I started a new job on March 12, which I am really thrilled about. Let’s just say I wasn’t very happy at the last place where I worked and leave it at that. Anyway, in my new position I’m basically the only tester on an e-commerce application that’s just getting started. I get to determine the testing strategy for the project and use whatever tools, methods, templates, etc. that I want, within reason. I mean I can’t just get them to buy me the full suite of Mercury tools or something, but that’s OK. I think automated testing is a bit overrated anyway. šŸ˜‰

To be honest, I’ve never worked anywhere where they were willing to spring for a full suite of test automation tools. One place I worked had WinRunner, but not Test Director or any of the organizational tools. Another place was talking about getting Test Director and so on, but was focused more on load testing. In my current job we’re going to use open source tools like JMeter for our load testing, but I wanted something for creating and organizing manual test cases as well.

Usually when I write test cases, I just write them in Word. I’ve done it in one large document, and in many smaller documents (one per test case). I’ve also worked with testers who wrote all their test cases in Excel – good for doing mathematical operations and obtaining statistics, but terrible for actual writing and presentation! No matter how I wrote test cases previously, organizing them into logical modules or an order was always a problem. Tracking my progress through test cases and logging my actual effort (which I am VERY big on) was difficult as well. Tools like TaskBlaze, which I blogged about previously, can help.

What I usually do is write test cases in Word, based on requirements, prototypes, and design documents. Then I create another Word document with a big table that lists all the test cases and has spaces to record when they were run and how long it took. I use copies of that table to track my progress as well as record my effort. Sometimes I copy and paste numbers from the log, as well as results from defect tracking, into Excel in order to create charts and graphs. Overall, very unwieldy.

On my new project I’m trying out a product from Passmark called TestLog. So far I really like it, especially considering the very reasonable price (only $99 per user). I can create my actual test cases within the tool itself, or I can write them in Word and link to them. I can use the tool to organize them into suites, estimate how long it will take to run them, record the actual running time, keep track of test cases passed/failed/not attempted, and run status and progress reports with graphical charts. All this, plus it integrates with Bugzilla and other bug tracking systems, and will even link to requirements tools for traceability. It’s not perfect, and it’s not that fancy, but I’m finding it very full-featured and useful for such an economical tool. Great for projects with only one or a few testers. With the latest version you can also grant view access via a web interface! Cool. Best of all, Passmark gives you a 90-day evaluation period which is really generous.

Nobody paid me to write this, I just really like this tool a lot. Check it out!


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