Test Management Solution Buyer's Guide

How to Select the Best Test Management Vendor?

The implementation of a Test Management system to automate business processes is a strategic investment for any development and QA project team. Buying the right system and choosing the best vendor is critical to your software quality success.

This Test Management Systems Buyer’s Guide is designed to help business decision makers quickly identify their enterprise’s testing needs, effectively communicate these needs to vendors, and successfully compare various product alternatives. To identify Test Management system needs, buyers must examine four crucial areas: vendor reliability, cost considerations, product requirements, and IT requirements. This guide is structured around these areas.

Why do you need Test Management ?

A good test management platform streamlines the quality assurance process and provides quick access to data analysis, improves collaboration and enables communication across multiple, globally distributed teams. In addition to standardizing automated and manual test processes, this technology also allows teams to define, organize and reuse complex test scenarios and testcases, track milestones and view quality dashboards and metrics, making them available to all stakeholders.

Choosing the right test management platform depends entirely on the circumstances and needs of the buyer. Thankfully, deciding on the ideal solution is a simple, five-step process:

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step 1

Identify your needs, goals and challenges

While all buyers’ circumstances are unique, there are some commonalities that characterize them, resulting in three fundamental potential buyer situations. By identifying your current scenario - including needs, budget restraints and challenges - you can land on the most worthwhile test management system.

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Situation # 1 - Just getting started with Test Management

  1. Small or mid-sized businesses with relatively simple business processes

  2. requirements can be easily met by off-the-shelf Test Management systems with minimal to no customization

  3. Require basic integration with external systems like defect tracking and automation

  4. Have limited or no internal IT support

  5. More likely to explore on-demand Test Management applications

Situation # 2 - Homegrown or underperforming Test Management

  1. Typically mid-sized business or project teams with some complex business processes

  2. Demands have outpaced current tools

  3. Growing need for integration with external systems

  4. Require depth of functionality in each system

  5. Have some data migration demands

  6. Need to enhance productivity and visibility

Situation # 3 - Have a big legacy ALM suite

  1. Growing mid-sized businesses to large enterprises with highly complex processes

  2. Have globally distributed teams

  3. Utilize a mix of methodologies

  4. Have advanced data and systems integration needs

  5. Have sophisticated in-house IT expertise

What’s driving the change in your current environment?

Once you determine your buyer situation, you must focus on understanding your business drivers as well as problems you’re trying to resolve with a Test Management system:

  1. Lower costs to develop/deploy applications

  2. Minimize IT infrastructure and support costs

  3. Better integration and alignment of applications with other processes

  4. Use integrated automation tools

  5. Shorten development time

  6. Improve test coverage and traceability

  7. Foster communication and collaboration

  8. Release higher quality software

  9. Keep employee retention high

What challenges do you face?

QA professionals must take on more challenges than ever to release a quality product in a timely fashion. Applications are more complex, market competition is fierce and the pressure is on to get software out the door as quickly as possible. These escalating challenges have only further driven the need for automated test management solutions to help centralize, organize, prioritize and document their testing efforts.

  1. Are your teams distributed across the globe, impairing visibility and communication?

  2. Are your teams expected to deliver multiple, simultaneous releases on a tight schedule?

  3. Has your testing environment become too complex with disparate OSes and configurations?

  4. Is your testing tool chest continually evolving and incorporating new assets?

  5. Do you need to provide various people with testing status updates at a moment’s notice?

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step 2

Know what to look for in a vendor

Now that you’ve identified your needs, goals and challenges, you’re ready to start vetting potential vendors. Not all test management providers are created equal, with companies offering varying levels of performance, cost-effectiveness and support. While many test management systems appear to be similar, the following are business issues that have to be taken into consideration while evaluating vendors:

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  1. Longevity

    How long has the vendor been in business? Does it have a track record of success?

  2. Customer base

    Is the vendor industry-specific? Are current and past customers happy with their experience? Can this be verified through case studies, testimonials and detailed references?

  3. Training service

    Will the vendor bring your team up to speed on its platform and show everyone the ropes?

  4. Support

    Will the vendor supply updates on a regular basis? What other assistance will it provide if needed?

  5. Credibility

    Does the vendor have a strong reputation built upon a reliable brand?

  6. Partnerships

    Has the vendor formed any lasting and beneficial partnerships with industry leaders?

step 3

Recognize cost considerations

Business leaders should be aware of the various costs that might come packaged with a test management tool. A good vendor will always keep these expenses in mind, offering a great value for what you get.

