Outfitting your QA team with the best software to help them perform their job plays an essential part in the overall efficiency of your SDLC. Trying to manage a complex QA process using merely the Microsoft Office suite or similar applications offers some benefit, but they aren’t really tailored to the task at hand. A dedicated QA application needs to provide the right feature set to compliment how your organization tests software.
In the past, we’ve talked about the importance of a robust toolbox for any QA team. Let’s take a closer look at some tips for finding the right QA application for your company.
Perform your Due Diligence First
Doing a complete needs assessment is a must before even beginning to research the various off-the-shelf QA applications. The size of your organization is important, as larger companies may benefit from more esoteric features like testing automation. Smaller firms where testers wear many different hats might want the ability to easily manage test environments without having to get help from network administration personnel.
Whether or not your software development projects follow the Agile or DevOps methodologies is another consideration. In this scenario, features supporting collaboration are necessary. Easy interfacing with other applications geared towards Agile project management helps make things run smoothly.
Does your shop primarily develop desktop software for Windows or Mac OSX? What about web applications? Are mobile apps or embedded software also part of the equation? These vital questions all factor into your final decision.
All QA applications need to provide requirements and bug tracking, as these are core functions benefitting both testers and project managers. Make sure a robust reporting engine — including rich testing history — is provided. The ability to export reports in a variety of formats, like PDF or Wiki, is a plus.
Get together with your software development management team and discuss these and other important points. Make a list of required features as well as functionality that is nice to have but not essential. Now you are ready to begin researching applications.
Find the Vendor with the QA Application for your Team
Make it a point to collect product information from a variety of QA software vendors. Work with your team to narrow down the choices to anywhere from three to five applications. Have your team rate each QA application on the criteria you feel most appropriate.
Follow up your team member’s individual ratings by researching online reviews from trusted sources within the QA community. Reach out to some of your connections on LinkedIn to see if they have any hands-on experience with the applications in question. In many cases, these sources provide more meaningful insight than those derived from marketing information or even press reviews.
Take advantage of any free trial periods if provided, so your team can actually get hands-on experience with the various candidate applications before a final decision is made. Once you’ve decided, make sure to choose a licensing option offering the most flexibility for both your team and your company’s bottom line.
Hopefully, these tips offered a measure of insight before you go shopping for a great QA application for your staff.