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Choosing the right test management tool: A team effort

Agile expert Lisa Crispin recommends that teams collaborate in choosing and implementing the appropriate test management tool. Read this response for insights into how test management tools can facilitate collaboration and enhance team productivity.

Do you believe it’s important for teams to use tools to manage software testing processes? If so, what features do you think are most important?

Cross-functional teams should work together to integrate testing as tightly as possible into the software development process. Using tools aimed specifically at managing software testing processes can get in the way of this. Testers, programmers, product owners and others involved with delivering software need to experiment with different ways to plan, execute and track testing along with coding. Start with the simplest solution you can think of, and add to it as needed, to avoid unnecessary overhead.

If the whole team decides to try using some test management tool, it must be a team decision. For example, the testers on our team wanted to try documenting test cases for each user story or theme with mind maps, but we needed buy-in from the programmers since they use test cases to help them know what code to write.

In my experience, the most important factor is to use tools that encourage collaboration. People in all roles should feel encouraged to work together to try experiments to improve the process. Everyone should feel free to update documentation as needed. Wikis are an example of a lightweight tool that promotes collaboration.

Integrating with other tools and frameworks used by the team may also be important. For example, a continuous build process can bring together many different tools and consolidate things like test results, documentation, and performance metrics all in one location.

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