Test management refers to managing all the software testing activities during an active engineering development cycle. The testing processes are organised and controlled such that they take place in the most optimal way. The traceability and visibility of the processes also need to be ensured, for the testing process to be able to give accurate results.
When managed properly, the test would give a comprehensive idea of the strong points and the blind spots, such that the developers can work on improving the software or the system.
Phases of Test Management
Testing management is a complex process and it involves several phases. One of the reasons why leading companies hire professional test management services is because it allows all these phases to be carried out smoothly. The test process as a whole can be divided into two major parts: planning and execution.
Planning can be further divided into four segments:
- Risk analysis: The term ‘risk’ refers to how probable the occurrence of an undesirable event is. At the beginning of the testing process, all these risks need to be identified. The solutions for each of these risks have to be developed too, in the early stages itself.
- Test estimation: Estimate refers to a prediction or a forecast. In the test estimation phase, the tentative duration of the test is determined, along with the expected cost. Accurate estimation of the time and cost leads to better planning. As a result, the tasks under the testing process can be monitored and executed better.
- Test plan: Without a complete test plan, the entire testing may fail. The test plan describes the approach, scope, schedule and resources of the testing activities. The test plan gives an idea of the following:
- Test objective
- Test strategy
- Test deliverables
- Resource planning
- Exit/ Suspension criteria
- Test organisation: In the last segment of the planning phase, the various roles in the process need to be defined. The knowledge and competencies of all the involved people are defined as well, with their tasks explained in detail.
Similarly, the execution phase is also divided into four different segments:
- Test monitoring: As the name suggests, monitoring involves the collection and recording of information during the testing process. As part of test automation services, the test manager would first define the goals and performance standards of the project. The next step involves observing the performance of the project and checking the results with the expectations. Ultimately, any incident of error is recorded and reported.
- Controlling: This phase involves solving the problems detected in the previous phase. Once the errors are detected in the monitoring phase, the testing team would use it to enhance the performance of the application and bring it up to the expectations.
- Issue management: The testing project might face certain risks, even if they are unexpected. For instance, the team members might lack the skills necessary to complete the project or may fail to finish the test on time. This is one of the reasons why it is wise to hire test automation services only from a trusted company.
- Test report and evaluation: This is the last segment of the execution phase, where a comprehensive report is generated. It is then evaluated and the findings of the test are announced.
What are the Key Practices that can be deployed during Comprehensive Test Management?
To be completely effective, test management has to be comprehensive. Here are five key practices that can help to achieve this:
- Deploying different strategies: There are a variety of tests, depending on their goals and the components. For instance, there can be security tests, agile tests, big data tests, analytics and more. Based on the test type, the strategy has to be built up. This makes the entire process comprehensive as all the parameters get tested effectively.
- Starting early: Later in the lifecycle of an application, repairs and bug fixes are much more complicated and expensive. This is why test automation services should be started early in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), for higher efficiency.
- Automating the process: Carrying out such a complex procedure manually would prove to be time-consuming and prone to errors. Moreover, it also consumes considerable effort to carry out all the phases. Several test automation tools are now available for these tasks. By deploying these, the process can be hastened greatly.
- Reusing test assets: The test procedures can be recycled, and this is a very effective method to enhance the entire testing process. The teams would also be saving time, money and effort, and hence perform the job much better.
- Keeping it flexible: In order to develop an automated workflow, the testing process has to be designed in a flexible way. The test efforts should be customisable, such that the process would cater to various project requirements. This process and the workflow must be defined properly and conveyed to the team at the very beginning.
How to Pick the Right Test Management Tool?
While delivering the test automation services (even in the case of functional testing), the testing teams have to use certain test management tools which would simplify the testing process. While the tools do differ from each other based on their purposes, there are a few features that are commonly found among all the top tools.
- Automation integration: The tools automate the testing phases, helping all the test cases run smoothly. Manual testing would still be relevant. However, together with the automated tools, it would become much more effective. The automated testing tools run the tests either in a predetermined cycle or as needed.
- Flexibility: Just like the test management strategy, the tools need to be flexible too. Different testing projects involve different demands and to get all of them covered, one would need flexible tools. This flexibility also enables the team to skip the irrelevant tests, thus saving time and money. Moreover, agile software development is becoming more and more popular and flexible tools work particularly well with agile testing.
- Collaborative features: Compatibility with cloud storage is an important aspect that the best tools come with. As DevOps continues to become the trend, more and more projects are being stored in the cloud for easier collaboration. All the assets of the tests need to be stored there too, in a single shared space. Tools which work well in cloud environments are particularly handy as they provide the members of the team with updates on each other’s activities.
Other than these, the testing tools should be able to track the entire process in a streamlined manner and provide real-time updates. Choosing the right tools is an important part of comprehensive test management as it helps to define the likelihood of its success.
As long as all the best practices are enforced, even the complex software tests become relatively easier and simpler. Test management is an art and a science – the above are guidelines that a test manager can pick and choose from to customize his test management solution.