What is Test Management?
Nowadays, one can find numerous ways of simplifying complicated tasks and activities. However, proper management is the most important key to simplifying lengthy, difficult, and time consuming processes. Proper and timely management not only removes complexity from a process, but also improves the chances of its success. Likewise, in software testing too, test management plays an extremely important role and helps teams manage complicated testing activities and process. Test management allows one to improve the quality of their software product as well as make it more effective.
What is Test Management?
As suggested by its name, test management is a process of managing testing activities, such as planning, execution, monitoring, and controlling activities. Test management involves several crucial activities that caters to both manual and automation testing. With the assistance of this process, a team lead can easily manage the entire testing team, while monitoring their activities, as well as paying close attention to various details of SDLC.
The aim of this process is to prioritize tasks that are imperative and to analyze who is best suited for which task. Moreover, with its assistance one can allocate resources accordingly and forecast risks involved in testing. An adept tester is expected to apply his/her ingenuity and try applying the most suitable resource required at the right place. Additionally, the process of test management can also be carried out with the assistance of test management tools that allow automatic generation of requirement traceability matrix (RTM), which signify the functional coverage of the application under test (AUT).
Roles and Responsibilities of Test Management:
While performing software testing, test management is implemented by the testing team before the commencement of the whole process. This allows them to manage the various testing activity effectively and enables them to ensure fix defects in the system properly. In short, the roles and responsibilities of test management, during the testing process, are several, which are described below in detail.
- Strategic Management: One of the most important role of test management to strategize the whole testing process by defining its goals, initiatives, analyzing the competitive environment, identifying benchmarks, managing financial as well as human resources, and more. Moreover, it helps define the metrics for measuring the performance of the software and allows merging of test strategies with client’s requirements and needs.
- Operational Test Management: This process deals with project management, managing external relationships like determining types of external relationships, addressing contractual issues, defining communication strategies, project management aspects like estimation of time and effort, performing risk assessment, test project and evaluation include tracking information, internal and external reporting , and finally evaluating the effectiveness of all the previous steps.
- Test Team Management: Another significant role of test management is team management, which covers organizational level management and management at testing level. During the latter, management involves solving testing issues, assigning roles to responsible individuals, deciding tools, and other such activities. Whereas, in the former, the focus shifts from basic planning and moves to monitoring testing team in the testing environment and handling ethical issues.
Reasons for Test Management:
If we consider the roles and responsibilities of test management, we can easily conclude that the reasons for test management can be several and can vary from project to project and organization to organization. Hence, here is a list of some of the reasons for test management:
- Can be used to set-up well defined outlines, which can improve the software quality.
- To have easy access to test data for the teams working across different geographical locations.
- For managing the rapidly increasing software, along with the increment in complexities and attributes associated with the software.
- Reduces coding & designing errors.
- Ensures effective and efficient usage of test resources.
- Helps complete project within deadlines.
- Makes the task of tracking test cases, easier and simpler.
- Helps get a faster, smoother and unified testing process.
Test Management Process:
Test management encompasses an array of activities, which together make the process of testing convenient, effective, and efficient. From organizing and planning to controlling, monitoring and recording, test management involves various steps that improve communication between team members, offers transparency to all the stakeholders, simplifies issues, and improve the quality of defect detection. Therefore, to simplify test management for you, following is the process for test management.
- Test Organization:- The first stage of the process, test organization involves defining the roles and responsibilities of the team members, while managing test functions, test facilities, and test activities. Moreover, it addresses how teams track dependencies and relationships among various test assets, such as test cases, test scripts, test data, test software and test hardware. Here, the main emphasis is on elaborating the competencies and knowledge of the people involved, as well as organizing & maintaining an inventory of test items. This further involves two stages, which are:
Test Planning & Estimation:- Test planning and estimation are vital for the smooth functioning of the whole testing process. These are the documents that define various factors of testing like the techniques, methods, and tools testing, as well as the scope, schedule and resources of testing. Moreover, with the help of estimation one can determine the time and cost of testing, even before the beginning of the process. Test planning and estimation are further dependent on few factors, which are mentioned below:
- Independent Testing: To avoid author bias and to get more accurate results, individual testing is performed, wherein individual members of the team perform software testing independently. This improves the quality of defect detection, which further makes the process of testing effective.
- Tasks of Test Leader & Tester: Before the commencement of the testing process, it is the responsibility of the team leaders, managers, and testers to perform some important tasks, which are specifically allocated to them. Some of these tasks are:
- Leading the testing team and encouraging them to effectively perform testing.
- Defining the scope of testing as per the release and delivery of the project.
- Deploying and managing resources of testing.
Test Progress Monitoring and Control: To ensure proper testing and functioning of the whole testing process, test progress monitoring and controlling are extremely necessary. These allow the team leads to monitor and evaluate the testing activities and provide a feedback, which can further help with the improvement and correction process.
- Test Planning: As stated above, test planning is mainly concerned about the following components:
- Test policy, strategy.
- Estimating techniques.
- Test Plan.
- Test Approaches: Another important factor that is considered while preparing the test planning and estimation document is various test approaches, which are decided on the basis of the testing requirement and other crucial elements like:
- Model Based.
- Process Compliant or Standard Compliant.
