Starting fresh - your tips/suggestions?
I've just moved to a new company and the test team is pretty much non-existent. As a result it's a great opportunity for me to start from scratch as I don't have to worry about existing processes or trying to convince people to switch to the new way.
I've only worked at two companies before, both at extreme ends of the scale. The first being almost entirely undocumented with 95% of the testing being exploratory and experienced based. The second being a classic waterfall model with very formal processes and everything was rigorously documented. This new company will fit somewhere between the two and would be what I'd describe as a 'normal' environment.
They currently use QC as their tool of choice but are willing to change to another tool if necessary. They're also in a state of flux and are moving from a waterfall approach to something more agile. They're also looking to implement some automated testing.
The problem I have is that I don't have much experience in terms of tools or processes, so I was wondering if anyone could give me any hints on how best to approach the situation and how to come up with the best solution. Are there any books, websites, courses etc that might help me out?
I guess this is kind of the ideal situation to come up with your 'perfect test environment'... so what would yours be?!
If you are moving to Agile then Jira would make sense, we have just started using TestRail to manage our test cases, test execution etc. It integrates with Jira using the Jira reference ID to raise bugs, update statuses etc.
I'd probably agree with going with TestRail or a simple SAAS solution for the TCM. I think your main concern is trying to onboard the next person. I think QC is actually quite good, the integrations and reporting is nice, but I wouldn't recommend it for a small team, especially one that's new. What ever tool you go with, don't do excel. To many companies use excel with the promise they can eventually import their spreadsheets, but in reality, import features are usually too primitive that only a simple flat list can be imported. It's better to use a TCM that can export to a flat list from the get go, that way you can have an easier time importing them later.
In terms of book, I highly recommend the Practitioner's Guide to Software Testing by Lee Copeland. In it, he describes basically the typical QA process you find in many mid to large size companies. It's good buy a couple hard copies so you can use it as a training manual when you start staffing.
I think the first decision you want to make quickly is whether or not you want to have outsourcing or partial outsourcing. I think this will set the tone for your process, whether you want to be very detailed and specs oriented, or high level and require more understanding. In the situation of outsourcing or if your company has high turn over, you'll need to be very detailed oriented, leave nothing to the imagination. So very solid detailed test plan and test cases. If the company is committed to paying well and investing in employee development in house, you'll want to focus more on training and high level strategies.
+1 for 'don't use Excel' it seems like a good idea when you have a small team and your test case estate is limited but it soon becomes unmanageable.