Originally published January 18, 2018, updated January 5, 2021
Every software development project requires a well-developed test management process, and every test management process requires the right tools. Sure, we can start with simple and informal spreadsheets as our testing command center. But as your software grows, we will need a more mature process as well as more advanced tools to build it. There are so many great solutions designed for test management that decisions on which one to acquire for our process can become challenging. And if we decide to use Jira as our project management tool, things get even more complicated. Still, testing in Jira is definitely a good idea, so it’s worth considering this solution. In this article, we would like to share everything we’ve learned about efficient software testing in Jira.
Different ways, different tools
There are numerous available testing tools to choose from. Before deciding which one would work best for us, first we have to find out which method we will follow in testing. Since we’re already using Jira, we can take one of these three paths:
- Standalone testing solution – we purchase specific software dedicated for test management. This path will require user training and might become a bit time-consuming, but it should also offer greater flexibility when it comes to choosing from available tools.
- Jira out of the box – do not adapt any new tools to your instance, but instead focus on customizing Jira to make it into a test management tool, on our own or with the help of the Jira administrator. The users won’t require extra training, because Jira is a familiar environment. We can transform Jira into a testing platform, but be aware that it will always have its limitations.
- Jira paired with a test management app – we can extend your Jira functionality with a dedicated app from the Atlassian Marketplace. That way, our instance will be better adjusted to testing activities.
Each method listed above can become a smashing success or total failure. In the end, it all depends on the project, organization specifics, and many other factors. Even the spreadsheets we mentioned before can become a suitable solution for very basic implementation of the testing process, but it’s definitely a good idea to find something a bit more advanced for a growing project in order to aim higher and always be prepared for constant development. So let’s take a closer look at each of these solutions to help you see which one works best for your needs.
Standalone testing solution
The most common option is investing in software designed particularly for test management with highly specialized functionalities to enable efficient testing. Integration with different issue trackers like Jira is a must-have feature, which allows to incorporate the testing process into our team’s current workflow. If you choose this option, you can expect your tool to be well-suited for different testing tasks. That’s the most valuable advantage of a standalone software solution. The testing process we establish should be fairly easy to achieve, if we pick the right solution.
There are many standalone test management tools on the market, so picking the right one can be difficult. Looking for the most suitable one and browsing through demos, POCs and documentation lectures can be time-consuming. And once we finally make a decision, we’ll have another tool in our set and need to offer the end users a lot of training to learn how to use the solution efficiently. Also, it may take even more time to reach full efficiency while the team is geting accustomed to the tool. In the end, there’s the matter of integration with our current setup as well. Using many different tools might affect global monitoring of your work progress and make keeping the data actual very challenging.
Atlassian’s Jira is a great tool for software project management (and more!). The modification capabilities of this solution are outstanding and allow implementing different processes. Still, Jira is not an all-in-one tool. Using Jira for testing is a smart move, because it will require much less time for the users to get accustomed to it, as we’re not introducing a new piece of software. The user interface and core functionalities are familiar to users, so there’s no need for extra training for the tool. Just configure your project, explain the process to the team, and we’re good to go.
Even though this is a quick and simple way of setting test management in place, in most cases it’s not going to be enough. Jira doesn’t include dedicated functionalities for creating effective test cases, tracking their execution, or generating dedicated reports. Many test management features need to be implemented as a workaround and that can be quite inconvenient when we’re using Jira for testing on daily basis.
Here’s how you can benefit from using Jira features for managing tests…but not all of them are ready to use out of the box
Jira apps for test management
Reason 1: Most teams know Jira environment
The overall user experience is one of the most important characteristics of almost any software. The interface quality impacts the time users require to learn the tool and use it with maximum efficiency. Choosing a Jira app for your test management solution ensures that our team continues to work in a familiar environment. If Jira and other Atlassian tools are currently utilized on a daily basis for completing different tasks in our team, an extension of the issue tracker will keep the users comfortable and ready to go. Surely some kind of training will be needed, but it should be fairly simple. The team needs to be aware of the core functionalities the app brings and the test process itself, but that is still just a small part of what needs to be done when we’re introducing an entirely new tool.
Reason 2: Test management can be incorporated into the development process
The main objective of managers who choose a test management solution is verifying its capability to model the test process they are planning to work with. Testing activities demand specific features from the solution. What was a major disadvantage when using pure Jira for test management is now brought to the table by the dedicated apps. The Atlassian Marketplace is the right place to look for apps, and we can be sure to find at least a few great ones that were designed for test management. Of course each solution is different, and we need to decide which one will suit us best, but we can be sure to find basic testing functionalities in every app. We’ll be able to create effective test cases, plan testing cycles, report on progress, perform transparent defect tracking, and more.
Reason 3: You and your team benefit from using built-in Jira features
One of the most important pros for using Jira apps is that they integrate with Jira environment itself and all its features. Most of the time, we can use the rich set of modification options to enhance your testing experience. Jira is an advanced issue tracking solution that offers users a wide range of options for customizing the way it operates. If the app is heavily based on Jira issue types, bear in mind that we can create your own custom fields to store additional data or configure the workflow including all its mechanisms (conditions, post functions, etc.). Other apps add their own modules or views to the project. If that’s the case for your choice, it’s worth a while to verify if it is well integrated with Jira interface. By making sure it’s possible to track relations between testing objects and Jira issues, we succesfully bring the whole project into one tool and build a continuous process clear for all the stakeholders. Later on, to improve our test results reporting, we can configure a dashboard with gadgets of our choice and set up permission and notification schemes for better control of our project. This is just a tiny part of Jira feature set that can be used for enhancing test management.
Reason 4: Seamless integration clarifies relations between objects
In the end, there is always the matter of integration between various tools our team uses for performing different tasks. The more tools are there in our setup, the more complicated the work becomes. Dealing with different interfaces, various sources of data, separate maintenance processes, and methods of carrying out the integration can become quite problematic. Extending Jira with an app guarantees the best integration. We have one point of management for both project tracking and testing activities. This is a great advantage, since we keep all the data in one place and there is no need to switch tools for performing different tasks, be it daily work or technical, maintenance tasks.
Modern test management is a critical process for developing software products, and keeping all testing activities organized requires a well-suited and robust tool. When choosing a testing solution, be prepared that there is a wide range of tools on the market. If we are using Jira for project tracking, we should definitely consider extending it with a test management app from the Atlassian Marketplace. It is a great way to get the testing process running while keeping all essential information in one place.
Our apps, TestFLO for Jira Server and Data Center or Requirements and Test Management for Jira (RTM), allow us to do just that – and much more. These smart tools support executing the whole testing process right inside your Atlassian suite. Choose the one compatible with your hosting option and take a free 30-day trial from the Atlassian Marketplace.
If you would like to know more about how our apps can empower your test management process, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about RTM. We also invite you to read on about test management in Jira on our blog:
Test specialist, TestFLO Product Owner, Jira enthusiast. With a few years of experience in testing and Atlassian environment, he strongly believes that Jira combined with other Atlassian tools is a great place to design almost every process, not only test management. After hours a big fan of speedway and board games, also a homebrewer.