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  1. #1
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    Test management software for complex test plans

    I've never used any test (case/plan) management solutions before, so was wondering if there is any commercial, free, or open source solution out there that would meet our particular needs:

    Our product is so feature rich with interactions between various features that there is too many features and its interactions such that it is difficult to effectively define the breakdowns of particular test plans or sets of test cases for the various feature categories along with how to scope the priority of the tests.

    We have 3 test scopes for executing tests based on priority - BATs (or basic acceptance tests) that constitute our first pass testing, extended BATs, and finally regression testing. Each scope builds upon a previous scope. Extended BATs include BATs and regression includes all.

    The problem is we may have tests broken down by feature sets along with subfeatures or feature interaction for a particular high level feature group. We do our test cases in Excel, so we break down the feature category for a particular high level feature group by worksheets. Each worksheet tab has a test case spreadsheet template format that has columns to further break down the features into subfeatures. Within each of these worksheets, we have rows of test cases, some of which are scoped for BATs, some extended BATs, and some regression. This seemed most intuitive for test case management and development.

    However, when we do test executions and in terms of company management/leadership review of the test results, they like to see everything for a high level feature group lumped into a single spreadsheet (best if no individual worksheets) with all BAT test cases executed, or regression test cases, etc.

    This is a pain to manage and would require copy & pasting between spreadsheet formats if we don't stick with one format specifically.

    So I was wondering if there are test management software that is flexible enough with a nice GUI frontend for us to enter or import test cases in one format, then export or publish the test cases for execution (and/or reporting) in a different final format. By format I don't really mean import CSV, export HTML/PDF, both input/output would be in Excel or CSV, but the way the data is presented would be different. The final output is a merge of more than one input dataset.

    Anybody out there with test plans as complicated as ours? What's the best test management software you've used?

  2. #2
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    Re: Test management software for complex test plans

    What ones have you looked at? Are any lacking in features that you would like to have?

    If you are using Excel there is a way to pull summary information from other spreadsheets, where you can link into the spreadsheet and take specific fields. It's how we did roll-ups in our test matrices, each spreadsheet had a summary sheet/area that collated data from the matrix on executions, number of cases, number of automated cases and so on.
    - M

    Nothing learns better than experience.

    "So as I struggle with this issue I am confronted with the reality that noting is perfect."
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    Now wasting blog space at QAForums Blogs - The Lookout

  3. #3
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    Re: Test management software for complex test plans

    I haven't looked at any yet. Haven't had time anyways.

    Using Excel to pull and merge data together and do other calculated processing is good to explore, but unfortunately, our QA personnel are generally not well versed as Excel "power users" to be able to build or manage such complicated Excel spreadsheets (if they had to), and more importantly, we don't have a truly standardized template and test case documentation process such that all test documentation adhere to the "exact" same structure such that we could pull this information out into a master spreadsheet.

    I made an attempt to standardize the process but our feature test scope is too broad and our department is composed of more of the "entry-level" QA Engineer types than senior level. So it's kind of hard to try to formalize the process.

    I'm looking for a test management system that any idiot or entry level QA Engineer can use easily, that offers the flexibility in configuration that our company could really use.

  4. #4
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    Re: Test management software for complex test plans

    Hi Daluu,
    Yes, as a first step, people generally start using Word. Then a bit later when they are fed up with updating counters and statistics they switch to Excel. Later again, when they are fed up with copy/paste and formatting issues they switch to specific tools to handle their testplans. Each time they loose some time to export/import again the data.

    The product offer is big in this area. You can find commercial and free tools that do that properly. XStudio (my tool) does that for free (you'll need a MySql DB - screenshots here: http://www.xqual.com/products/screenshots_serie4.html and http://www.xqual.com/products/screenshots_serie9.html for testplans) as well as hundreds of other valuable free or commercial tools.

    You should google to gather a list of products, try those that look the best for you and finally pick the one that fits the best your requirements (you may be more comfortable with certain templates than some others).

    Hope it helps,
    Cheers,
    Eric (XQual)

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    Re: Test management software for complex test plans

    Hi Daluu,

    Eric said correctly that there are many tools and platforms out there and you would work correctly by setting aside time to go over a number of the most popular ones that meet your budget.

    Just make sure to make a list of your requirements and scan these apps before you do a deep evaluation since the list can become really extensive.

    Specifically for the challenge your application presents, the test management tool we created, PractiTest, uses hierarchical views (with filters) and tags instead of regular folders in order to give you the flexibility you requested and present data in different aggregations based on your Internal User's needs.
    I am sure there might be other systems that can answer your requirement differently but this is the easiest way we could devise (and so far response from our customers has been good). BTW, you can also import all your excel test cases, so no need to re-write them...

    In any case good luck!
    -joel
    9 times out 10, less is actually more

    PractiTest - QA and Test Management Tool
    QABlog - QA Intelligence Blog

  6. #6
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    Re: Test management software for complex test plans

    Daluu, your case is a classic case, I think. I have myself come across many situations as you have described and I have explored and used some Test Management Tools (TMTs) and I would like to share my recommendations for you.

    1) Standardization is key. Looks like you already have a mess there so work on it if you can. Note that one of the reasons for using TMTs is to standardize your test plans / cases.

    2) There are so many TMTs out there that I am not in a position to recommend a TMT that suits you the best. You might want to explore them yourself (despite your time constraint). Nevertheless, I doubt if any TMT exists that resolves your problem fully, especially if you are looking for the 'power' of functions and macros and 'flexible cells' which your team may be used to in Excel to some extent.

    3) If you do (1) and make your test cases as granular as possible, there's a round about way to achieve your goal of providing a high level test status report and that would be to use a TMT (any would do, if it's a true TMT and not some crappy ones) and then do the following:

    a) In the TMT, prepare Test Cases, as stated earlier more granular the better)
    b) Arrange the Test Cases in hierarchies, if your TMT offers that feature
    c) For those complex, 'griddy' Test Cases, continue using your Excel sheet but write a Test Case in your TMT that has the procedure something like 'Perform the tests as mentioned in so and so Excel sheet'. If your test passes/fails (in the excel sheet), record the status in your test case in TMT [Of course, the high level report in your TMT won't let you conveniently drill to the test status in your excel sheet though]

    Well, that's all I have to say. I am also on the lookout for a TMT that is as powerful and flexible as a spreadsheet and if anyone knows about it or finds one, please do share any info about it here.

 

 

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