In an implementation project, after the design and construction phase, all eyes are on the test phase. This phase must provide insight into the quality of the software that will, shortly afterwards, be put into use. The time planned for testing is limited, so much depends on good preparation. Unfortunately, too much time is lost on test case management during the preparation phase; managing the many test cases and test scenarios.
A practical example of test case management with Excel versus a professional test management tool.
Example 1 - all freedom with Excel
At an early stage, it was decided that quality was very important for the project and an external test manager was therefore appointed. No test tool is available, so the test manager sets to work creating a template test script in Excel. Two weeks later, the template is finished, including the cover sheet, tabs with various columns, drop down menus and automatically staggered colours on the cover sheet that show the status of the tabs. The Excel template is distributed to the core users (the testers), who have to prepare the test scripts.
The ERP package SAP to be tested is divided into six process areas, each with a number of sub-areas. For convenience, the Test Manager creates a tree structure of folders on the network drive where the test cases can be stored. To keep an overview the Test Manager creates a separate overview in Excel to keep track of how many test scripts have been created for each SAP component and what the status of the test scripts is (in development, ready for review or ready for test). He saves a copy of this overview every day so that he can report on the progress.
The testers have varying experience of testing, so some have adapted the template to their own needs. The test manager asks the testers every day how far they have got and updates his Excel sheet. It turns out to be a hell of a job to get the over 200 Excel files in the right folders on the network drive. The weekly project meeting in which progress has to be reported is a challenge, let alone the version management.
"And to think that the test phase has yet to start..."
Example 2 - 'in control' with test case management
It was expressed early on that quality was very important to the project and therefore an external test manager was appointed. Testersuite was chosen so that the test manager can get started after a short instruction. Immediately he puts the tree structure with 6 main areas and underlying sub-areas in Testersuite.
The core users (testers) are given a brief instruction and a login to Testersuite that allows them to get straight to work creating test scripts and link them directly to the relevant system component. The test manager gets real-time access to the progress of the test design. Reports on progress, even by tester or system component, are displayed on the beamer during the project meeting.
"Let that test phase come!"
Time for test case management
It is obvious that the second example will have a smoother Go Live than the first through professional test case management. However, the benefits are not limited to time saving and version control in the project. Good test case management enables reusability of the test set for future releases or changes. Being able to retrieve (executed) test scripts is also important from a compliancy point of view.