5 Essential Features To Consider When Selecting A Test Management Tool

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With the growing option of test management tools in the market, one can struggle to identify the best tool. In this guide, we’ll show you the essential features you need to know to select the tool that works best for your business. 

But before we delve more in-depth on these parameters, here are pointers to note. 

There is no point to compare a $40 monthly SaaS tool with fully-integrated $7000 enterprise software. That means that you should filter the options based on budget first.  If you have no budget, it’s best to choose an open-source tool. 

However, as testing is a crucial element in the quality of your product, and the satisfaction of your end users, it is recommended to use a commercial test management tool such as Practitest that not only provide access to customer support, training and tutorials, but also has a larger feature set that is constantly evolving to fit current and future needs that  will improve your testing process, and will result in a positive ROI. 

Once you’ve filtered the list based on the budget, it’s time to factor in the following parameters. 

1. Test Management Tool Should Boost Productivity 

The rapidly changing technological landscape presents plenty of challenges to testing teams. Add to that the growing need for multiple-platform testing. Given that manual testing takes accounts of most of the testing time, the role of automation becomes more relevant. Other areas that can improve the efficiency of a tool are release management, data management, and insightful reporting. 

Let’s now delve into the criteria that make up to an ideal test management tool in terms of productivity. 

Test Information Granularity 

The test management tool provides comprehensive information relevant to the testing process. When a test fails, for example, it’s imperative to determine the stage where the test failed rather than looking at the whole picture. Even if only minor changes were implemented during the process, the tool should provide these updates to the testing teams. Moreover, it should record the history of changes as well as the full test case versions for the quick action and easier follow-up. The tool should also be able to compare the results of the test run and keep the results. Other essential features that make up a standard test management tool are the creation of defects, documenting test strategy, linking stories, and planning test execution. 

Release Management Tracking (DevOps) 

Software releases come with different processes going on at the same time. These include team coordination, transparency of releases, and tracking of build versions. An ideal test management tool must be able to store a list of the software being released and tested. It should also have a robust tracking ability on release management. In that way, conflicts with other testing artifacts would be avoided. 

The standard tool presents a holistic view of the elements for all the testing members and the stakeholders. Having a deep relationship with stakeholders ensures the capture of the right specifications. In other words, the tool must record the connections between other development requirements and assets. 

When the teams are distributed, the tool must offer a shared repository that facilitates collaboration and sharing of requirements, and assess attached lapses. The tool should likewise espouse standardization to ensure consistency and quality. 

Reporting 

When the testing proponents are aware of the defects in the release but are unsure of how long addressing such takes, chaos can happen. That is why test engineers heavily rely on the reports  which a test management tool provides to monitor the test activities. A standard test management tool must be able to provide the following information in their reports, such as test case authoring status, test status by suites, test plan progress, the  test cases to be automated, and test status by area. 

The test management tool must likewise present full transparency of lifecycle procedures and developer activities from managing requirements to fixing defects and testing. 

A standard test management tool should have the following elements: 

- Dashboard and graph must present details on the number of tests conducted or that are awaiting implementation 

- Standard test features must be highlighted including the volume of testing cases that failed/skipped/passed 

- Provide a visualization of the automated test executions along with the results of the manual tests 

2. Provision Of Agile Support 

If there is one component of the testing industry that is rapidly gaining attention, that would be the demand in the present market for agile. Agile allows the mutability and incremental completion of requirements. That is why your test management tool should function properly with the existing situation. Moreover, your chosen test management tool must espouse strong collaboration among testers, developers, and other persons or agencies involved. 

Agile test management software supports the following: 

- Creation of stories 
- Planning for sprint backlog 
- Reports and velocity charts 
- Estimation 
- Kanban and Scrum 

Now, if you’re assessing changes in defect rates every iteration, having a test management tool comparison by test run would ensure productivity in an Agile setting. For every backlog and iteration, the Agile test management tool has to track the record of product releases. 

3. External Integration 

An automated test case execution can significantly unload test proponents of hustles and bustles. Therefore, you should choose a test management tool that seamlessly harmonizes tools for automation. Moreover, the tool should be capable of managing test scripts and launching tests and schedules on the remote host and locally. 

The test management tool should, likewise facilitate continuous integration. One of the advantages of a tool with CI features is automatic launching. Among the possible triggers of a launch are test cases with underlying test automation, allocated tasks for a specific duration, and source code. CI varies in direction, time, granularity, and detail. 

Any Quality Assurance team can efficiently conduct a testing process with an integrated bug tracking software. Ideal test management tools integrate easily with the SDLC app and other bug tracking tools such as Mantis, Bugzilla, and JIRA. All these provide additional value to the tool. The test management tool must also let testing teams test case runs and link bugs to centralize software management of the testing procedures. Moreover, the tool must allow users to work together seamlessly on an issue together. 

A standard test management tool should allow the integration of your support desk system. Also known as support desk software, the ticket system should allow the testing teams to have an immediate intervention to their issues. That feature provides customers an overview of all closed and open problems. 

4. Mobile 

Any ideal test management tool must support tablets and mobile devices. Take note. More and more people are using these kinds of devices for online transactions, and software developers are gearing to ensure mobile responsiveness. 

Besides, mobile support provides essential support for testing proponents who are at the client's location. It’s also beneficial for users in various geographical areas or for those who are not working on their desks. Managers can also find mobile responsiveness efficient. 

Your test management tool should come with a complete set of mobile features. 

With the growing number of devices, support for varying devices, including mobile O.S., becomes more relevant. This holds particularly true given increasing complexities such as orientation issues, gesture, accelerometers, and location. After all, people don’t buy a phone because they find it compatible with test management software. 

5. Support 

Regardless of the brand, vendors of test management tools should offer committed support to customers in practical ways. Here is the thing. Many vendors of the tools focus more on showcasing creative websites to appeal to more customers. But they should not end there. They should be able to offer an efficient and responsive support desk system. This is particularly helpful for beginners. 

An ideal test management tool must come with helpful features such as product documentation information, live chat, knowledgebase, phone call, raising help desk ticket, and FAQ’s and online user guides. 

Some test management tool vendors also conduct online video conferences with tool specialists to address customer issues or queries. If that is not feasible, the vendor should attach the test management tool with recorded videos or demos. These should be accessible by users easily. If the tool offers custom integration support or API, the vendors should provide a detailed documentation and demo script. 

Of course, all of the support above channels may not apply to all tools. So it’s advisable to choose the tool that offers the support channel you find fit for your business and situation. 

Another thing to ask yourself, “Is the test management tool vendor focused on providing value to the customer?” To answer that, consider the following elements when choosing the ideal tool: 

- The tool user interface should consider the integration of customer feature and that; it should be user friendly 

- It should accommodate multiple time zones and different languages 

- It must have the ability to do an advanced search So, there you go. Those are the primary features or parameters you need to know when choosing the test management tool that best fits your business. 

Patrick Panuncillon has been a digital marketing specialist since 2013, helping businesses of various niches boost their online visibility.

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