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Is MTM an effective software testing tool?

As a software testing tool, options abound with MTM, if you're willing to create custom code. If not, find out how to manipulate the folder structure.

Microsoft Test Manager (MTM) can be a useful software testing tool. However, it's not always accommodating if a quality assurance (QA) group doesn't create the builds in the manner MTM prefers. Staying within the lines is awkward and rather difficult without custom code work. So, how can a QA group use MTM to manipulate the folder structure and create and manage test cases?

The software testing tool's lab setup is more powerful and complex than necessary, unless you set up test servers on virtual machines (VMs). If you don't create test environments that way, it's more feasible to set up test suites in the plan and test tabs. With MTM you create test plans per release, as well as a home storage or test library as separate test plans. The test library is the test storage location where all your regression and smoke testing collections are stored.

Within the library, you create suites of tests for both smoke testing and regression. The tests are identified by being part of the suite and by the use of the tagging feature. MTM tags make it simpler to use queries to find work items. By querying tag names, you can create fresh test case suites for smoke and regression testing quickly.

The next step is to organize all your test cases into logical functional chunks or groups. Each logical functional group has its own suite and contains additional sub-suites as needed. The goal is to keep function-specific tests together in an easy-to-locate pattern. By using functional folders, it's clear where tests are to be stored or where to pull specific functional tests from.

One issue or advantage of the software testing tool, depending on how your tests are used, is that it tracks tests by a unique ID. This ID lets testers update a test case one time and the update is automatic regardless of location. Think about that for a moment. If you've copied a test case with ID = 12345 into multiple functional folders and someone changes or edits the test, the test is edited wherever it is stored. The problem is that a test may be edited to fit a particular area function. To avoid changing or editing tests that need to be unique, be sure to use the copy icon to copy the test case first. MTM will create a unique ID and the test case can be reused without changes affecting the original test.

Next Steps

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