What is a test management tool?

August 22, 2019

What is a test management tool? Sometimes the simplest questions are the best. When you are dealing with the subject of test processes, test tools and test management on a daily basis, it is good to zoom out once in a while. Just to see if we are all still on the same page. Therefore in this blog we will answer the simple but good question: What is a test management tool?

Typewriter types blog: What is a test management tool

The test management tool

Let's start with what a test management tool is not. It is not a tool...

  • that automated software test;
  • that sidelines the test manager or test coordinator;
  • with which only the test manager and/or test coordinator works (after all, all employees who perform test tasks use the tool);
  • only for the IT department (see previous point);
  • with which you do the same as in Excel, but in the cloud;
  • where you have to record things purely for reporting and accountability purposes;
  • that will cost a lot of extra time (it actually saves time!);
  • which is only suitable for testing in the 'old' (waterfall) way (a test management tool is also indispensable for testing within agile/devops environments)

But what is a test management tool? Let's start with the testing process. It is impossible to imagine our society without software. We are becoming more and more dependent on it. In fact, we rely on it more and more. The consequences of errors in software are getting bigger and bigger and can lead to catastrophes. Whether we are talking about customised systems or standard applications. Whether the software runs on your own servers, in the cloud or with a hosting partner. It is of great importance that every organisation tests the software it depends on properly.

Having a good testing process

So having a good test process is important. This test process should be interwoven with all business processes. It is based on a master test plan. This means that every implementation, integration, migration, upgrade and update of applications must be tested. This includes functional acceptance tests (FAT) and user acceptance tests (GAT). And the tests are performed on different environments; development, test, acceptance environment and sometimes also on the production environment.

Setting up a testing process

As you can see above, a test plan and the associated test process is quite extensive. The question now is how do you set up such a process? You will have to arrange a number of things. Think of the following matters:

  • Who will do the testing? Application managers, key users, users...?
  • What and how will it be tested?
  • How often will testing take place? Is there a frequent update cycle?
  • How do you communicate with stakeholders about the testing process?
  • How and where are the test results recorded?
  • Where are defects (defects) registered and how are they resolved?
  • How do you safeguard the entire process and how do you ensure track and trace?

In order to manage, implement and monitor the above in a smooth process, a test management tool is indispensable.

A well-functioning test process

Above, we have indicated what a test process entails. Organisations that take their first steps in setting up a test process, often start with Excel sheets and Word documents. This can work fine in itself. However, when the test process becomes more extensive, we often see that mistakes are made. Spreadsheets are reused too often or are no longer readable due to poor version control. E-mails are sent back and forth, worsening the timeline and communication. The test manager loses the overview and the grip on his process, which in turn increases the risk.

Test management tool

With a test management tool you prevent losing grip and control on your test process. You create test cycles in a test management tool based on your IT landscape. Build test scripts and let them be executed through an underlying workflow. Record defects and test results and create a complete history and track and trace. Through reporting possibilities you always know where you are in the test process. This also allows you to report to management quickly and easily.

From test management tool to automated testing and quality portal

So, as described, a test management tool helps you to set up, maintain and carry out a mature test process. But it also brings other advantages. Because you have an overview of your test process with the test management tool, you also know which processes can be automated in terms of testing. The scripts from the test management tool can be used for the test automation tool. Think especially of common regression tests. But it also works the other way round. Findings that are noticed with a test automation tool are 'shot' directly to the test management tool. This way you can have your developer pick up the defects and subsequently re-test it.

IT Service Management tool

Your IT Service Management tool can also be linked to your test management tool. Changes in your production environment can be offered from your ITSM tool to your test management tool so that they can be tested. When a test is completed, the test management tool then sends a signal back to your ITSM tool.

Not unimportant is the burden of proof or track and trace that you record with the test management tool. In case of audits and/or accountancy you can easily submit documents with one push of a button. In the context of data protection and compliancy, this is ideal.

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