IT Management Articles

Testing in the Cloud — Review of SpiraTest, a Cloud-Based Test Management Suite

by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 22 May 2012

The problem with test solutions in the market is that they are piecemeal. Thus, you need to invest and spend on several test suites for each testing phase.

This week we will look at a solution that enables you to streamlines and integrates multiple test phases into one application and combines it with the power of SaaS.

This week we will review SpiraTest - a cloud-based test management suite. We will look at its features, interface and see how it can be of use to you.

Creating A Test Solution

Adam Sandman,a sales director at Inflectra, says the solution was designed to address project owner frustrations for affordable solutions to manage project requirements, testing activities and bugs. "Whilst there were expensive solutions that provided such functionality for smaller companies, there were no integrated solutions," he says. "Most smaller companies ended up having to integrate multiple different tools themselves or just use Excel sheet/Word documents to manage information,".

Adam explains that SpiraTest is an integrated web-based application that enables companies to store, manage and track all its project requirements, build a test plan to test all those requirements, and enable testers to login and perform their test activities. Because the testing process is closely linked to validating requirements, testing developed features and generating bugs, the solution has a broad focus. Adam tells it in terms of a linked process. "Without the test information, managing requirements is of less value and without linked requirements, how do you know which tests are most important," he says. "Without tests linked to bugs, how do you prevent a bug from recurring in the future."He frames the applications' utility to development firms in terms of specific questions. For example, he says the solution helps teams answer whether all requirements have been tested and determine time frames required to complete requirements and resolve bugs.

Solving The Test Problem

As I mentioned earlier, the aim of the solution is to provide a complete a test management suite. The solution does this by taking a holistic approach that comprises multiple entities critical to the testing process such as requirements, test coverage, test sets, test mapping, tasks, and test runs. At the same time, the solution takes test management from personal to the project level. Thus, you can see personal work items as well as project work items. In addition, the solution provides a 360 degree view of the project enabling you to track projects from the planning to test phases.

What's more, you can also integrate news feeds from project management and testing news sites or blogs for added info. The workflow for the solution mirrors a typical test case management scenario. Thus, it begins with entering requirement matrices, developing test cases and grouping tests into test sets so that they can be assigned to users in batches for execution and tracking.He recommends that small firms use the custom property administration screens as well as custom workflow screens. "Beyond that it can be extended using an SDK that allows companies to write plugins," he says.

Testing The Test Interface

The interface consists of five tabs that enable you to track personal and project parameters. Thus, the My Page tab contains widgets specifically for personal workflow items such as tickets assigned to you and news feeds you subscribe to. Similarly, the Planning, Testing, and Reporting tabs consist of widgets that enable you to track tasks associated with these activities. The good part is that you can move and reposition widgets in each screen.

Is Testing Worth It ?

One of my concerns about the solution was regarding its features. Generally, cloud-based solutions tend to scrimp on features to make their services cost-effective. However, Adam assured me that this was not the case with SpiraTest. He says the solution offers a functionality breadth that is identical on-premise solutions. To illustrate this last point, SpiraTest is available as on-premise solution as well, with identical functionality. "SpiraTest has the ability to handle a wide array of testing tasks, including software and hardware testing," he says. "It also has an add-on called RemoteLaunch that can be used to schedule, launch and manage automated testing as well as manual testing." Given this statement, I would highly recommend this solution.

Why, you ask? For the simple reason that SpiraTest makes testing mobile. Of all the SDLC activities, is a highly distributed activity that is most amenable to the cloud. It requires specific artifacts and tools; the rest of the process can be performed practically anywhere. What's more you can integrate the tool with other products from the same company such as SpiraTeam to configure a complete Agile solution, Rapise to provide cost-effective windows/web test automation, or KronoDesk to include help desk management.

Pricing A Test Solution

Pricing for SpiraTest is based on the number of users configured in the solution. Thus, you can add or subtract the number of users based on ranges offered in the solution. Similarly, support is also based on the number of users configured in the system.

Is It For You?

If you like solutions that make your employees mobile and reduce costs, then this test management solution is definitely for you. Several possibilities suggest themselves when you consider this solution, including a mobile workforce and distributed teams.


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