4 Signs It Is Time to Reevaluate Your Testing Tool
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to software testing. The methods, tools, and devtest and QA teams that your organization uses will vary greatly depending on what type of app you're testing (e.g., native, web or hybrid, or desktop or mobile), what kind of culture your organization has in place (agile or waterfall), what sort of budget you have for test management software, cloud infrastructure, etc., and how many employees you have and the extent of their other commitments in the company.
Regardless of how you approach software testing at your organization, it is always possible that your practices could eventually become a burden to your team. Maybe your test cycles end up taking forever to finish, or you have to constantly make manual adjustments to what is normally an "automated" set of processes.
When this happens, you may be tempted to blame the testers themselves or to chalk things up to rapidly shifting business requirements, compounded by the effects of organizational bureaucracy. You may be correct in some cases, but it is worth also considering if your testing tools are the real bottlenecks. Here are some signs to look for as you reevaluate your test software and consider possible replacements:
1) It is becoming too expensive to maintain your testing platform.
Software tools, whether cloud-based or run on-premises, can become costly over time. Even with an affordable license, the price of the various add-ons, extra features, and protocols you might think you need can quickly push the cost of a load testing solution through the roof.
À la carte features can be pricey. Another issue is license sprawl: You may need to grant access not only to developers and QA analysts but also to miscellaneous DevOps teams. Virtual user licenses may also spiral out of control as you look to test your system under increasingly large loads.
2) You are always running back to tech support for help.
A software vendor is there to help with any questions you have about your testing tool and to walk you through any problematic glitches. However, it could be that the constant back-and-forth actually indicates that it is the tool itself, not you and your team, that is at fault.
In addition, pay attention to the long term quality of the support you're getting. If you have to wait around to get an answer or regularly get routed through first-level support agents who might not have the expertise to answer your more detailed inquiries, it might be time to move on.
3) Test cycles are becoming long, drawn-out ordeals.
Testers want to be thorough and accurate, but there is a point at which the amount of time they spend—or rather have to spend—becomes less of an asset and more of a liability. There are many causes of protracted test cycles, including errors during regression tests, lack of proper automated checks, and insufficient investment in continuous delivery and separately deployable components.
Many of these practices can be implemented as part of an agile strategy. With test management software in place, manual as well as automated procedures can be supported to reduce your reliance on inefficient per-build regression testing.
"Over time, end-to-end tests tend to take so long as to become unwieldy," wrote Matthew Heusser of Excelon Development in CIO. "Picking the right automated checks to put in place is critical; the goal is to have just enough to reduce risk, run fast and diminish the maintenance burden that comes with keeping the checks up to date."
4) Your testing tool isn't helping you find root causes of problems.
Test case management software should shine a light on what's wrong with a component so that you can fix it before release or in a future update. By extension, it shouldn't make it hard for you to find bottlenecks and similar issues.
This can happen, though, if a testing tool is not well-integrated with other applications. Make sure that you get tools that are both high-performance and well-supported. Integrations and add-ons can make it much easier in the long run to discover, document, and address defects in your software.