A Simpler Way to Rate Software QA Testing Tools?

Posted on Aug 30, 2012 in blogTestingTools

As software quality assurance testers, we’re blessed to have so many resources at our disposal. Whereas in the physical world, value comes from scarcity, the digital world places value on abundance.

But this cornucopia of options comes at a price. How do you select the best software quality assurance testing tools (or combination of tools) in a sea of choices?

The problems don’t stop there either.

In one of those “who guards the guards” conundrums, we actually face a very difficult challenge. To guarantee the quality of the products we test, we must make sure that our own tools are of the highest quality possible.

And the challenges continue….

Unlike with diamonds or even computers, quality is an elusive and quickly moving target in the world of software QA testing:

  • Updates happen far too frequently
  • New applications emerge daily
  • Consumer tastes change overnight

Even the most objective online reviews of software testing tools are only as good as the timing of your search query. A day or so after the fact, and you’re literally reading about yesterday’s champions.

Just so we’re clear – reviews are still very important. What others have to say about yesterday’s software QA testing tools is a pretty good indicator of how those tools will hold up in tomorrow’s climate.

But still, it’s an imperfect system. A 28K diamond will always be a 28K diamond. Not so with software quality assurance testing. DeBeers has it easy.

Let Experience Be Your Guide When Selecting Software QA Testing Tools

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that cost was not a factor, and you could try every software testing platform on the market, risk-free. Using such a system, picking “quality” would be easy (albeit time-consuming).

Under these conditions, what variables might go into your decision-making? You have an entire sea of options from which to choose, and you can draft up your own feature wish list without even taking out your wallet.

I imagine that everyone’s wish list would be slightly different – a reflection of the unique challenges we face. But we can ballpark a few “must-haves” that are common to most software testers out there. This helps us narrow down a sea of potential candidates to a more manageable bunch.

Is This Software QA Testing Platform the Right Tool for the Job?

This is actually a very common dilemma. You spend a fortune on a great platform, only to discover that it doesn’t play nicely with your other toys.

There’s little value in having a great tool if it’s the wrong one. The iPad is vastly superior to your average can opener… except when doomsday comes and you’re surrounded by a bunch of cans you can’t open.

An absurd an example, but it highlights my larger point. You need software quality assurance testing that can “open” whatever you need opened.

If you work in a variety of different coding environments (don’t we all), you have two basic options:

  • Buy as many individual software QA testing tools as you need to service the different requirements of each environment
  • Use an interoperable platform that is flexible enough to expand with your needs

As a matter of practicality, most prefer the latter. Although admittedly, finding software quality testing platforms that play nicely with every system out there can be a challenge.

At Testuff, even we run into obstacles.

Don’t get me wrong. Integration with 24 separate trackers and 7 different automation tools is no small feat – especially when servicing both Mac and PC clients. But our resources are limited, meaning we can’t service every platform on the market. We have to prioritize and go after only the most popular tools.

It’s a constant balancing act.

But interoperability is just one indicator of quality. Let’s look at another.

It’s the Right Software QA Testing Tool. But Can It Do the Job?

In my mind, how well a tool performs is the hallmark of quality. But what does it take to get the job done when testing software?

Certainly accuracy and reporting are critical. If you can’t catch bugs or accurately document needed changes, it’s not a tool worth having.

You could of course try every product on the market one at a time, but simple telltale indicators can help you pare down the list much faster.

For example, how frequently is the software updated and how well documented is the versioning history? Anything less frequent than once a month instantly disqualifies a candidate in my book.

And let’s be clear – this is not self-promotion. True, Testuff has an excellent track record for updates. But I can’t imagine any self-respecting software QA tester ever embracing a platform that doesn’t stay abreast of changes on a regular basis.

The margins for error are simply too slim. The competition is too strong.

Stay Tuned for More Software Quality Assurance Testing Tips

In this post, we tackled the two biggest criteria for selecting quality assurance testing services:

  1. Is the tool the right one for the job?
  2. Assuming it is, can it get the job done?

In the coming weeks, we’ll explore some other features you need to keep in mind when selecting the best software QA testing tools for your needs.

But before I go, one parting self-promotional shot.

Remember when I said we’d pretend that cost wasn’t a factor and you can try out as many tools as you wanted without taking out your wallet?

Well, with Testuff, you can actually try it out – for free. No credit card information required.