- Dynamic & Heuristic.
- Regression Averse.
- Entry & Exit Criteria: The entry and exit criteria helps streamline the entire testing life cycle and improves the quality of the software. These are usually determined with the assistance of system testing, acceptance testing, integration testing, and unit testing. Moreover, the entry and exit criteria can be utilized to analyze the outcomes of the test strategy.
- Entry Criteria: Specify the conditions or on-going activities that need to be present during each testing phase, such as test data, test plans, testing tools, testable codes, and more.
- Exit Criteria: These are the activities or requirements that need to be fulfilled before the culmination of the testing process. These include identifying & resolving defects, ensuring all critical test cases are passed, retesting and closing all the high priority defects, among other things.
Risks & Testing: Determines the possible risks of testing and the various approaches used to get the required results. All aspects of testing are considered like the testing approaches, methods, tools and more to ensure the probability of the defects or any other risk is minimum.
- Test Monitoring: The major objective of test monitoring during the process of test management is to offer visibility into the testing activities and to give a credible feedback, which can be collected either manually or automatically and then used for measuring the exit criteria.
- Test Reporting & Control:
- Test Control: Refers to any guiding and improvement actions taken in regard to the gathered and recorded information. These make decision based on the metrics of test monitoring and and can affect the testing activities.
- Test Reporting: The focus here is to summarize the whole testing procedure including the details about detected defects and the ways of tackling the various issues. This is mainly used to determine the progress of testing.
- Test Summary Report: Created after the commencement of test monitoring and controlling, this consists of all the necessary details about the testing process. From the tested metrics to the ways of testing, every minute detail about the process is recorded here.
Configuration Management: This establishes and maintains the integrity of the products and ensures that all the items of testware are identified, version controlled, tracked for changes, and related to each other. The main objective of this stage of test management process is to verify that system is performing as it is intended to and is documenting functional capabilities and interdependencies.
Incident Management: The last stage of test management process, incident management is the process of identifying, analyzing and correcting hazards by the organization to prevent future occurrence of a similar problem. These if not tackled, can lead to a huge disaster and can disrupt business operations.
- Risk Probability/Likelihood & Impact: To ensure minimum probability and impact of various testing risks, the risk management is implemented by the management team. Here, the team considers all the possible risks and take precautions to tackle them.
- Project & Product Risks: To ensure the success of the software product, project and product risks are identify, understood and mitigated. Delays in testing and fixing of bugs, unavailability of test environment, lack of system domain, and other software and system risks, which can impact the quality of the product and user experience.
- Risks Based Testing Approach: Here, the team decides on various approaches that can simplify the process of testing as well as reduced the probability of risk in the system. This includes risk analysis, response planning, scope changes, reviewing documents, risk data quality assessment, etc.
- Incident Management & Logging: The aim here is to log and record all the incidents that can impact business operations as well as prohibit users from getting optimum services. Therefore, every incident is logged along with exact date and time of occurence, a small description, and more.
- Test Incident Report: Here all the deviations and variations observed in the software behaviour are reported. Furthermore, all the defects and bugs found during the process of testing are also included with details about their severity, priority, ways of resolving them, and more.
Best Practices of Test Management:
Implementing test management during the process of testing is a necessary and important task. It allows one to monitor the whole testing procedure as well as helps them take actions which can promote the quality of testing. However, to further improve the effectiveness of test management, it is vital for the team to adopt some practises, which can make the process of management, planning, monitoring, and reporting easy and hassle free. Therefore, provided here is a list of some of the best practises of test management:
- Start test management activities early.
- The process of software testing should be iterative.
- Testers should reuse test artifacts as it improves the efficiency of testing.
- Utilize requirement based testing.
- Automate to save time.
- Coordinate and integrate with the development team.
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Test Management Tools:
Whether someone wants to track or monitor the process of testing, or wants to identify, understand and mitigate defects from the software product, whatever may be the case, using test management tool is extremely important. These tools can perform several tasks simultaneously and are extremely helpful, as they simplify the process of test management. So, to help you find the best test management tool, here is a list of some of the most popular test management tools.
- qTest: The best test management tool used by agile testing team, qTest provides easy to learn, easy to use, and scalable test management solutions, which allow easy centralization, organization, and helps in making the process of test management speedy.
- PractiTest: A flexible and innovative test management tool that offer impeccable customization and seamless integration. Visualize your data using the most advanced dashboards and reports.
- QAComplete: This is a comprehensive test management tool with enterprise level capabilities. It is extremely easy to use and offers ultimate flexibility to revolutionize your team quality assurance strategies.
- Meliora Testlab: A powerful test management tool with ALM features. This tool offers excellent assistance during software designing and testing phase and is extremely easy to use. With Meliora TestLab plan, track, and proactively manage manual, automated, and API tests in one repository to mitigate risks.
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Effective test management is a critical part of developing a scalable and quality software product. With the assistance of well planned and well managed testing process, one can effortlessly create a product with remarkable features, quality, functionality, reliability, security and more. Test management has become an essential part of software development life cycle (SDLC), which can be implemented either manually or with the assistance of test management tools. Therefore, if you want to ensure the quality and effectiveness of your testing process, test management is the best option for you.