We all know that test cases – designing, writing, managing them – are the lifeblood of QA. In my years of work in the field of development and testing, I’ve seen many QA teams that lack the bandwidth to deal with the high volume of tested cases. Of course, in the end, it’s all about the resulting quality that comes from managing your test cases well.
In this blog, I cover the importance of a good test case management (TCM) solution and how Applause is evolving ours.
Excel doesn’t cut it
For years, software development organizations managed their test cases using Excel. In fairness, it did a reasonable job considering it was not designed for this task. However, over time, dev teams realized that Excel leaves a lot to be desired in the TCM realm. It lacks ease of collaboration, data visualization is not connected to current status (since it’s offline), and it doesn’t provide easy traceability/linkage to past results, changes or associate issues – all very important to managing active testing and planning for future efforts. In addition, Excel is not designed with automation in mind and is generally void of process details: things like tester workload, specified customer views for task prioritization or the deep-dive intelligence to see bugs and test status – particularly key when needed on demand.
Many QA teams simply miss out on their potential to best manage test cases when using Excel.
Test case management at Applause
At Applause, we’ve always had our own internal TCM to use along with our crowdtesting platform. We continually improve it as new needs and insights arise over the years. It’s been critical in the work we do with customers around the world, as well as our own software development.
Stemming from years of working with the spectrum of test cases in various TCM systems and non-systems, we evolved our own TCM tool to expand access to customers who didn’t already have an established TCM solution. These early adopters, along with many of the customers to follow, have been a tremendous additive to our TCM roadmap. This teaming has created a cycle of excellence for our customers and enables us to work in parallel with the test cases we manage for them through our community.
Always evolving the functionality of our TCM
We continue to advance our TCM tools to bring greater scale and efficiency to our customers and community. One example of our expanding TCM functionality provides customers with an easier way to implement the test case management best practice of having shared components.
These shared components – similar to a best practice in automation where you have an end-to-end flow, but the flow is made up of multiple features or flows that may be used repeatedly – enable organizations to reuse test scenarios or scripts that use the same flows. In this way, organizations avoid recreating the wheel for these different scenarios. When you make changes, rather than change each individual test case script, you just share those changed components and all the other scripts using it get updated.
For our own internal use, we’re also exploring improved functionality through artificial intelligence (AI). We’ve been testing ways to create new test cases, summarize their details and even update test case commentary. Also, given how many global TCM customers we have around the world, it’s always key for us to evaluate our consistency to continually improve best practices across all the work we do. We think AI has promise in this regard, perhaps useful in terms of setting up cycles, testing scope, instructions and much more.
Why does a good TCM solution matter?
Of course, when it comes to TCM solutions, there are many good solutions out there. Most have a lot of similarities; they are repositories that contain the detailed tests and test steps for organizations to use on their app to validate whether or not the requirements have been covered and the app works as expected on each build. Over the years, there are a few keys in TCM that really helps us as a testing partner, and also advances our customers’ work as well:
A single version of the truth. If you’ve got a set of test cases that your internal team uses and you’ve got another set of test cases that Applause uses, it’s very difficult to manage when everyone can’t see the same data. This is a common issue with spreadsheets. Are you sure everyone is working on the latest version? And, you have to repeatedly update and resend, versus having the view updated automatically to all users. A solution built to manage test cases makes all the difference here.
Reduced management and maintenance. When our customers have their test cases in our system, we can help create, manage and maintain them. A bonus here is that customers have the ability to decide what their team takes on and what Applause does. When you don’t have everything in the same place, dividing up the work becomes just another thing to track on an ongoing basis.
Customers make more informed decisions. This seems like such an obvious outcome, but we continually see how not having all the tests and information in one place – or the ability to easily dig deeper as needed into details – is a true inhibitor to software quality. Clarity, rendered through an easy-to-use dashboard in our TCM system can’t be overstated.
Specific to Applause, there are a few things that set us apart with our TCM solution:
Access to the Applause community. Our uTest community is the world’s largest, most diverse community of independent digital experts, available to help you execute tests and scale to your specific requirements. Customers can leverage our test experts to help create, manage and maintain test cases, which can be used for in-house or community-driven testing.
Reporting that inspires confidence. Customers that have us manage their TCM via our community get reports on the quality of their testing. The results combine how your test cases have performed and what issues your apps contain. The data views enable deep dives into specific areas of interest and show quality trends over time.
Our TCM is included with an active functional subscription. An enhanced value of working with Applause, our customers appreciate eliminating the management and cost of per-seat licenses, and instead, can just get down to managing their test cases.
One of our large global customers was using a popular external TCM solution. They had no complaints, in fact, they loved using it. However, they understood the added value of having all their test cases in the same place. They were managing approximately 3,000 test cases in the external TCM solution, but they took advantage of our tools that enabled easy integration into our platform. They were up and running quickly and were very vocal about how working in the same system streamlined efforts and enabled more insights.
Applause TCM enables more strategic input… and better digital output
TCM has another element that we’ve noted over the years, it increases trust with our clients. It gives us visibility into data and trends that are invaluable. In addition to regular quarterly reports, for example, when we can see the details of how our customers are managing their test cases, we can provide even more insight and recommendations for their overall testing strategy and execution. It’s a major bonus for both of us.
In the end, as a global testing company, having our own TCM product that helps us facilitate testing just makes sense. But, it’s a continually rewarding experience to witness the insights and quality improvements that come from our ongoing collaboration with our customers who also use our TCM tool.
Watch our TCM video below. And find out what having a single source of truth for all test management and execution can mean for your organization.