to do tool training at your location, utilizing some of your own applications as exercises.

Efficient Organization of Test Assets

Test management tools are responsible for managing test assets in a single platform to ensure testers find all critical data in one repository.

However, many test management tools fail to provide this ease due to a complicated UI or an interface that makes it difficult to navigate throughout the tool. This leads to reduced productivity for the testers.

Solution Strategies

Test assets can be efficiently organized when they are easily managed in folders. Testers can also create a hierarchical folder structure to organize and manage tests according to priority levels.

Lack of Tool Compatibility and Interoperability

Organizations with a wide range of technologies and applications face the problem of tool incompatibility and lack of interoperability. The goal is to be able to automate tests that cross platforms and applications.

Not one tool can perform all tasks. And hence if your test management tool does not provide ready-to-use integration capabilities with most widely used tools, then it’s a pain to testers.

Solution Strategies

Test management tools are required to be integrated in DevOps pipeline to enable CI/CD as well as with test automation tools. Ask vendor for list of tools they provide readily available integration capabilities.

Conclusion

The core question that you need to ask is not which is the best test management tool, but which test management tool is best and fits with my team/organization. Success depends on a combination of factors, many of which necessitate coordination of efforts among diverse groups within an organization. Prepare a checklist of criteria and features that are most essential to your team’s success. The right test management tool will not only help increase your QA team’s productivity but at the same time it helps reduce cost and thereby, increase ROI.

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