Because Jira fits the Agile workflow so perfectly, many teams are tempted to use Jira for managing software testing as well. But Jira test management capabilities are limited — the platform simply isn’t built to streamline software testing workflows. For teams that want an alternative to Jira test management, there are options for add-ons and for dedicated test management tools that can be integrated with the Jira platform.
What do test management tools do?
Test management tools have very specific functions that help accelerate the pace of, and improve the accuracy of, testing. These testing tools must be able to:
- Organize test scenarios, test cases, and test scripts
- Prioritize tests based on the impact and probability of potential risks
- Manage reporting for regulatory compliance
- Map software requirements to testing scenarios and test cases
- Monitor and communicate about test case status
- Track the progress of hundreds or thousands of test runs, including tracing issues, verifying bug fixes, and recording successful tests
- Assign and track tasks across the testing team
- Generate reports about findings of tests
- Maintain a test history
- Reduce data duplication
- Facilitate collaboration and communication between stakeholders around findings of tests
The disadvantages of Jira test management
For all its features and benefits, Jira presents some significant obstacles for development teams seeking a test management solution.
- Lacking test management features. While Jira can be customized to manage certain aspects of test management, the platform has no native capabilities that can streamline test case management. Jira can’t create a test case coverage report that covers manual, automatic, and session-based execution. Nor can it report on traceability between issues and test case coverage. And Jira has significant limitations around test cycle and suite execution, test step execution status, version control, and environment configuration.
- Inefficiency. Setting up test cases and recording results in Jira requires more steps than in a typical test management tool. As a result, working with Jira test case management is more time consuming than using a purpose-built test management application.
- Inability to scale. Test management tools must frequently handle thousands of tests simultaneously and track the history of tens of thousands more. When scaling to accommodate testing at this level, Jira can experience significant performance issues.
- No automatic execution. Jira test management provides no way to initiate automated tests from within the platform.
- Workflow issues. The completion of every Jira issue workflow results in a “Done” status. Yet when a test is finished, it is never truly done. Tests like regression tests may need to be repeated over and over, and testers may wish to appropriate test cases from one piece of software for use in another. However, because Jira issues are always meant to be pushed to “Done,” testers are limited in their flexibility for reusing the issue for testing. The inability to reuse and centralize testing efforts is perhaps the biggest limitation of managing testing with Jira.
Test management with Jira apps and add-ons
Jira offers access to a variety of add-ons that help to extend the functionality of the platform, and some add-ons can improve Jira test management capabilities. Add-ons aggregate groups of testing in Jira to enable testers to pull all test cases into cycles or suites. Add-ons also provide visibility into execution results of test cases for each group. Perhaps the biggest advantage of add-ons is that they enable developers and testers to work with familiar tools and dashboards when managing testing.
However, Jira test management add-ons have certain limitations as well.
- Add-ons inevitably require more manual processes that developers must navigate with a dedicated test management case solution.
- Everything done inside the add-on is limited to a particular project.
- Jira makes it impossible to keep multiple versions of a test case run.
- Jira also makes it hard to reuse test cycles.
- Developers have limited visibility into test execution history and will have unknown change history for test case versions.
- Testers are unable to share test case objects across Jira projects, making it difficult to scale, creating a lot of duplicate work.
- Jira offers limited scalability for storing a high volume of test results data, which can be an issue when transitioning to automated testing.
Integrating Jira with a dedicated test case management tool
A second alternative to Jira test management is to integrate a dedicated test case management tool with the Jira platform. This approach provides access to enterprise test features and the ability to use test case repositories based on templates. With certain tools, testers can also reuse test cases and share objects across different projects while enjoying support for multiple testing strategies.
The disadvantages of this approach include:
- Handling database synchronization between the tool and Jira is a constant and complex task
- Testers must still manage permissions for artifact mapping
- Testers will also need to work around browser restrictions as well as varying degrees of open-source interoperability with various tools
Tricentis qTest Manager: a Jira test management alternative
Tricentis qTest Manager provides the benefits of an enterprise test case management tool using Jira test management. As an end-to-end Continuous Testing platform, Tricentis offers a suite of solutions that provide automated Agile and DevOps testing along with real-time business risk insight across the entire DevOps pipeline.
Tricentis qTest Manager provides real-time integration with Jira releases, issues, and defects. With Tricentis, you can plan, track, and test smarter and faster than ever before with a Jira testing tool built for Agile testing.
Tricentis qTest Manager provides:
- Test automation traceability. Tricentis consolidates all Cucumber automation into one location for enhanced traceability.
- Real-time integration. With Tricentis, data is always up to date — whether it’s requirements, defects, or other Jira issue types.
- Agile planning. The Jira test management capabilities of qTest are deeply integrated with Jira’s sprint planning process. Testers can align tests, user stories, tasks, epics, or custom Jira issue types to ensure coverage.
- Flexible deployments. qTest Manager works with all Jira deployments, including cloud, server, and data center.
- Smart and scalable technology. qTest makes it easy to map test projects to multiple Jira projects and instances.
- Enterprise reporting. Embedded quality metrics simplify reporting and provide certainty as to when issues are ready for production.