Selecting a Test Management Tool: Unlocking Testing Value

A solid testing strategy implemented using a test management tool can be helpful in such a scenario as it helps set clear testing objectives, identify key deliverables, and give testing team guidance on how they should proceed further once the requirements or user stories have been set. Some of ways in which a test management tool can be helpful include: 

Ensure Testers and Devs Are on the Same Page

A test management tool also ensures you can take a strategic approach to testing and application is ready for prime time. Additionally, with software development moving to an agile model, developers are increasingly being involved in the testing cycle. Keeping the project on track necessitates collaboration between developers and testers and ensuring multiple project stakeholders are on the same page. By standardizing context, a test management tool enables different team members to speak the same language and collaborate on planning and execution. The improved collaboration comes in handy as it raises visibility during the test prioritization/planning process and helps reduce defects downstream, thereby trimming testing costs and time. Before we begin with test case strategies we'll cover some important aspects of your tool:

Key Questions To Answer When Choosing a Test Management Tool:

How well does it adapt to different development processes?

Scaling a test management tool across different parts of the organization requires that tool is able to map to Waterfall, Agile, or a combination of Waterfall and Agile. This is primarily because different projects in an organization often follow different development methodologies. A critical point to look into while evaluating tools would be the kind of customizations offered in order to roll it out in different development methodologies. For instance, does the tool give you the ability to create custom fields so that you can define and pick values specific to your business processes.

How easy is it to adopt?

The success of any test management tool depends upon how easily and quickly it can be adopted by different users with an organization. Some of critical points to evaluate here would be the training options available to get started and the ease of use of the tool. Another point that eases adoption is integrations available with other tools as this means you won’t spend time developing custom integrations. Some of the most commonly used tools include free and open source tools such as Selenium and SoapUI or commercial tools like Jira.

The Kind of Audit Trail It Proves

Test cases are often changed with the introduction of new features or when changes are made to original requirements. Such potential changes need to be tracked in a sequential manner as it enables mangers to figure out what has changed and revert back changes if needed.

Does It Support Multiple Users

One of the primary drivers for moving to a test management platform other than Excel is that it allows multiple users to collaborate. However, when multiple users access the tool, challenges arise from tracking and security perspective. For instance, one of the critical things to look for would be whether the test management tool locks a particular test case when it is being accessed, so that two people can’t edit it at the same time.


Finally and most importantly, as other tools, the cost of a solution should be looked into while selecting a test management tool. This involves taking into account not only the upfront amount it costs to buy a tool, but also training, implementation, and support costs.

Getting the Most from your Manual and Automated Tests

Increase coverage of Manual Tests

Running a manual test through different data sets is often challenging and unproductive as it involves manually trying different sets of data for specific test steps. A test management tool can make the process of iterating an existing manual test through a variety of data set really easy, thereby increasing the coverage of existing manual tests.

Take the following example. Here I have a manual test that tests the login functionality in three steps. The first step consists of entering [email protected] as username, while the second and third steps consists of entering “Pass1234” as password and clicking the submit button respectively.

Having a test management tool such as QAComplete can help increase the coverage of manual tests as now we can run login and password fields through different data sets at the click of a button. The sample data could look something like this:

Maintaining Versioning for Manual Tests:

Keeping track of who made changes to test cases and when changes were made can be really difficult when using tool such as Excel.

By keeping a log of and tracking all changes made, a test management tool such as QAComplete can help managers figure out modifications made to test scripts, when new features are introduced or when business requirements or user story changes. Test Managers can even see history of test cases and track what caused a particular test case to fail. Additionally, they can revert back to old versions if potential changes to the test cases don’t work as expected.

Refine Manual and Automated Tests Alike

A critical insight provided by test management tools is the number of times a test has run and the amount of time it took a particular test took to run. Using both these metrics together, test managers can ultimately decide which of the manual tests are suitable for automation. Similarly, if an automated test repeatedly fails, it could be a sign that manual execution is desirable.

Create Test Suites: Improve Productivity Through Reuse

A test management tool can be of great assistance in combining manual and automated tests in one test suite. For instance, going back to the login example, a login test suite would consist of few manual/automated GUI tests to test the front-end and then few API tests to test the back-end. Such a test suite can then be repurposed across release or sprints to reduce rework.

The above process can be taken a step forward. Infact, the suite can be built upon over time with additional tests that in turn can act as a regression suite.

Prevent Chaos Through Traceability

A test management tool helps establish traceability across requirements, tests, and defects. A single view across requirements/user stories, tests and defects raised gives manager a way to plan for optimal test coverage and accounting for risk. Test managers can thereby cut down on unnecessary tests, while ensuring ample coverage exists not just for a particular operating platform, but also across multiple environments.

The challenge however lies in the fact that as your testing scales, so should your test management solution. For instances, often as testing organization becomes more matured, a testing pyramid strategy is followed. This is primarily done to reduce the dependence of test cases on the front-end graphical user interface (GUI). Here the focus is on creating more unit tests, followed by API tests, and then fewer GUI tests. The pyramid looks something like this:

In order to implement such a strategy, it is essential that the test management tool adapts to this changing process. Only then can you get a single view of all your testing efforts (GUI, API, and Unit) and associated requirements and defects.

Test Management tools offer significant benefits for managers and tester alike. When compared to traditional forms of managing tests especially Excel, test management tools can help ensure ample coverage exists for requirements, trim down costs due to unnecessary tests, and prioritize key tasks.