The Product Manager’s Guide to QA Testing in Jira

Insight Main Image

It’s no doubt that quality assurance (QA) underpins the success of any product, especially software. As a product manager, you know the intricacy of the product requirements as well as development roadmap, but what about QA?

From test case design to execution, there’s a lot going on inside the QA room, but these processes often come too late in the product development cycle.

Want to deliver quality software at speed and at scale? It’s important to integrate QA teams into your development sprint cycle. Testing and debugging are integral procedures to help you avoid any unwanted issues.

Fortunately, with the host of new PM software available today, testers and developers can collaborate on a single platform to ensure better product delivery.

Built for software teams, Jira Software also accommodates QA processes. It even lets you build workflows to emulate the testing life cycle. 

While offering a great foundation for test management, Jira still has some limitations when it comes to integrating QA into the development sprint cycle. That’s where Zephyr really shines.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the common QA workflows in Jira and how you can leverage Zephyr for Jira to achieve agile test management.

Understanding Jira QA Workflows

Product managers everywhere rely on Jira to deliver great software. With native bug tracking capabilities, Jira is also an ideal test management platform for QA engineers.

But as a tool, Jira is only one component of product management. You need to create effective workflows and assign the right stakeholders as well. That’s what we’ll be discussing in this section.

Below are the common approaches to software testing in Jira. Let’s dive in!

Approach 1: Run a Dedicated Agile Sprint for Backlog Bugs

Traditionally, QA teams begin testing once the code is release-ready and then detected bugs flow back to the developers to be fixed. This is also known as waterfall QA.


The constant addition of bugs into your backlog may spell bad news. A growing bug count can easily accumulate to growing tech debt, which is a nightmare to tackle if it gets out of control.

To avoid the mounting list of bugs getting in the way of the development schedule, the QA team may run a separate sprint. The goal is to ensure the undisrupted development workflow, as developers can pass the codes for testing only at the end of each iteration.

Meanwhile, you can manage the test cycle by having the test engineers reproduce and attach the bug in the Jira ticket. The software engineers can begin fixing the bugs reported in their next iteration.

However, there are drawbacks to this approach.

Having two teams working in separate cycles means that you lack high-level backlog prioritization. What if there’s a critical bug that needs immediate attention? On the other hand, your QA team also lacks understanding of the product complexity or nuances they need to cover in the test case.

While this model allows the teams to work independently in multiple iterations, new features often get delayed. The gap between dev and QA are detrimental to meeting release dates, as they are dependent on one another to move work forward.

Approach 2: Add Backlog Bugs During Agile Sprints 

In this approach, you have developers write code and testers conduct QA concurrently. The common goal for both teams at the end of every agile sprint is to deliver a working feature. This is the fundamental principle of agile software development.

With Jira, you can easily adopt agile frameworks like Scrum or Kanban into your product management. This approach makes code review part of the workflow, as you can see in the project board below. Once testers capture bugs, developers can instantly create a new branch in their source code and start fixing directly from the same Jira ticket. 

While Jira automatically updates information about pull requests, merges, builds, and more on the ticket, it doesn’t accommodate the complete test case requirements.

Note that in the first approach, the QA team has more control over the test case requirements and execution. Whereas in code review, you need to communicate with test engineers to define what test will be run and created to test the feature. 

What if you can integrate the complete test management process into the development workflow while ensuring agility across teams?

Zephyr for Jira does exactly that, and more! The app not only allows developers and testers to work together without friction, it also enables you to manage tests across multiple sprints and releases at a high level.

Before getting into the integrated test cycle with Zephyr, we’ll discuss the last QA approach - test automation.

Approach 3: Automated Testing

Manual testing isn’t scalable. Instead, recurring tests such as functional or unit testing can be automated to further streamline the development pipeline.

By replacing time-consuming, manual test management practices with automated testing, you can focus your resources on achieving continuous integration (CI). CI refers to the ability to automatically run tests against new code changes and ensure that they work as intended without introducing new bugs. In other words, to shift the role of the testers from simply finding bugs to improving software quality.

In that sense, effective code review can improve continuous development (CD) as teams can ship new features to customers faster. And test automation is the key to enabling CD goals. That way, you can exploit QA resources to perform high-level test cases like exploratory testing and regression testing.

With that in mind, let’s discover how Zephyr for Jira helps enable agile testing through test cycles and explore its automation capabilities.

QA Testing Made Easy with Zephyr for Jira

Zephyr for Jira is the most popular test management solution in Jira, perfect for agile teams focusing on test design, execution, and test automation.

We break down the core benefits of Zephyr for continuous product improvement during QA in three parts:

1.Agile Testing


Once you initiate a software project and define the scope, you can simultaneously create a new Test Cycle in Zephyr. Testing is integrated into the project and release cycles, with the test issues (Zephyr’s custom issue type) associated with those features and user requirements, either for future execution or as part of the execution. That way, you can ensure synchronization between development and testing without compromising the complexity of QA processes during agile testing.

These test cases will also be reflected on your Jira Scrum board. Zephyr utilizes Jira releases, so it’s possible to identify what has been tested for a software release, and what the results were using end-to-end traceability.

Based on the Cycle summary, you can review all the test cases to be executed according to the Test Cycles, identify how testing activities relate to ongoing sprints, cycles, and user stories.

With this high-level visibility, you can easily manage all tests in tandem with the features being developed every agile sprint.

2.Test Case Management


Zephyr’s Execution Navigator feature makes searching and customizing test executions an easier process. Using Zephyr Query Language (ZQL), you can filter tests based on execution status or other variables. This is especially useful if you have a large number of tests to navigate through.

The ease of test case management provides a simple way to change, assign, and associate tests to features quickly within your agile testing process.

You can perform a number of bulk changes directly from your search filters. The bulk changes include changing execution statuses, moving tests to a different cycle, and even cloning tests to the next cycle.

Spot a common defect across multiple tests? You can even bulk associate defects to selected executions. This saves you time in assigning the defects to individual tests.

3.Test Analysis


Thanks to Zephyr for Jira’s metrics dashboard, making informed, data-driven decisions can be achieved efficiently. It automatically tracks multiple test metrics such as:

  • Daily test execution progress by status
  • Test executions by test cycle
  • Test executions by tester
  • Number of executions per day
  • Number of executions per day

Additionally, the app seamlessly integrates with your Jira dashboard through eight test metric gadgets. These gadgets are flexible and great for cross-team reporting, giving everyone improved visibility over test results. You can create any number of Jira dashboards integrated with Zephyr gadgets to report to different levels of your teams from managers to executives.

Expand QA Testing Capabilities using Test Automation

Last but not least, you can synchronize results from automated testing frameworks directly in Jira. Zephyr for Jira integrates with popular automation frameworks like Selenium, TestNG, JUnit, and world-class solutions provided by SmartBear (SoapUI Pro, TestComplete, and  Cucumber), among others. You can reduce the manual effort across automation teams and report on test results immediately.

Watch to Learn More: Integrating Test Automation and Test Management with Zephyr for Jira

Get the 30-day free trial of Zephyr for Jira today.


About Ricksoft, Inc.

Ricksoft develops Atlassian apps, including

WBS Gantt-Chart for Jira and Excel-like Issue Editor for Jira, to help PMPs everywhere deliver successful projects