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How legacy QA tools are holding you back

It’s time to challenge the testing status quo.

Test management software that comes bundled with an enterprise solution presents obvious obstacles to efficient and comprehensive testing. Dispersed data storage, static interfaces, limited browser support, frequent software crashes and maintenance and customization expense are common roadblocks.

As a growing number of companies adopt Agile and DevOps methodologies, it has become clear that legacy testing solutions are a roadblock to Agile and DevOps transformation success.

Agile’s popularity stems in part from the rapid movement of consumer and business marketplaces to digital communications and transactions. Our economy now requires reliable, defect-free software that delivers a user experience as good as or better than the competition. New solutions, updates and applications emerge faster than ever, and users have little patience for flaws or deficient functionality. Software issues damage corporate operations and supply chain productivity — and even customer relationships.

Legacy testing fails to accommodate new software delivery models

Legacy QA test management tools lack the features required to accommodate modern development and delivery methods. They do not integrate with open-source test automation tools, giving testers limited options for accelerating test cycles and making it impossible to integrate testing into application lifecycle management or continuous delivery pipelines. This means QA teams lack visibility and are not able to test new code as it is written. Development is further delayed when developers cannot quickly access test results and mitigate issues QA has found. As a result, releases are delayed, and quality inevitably suffers.

When testing occurs end of a development sprint, bugs are often embedded in the code, where they are significantly costlier and more time-consuming to correct. As a result, the myth of the QA bottleneck persists. Or worse, the QA process is rushed, and organizations end up with defect-ridden releases that fail to provide the high-quality experiences their customers demand.

In response to marketplace changes, software-led businesses are replacing legacy application lifecycle management tools with agile planning tools like Jira so they can scale agile development. But without an integrated test management solution, they’re unable to track and resolve defects quickly.

Gartner recently changed the way it evaluated application lifecycle management (ALM) tools, renaming the category “enterprise agile planning” to reflect the rise of DevOps and the significant shifts taking place in the market. Gartner defines the updated category as tools that “enable organizations to make use of agile practices at scale to achieve enterprise-class agile development.” As Atlassian notes on its blog, Gartner expects that in the next few years, these next-generation ALM tools will become the foundation of DevOps toolchains. It’s time for organizations to equip testers as they have developers — with full engagement in agile and DevOps processes and tools.

Legacy QA tools impede agile initiatives

For a function with quality in its name, the inability of the QA team to participate in agile and DevOps processes presents a real problem. The team should start testing with the first sprint and work in parallel with development. This allows:

  • early risk management and issue identification before bugs become embedded in the code;
  • open collaboration with development on what to test;
  • seamless communication about issues to the product owner and development, and
  • new value for the business around software innovation.

When testers remain too disconnected, it slows down the software development lifecycle and limits the scalability of agile and DevOps processes. New processes must include insightful decisions about modernizing testing strategies.

It’s time to challenge the testing status quo

Development upgrades are rare for most legacy tools, and they aren’t likely to meet the requirements of agile teams, such as integration with agile planning, test automation and CI/CD pipeline tools. The delay in choosing replacement software makes sense given the perceived difficulty of migrating a bloated test suite, and, unfortunately, the lack of adequate prioritization of testing by executive leadership.

But if testing isn’t connected to agile workflows, no one has the visibility to accurately define bottlenecks in testing activities. They also miss the opportunity for QA to deliver more than the status quo.

Software development has become a highly sought skill — with companies competing aggressively to woo top talent — and testing must be prioritized in kind meet accelerated development cycles and elevated customer expectations. Empower your testers and elevate your tools and processes, and you might be surprised at how quickly you begin making progress toward your transformation goals.

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