Author: Bill Echlin

Managing Retests

March 16, 2012
Retesting is a key part of the test management process. However, there is a right and a wrong way to approach this. You run some testcases as part of one cycle. Some fail and you look to run them again as part of the next cycle. When they pass the temptation is to go back to the original testcase record and change the result to a pass. This is especially true where there was just a small fix or config change required to resolve the issue. This is the wrong way to approach this. It’s imperative as part of the test management cycle to make sure each execution is tracked and recorded independently. The scenario is this. 1. You execute...
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Test Management Activities

March 8, 2012
There are a number of core test management activities that you will be performing as part of any QA process.  What we cover here is good software testing practice and should form the bedrock of any QA teams setup.  The activities we’ll look at are : Test Management Activities 1. Developing testcases in a library. 2. Defining releases and configurations that we’ll use during the execution. 3. Grouping into sets ready for execution. 4. Execution. In this discussion we’re going to look specifically at carrying out those activities with QAComplete. With QAComplete we’ll see how we can streamline this approach. We’ll see how this can improve on the process that we’d normally see with an excel based approach. The first part...
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Test Management Systems and User Adoption

March 1, 2012
This is a follow up to the previous post on Approaches to User Training for Test Management Systems. We thought we’d take a look at one of the most important reasons for training. That is increasing user adoption. Getting your QA team to use your test management system, and use it correctly, is key to your success. Increasing user adoption with training does, however, depend on a few significant elements. It’s about the process – a lot of test management training is based around the functionality of the system. We track this piece of data, at this point in the process, in this field. We record the results in this field and log the environment tested against here, etc, etc....
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Approaches to User Training for Test Management Systems

February 10, 2012
A large part of any new test management system implementation is training. Delivery of effective training is key to the uptake and correct usage of any system you put in place. There are several options or approaches to training that should be considered. Each approach having it’s own advantages and disadvantages. Training Mentors Typically delivered internally this type of training is usually based in the real world. It involves having your trainer work side by side with the students in a live environment. The aim is to have the mentor(s) help staff by walking them through the system as they work normally. The big advantage here is that the students learning is reinforced by working in a familiar environment. The...
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Top Software Failures and the Failure Cycle

February 2, 2012
It’s always interesting taking a look back over the year to examine some of the significant software failures. Whilst companies rarely allude to the causes behind these failures it’s easy to argue that poor software testing is likely to contribute significantly. The trouble with blaming this on software testing is that it usually means the QA team takes the wrap. And in taking the wrap we’re pushed into blaming it on poor process (e.g. test management process), lack of resources or even poor requirements. Naturally the QA team feel aggrieved that they are being singled out. And rightly so. Product quality is the responsibility of the whole product team not just the QA team. So when we see failures, like...
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Six New Test Management Features in QAComplete 9.7

January 27, 2012
The Test Management solution QAComplete 9.7 has been out for around 3 months now. In that time we’ve had the opportunity to implement for many clients and evaluate the new feature set in the real world. Billed as a solution comparable to HP’s Quality Center there are some interesting new features to help teams manage their QA process here. With 3 months of use under our belts our impression is that SmartBear have been listening to their client base. They have restructured the way testcases are managed but retained the core traceability and visibility features. Essentially it’s still easy to use but delivers a far richer feature set for the QA team. So here are some of the key features...
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Exporting Test Management Results

January 17, 2012
All test management tools provide reporting to some degree. Most also support exporting of test results and test data. That data may include testcases, run status information, configuration settings, etc. Whatever the information you need to export the key question will be does the test management tool support the export format you need? Typically you can expect a tool to support CSV, Excel, Pdf, Word (or Rich Text Format) and XML. The following video shows how to export in these various formats from QAComplete. You’ll see in this video that there are two core approaches to exporting. The first is to export directly from within the GUI to CSV format. This involves selecting the data you wish to export (usually...
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The Aggregated Test Management Results Report

January 11, 2012
On a fairly regular basis we get asked for a specific test management report that will show the aggregated results from multiple runs. The idea behind this is that ultimately you can show that every testcase was run and that every one passed. So for example on test cycle 1 you may get… my_test_case_A:   failed my_test_case_B:  passed my_test_case_C:  passed Then on cycle 2 you get…. my_test_case_A:   passed The aggregated test management information would then show the following: my_test_case_A:   passed my_test_case_B:  passed my_test_case_C:  passed So we’re looking for the latest result for each testcase and showing that result as if all the tests have been run in one go. Very misleading when you consider it from that perspective....
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Confusing Simplicity with Usability when selecting a Test Management Tool

November 11, 2011
A lot of companies that are evaluating test management tools say the tool must be easy to use. A reasonable request. It’s what’s behind this request that is interesting. In many cases it is the fact that the tool needs to be used by people that are not software testers. The reason for this? Companies supplement their QA team with people from the business or their QA team is comprised completely of people that come from the business. In a few cases companies opt not to take on testers with formal QA experience but decide to use people who know the business inside out as testers. Usually in this case the team have little or no experience of using test...
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What is the Difference Between a Test Manager and a Project Manager?

November 3, 2011
The 31st Test Management forum took place in the UK last week. For those of you based in the UK who have a fascination with this area of our discipline this is well worth attending. Attended by a number of prominent test mangers and consultants it makes for some very stimulating discussions (and in some instances quite heated debate). One of the topics that struck home in this latest session was a simple question about the difference between a project manager (PM) and a test manager (TM). On the surface a simple question. Dig a little deeper though and this question is more interesting than it would at first appear. For example what stops a test manager becoming a project...
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