It’s important to keep these various cost factors in mind when considering a test management purchase. If they aren’t properly accounted for, companies may find that their total cost of ownership is higher than they anticipated.

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Businesses should also accurately set their expectations on their return on investment. It’s natural to look for immediate benefits with any new tech addition. However, test management solutions require some time to get properly aligned with systems and processes and begin demonstrating their value.

It’s also wise to have a plan in place to measure precisely what you’re looking for out of your test management system. Will you measure its performance in the amount of time its saves QA teams? An increase in test coverage? The quality of finished software releases?

step 4

Determine what features are needed from a solution

You’ve established your test management goals, challenges and costs. Now it’s time to look at what specific features you need - and expect to receive - from a test management platform to make its installation a success:

 
 
  1. Testcase management

    Define and translate test cases as well as assign them to specific team members.

  2. Test automation

    Share automated test runs with everyone and review past results by date and machine. A quality product should feature an automated test scheduler to prepare runs on selected computers.

  3. Reporting & metrics

    Give managers and other superiors insight into the QA team’s daily activity with detailed reports and metrics. This information allows decision-makers to more effectively structure units and allocate resources.

  4. Requirements traceability

    Determine if your team has the right test coverage to meet each requirement.

  5. Release management

    Take an in-depth look at release statuses and their underlying dependencies. Define sprints, iterations and builds to better understand where your projects stand.

  6. Defect management & issue tracking

    Keep tabs on your defect activity, including how long it takes team members to find and address software flaws.

  7. Rich interactive testing desktop & dashboards

    Browser-based, interactive desktops and dashboards allow testers to configure applications and freely switch between project builds.

  8. Organize test repositories

    QA professionals can tap into global testcase repositories to access every single testcase ever written. A quality test management tool will allow teams to both import and export testcases as well as manage local repositories.

  9. Integrate with leading defect tracking systems

    Test management systems shouldn’t have to act alone. Ideally, they will be able to integrate with the best defect tracking systems available, such as JIRA.

  10. Manage manual testcases

    Create manual testcase templates to quickly write new testcase then map them to various requirements.

  11. Plan and execute test cycles

    Launch test execution runs from a single platform and manage every aspect of their use. Define test run properties based on various criteria and collect results for insightful testing metrics.

Launch test execution runs from a single platform and manage every aspect of their use. Define test run properties based on various criteria and collect results for insightful testing metrics.

Some test management systems will offer more advanced features that go above and beyond standard services and further enhance QA efforts. Organizations that really want to take their software testing processes to the next level should be on the lookout for the following options:

  1. Real-time metrics and dashboards

  2. Rich user interface

  3. Quality business intelligence

  4. Unlimited API access

  5. Real-time collaboration

 

step 5

Prepare for launch and plan for sustainability

The last step in the test management purchasing process is to ready legacy systems to integrate the new platform and ensure that no issues arise that could delay operations. Consider these factors as you near a final decision.

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  1. Implementation process

    How easy is it for the IT team to install and configure the environment? Will the vendor provide any assistance during the rollout?

  2. Migration

    Has the vendor handled test management migrations before? How have they charged for these services in the past?

  3. Deployment

    Can the test management system be deployed solely on-premises, or does the vendor offer hosted services as well?

  4. Backup/Disaster recovery

    How does the Test Management solution provide for backup and disaster recovery solutions?

  5. Performance

    Does the test management function consistently for all team members - even remote users? How does it handle in real-world scenarios with collaborative elements?

  6. Scalability

    Can the vendor’s product be scaled up to meet your organization’s needs and handle both current and future testing workloads?

  7. Seamless integration

    How easily does the test management solution allow for integrations with various tools your teams are using: defect tracking, automation, requirements management, etc.?

  8. Control of data

    Will you be able to easily extract all the data - tests created, test execution information, requirements, etc. - from the test management software? What formats are supported?

Finalizing your decision

At this point, your team should have a good understanding of the various goals, challenges, cost considerations and performance requirements you need to take into account before purchasing a test management solution. By going through this step-by-step process, your organization will have zeroed in on the relevant criteria for making an informed decision. It’s important to keep in mind that regardless of the bells and whistles a product offers, the success of a test management solution will ultimately be determined by how well it fits your company’s specific needs. If you adhere to that simple principle, you can’t go wrong choosing a test management platform.