Your software application can only be as strong as the team that brings it to market. The strength of that team - or lack of - is shown based on the quality delivered to your consumers.
Often, a decrease in software quality is the result of a disconnect between teams, be it through recurring miscommunication or team silos. When software development and QA teams don’t collaborate, it impacts more than the quality of your product - consumer complaints surge as revenue declines.
This often happens when teams need a better support system that encourages cross-collaboration and team communication. That’s why many successful companies choose collaboration software applications designed to unite teams in the goal of deploying high quality to customers.
But, selecting a QA collaboration tool is not a straightforward process. Many questions must first be addressed before you can select a QA collaboration tool that’s right for your team. This guide aims to answer the most common questions that arise during this decision-making process, including:
- What is a collaborative productivity application?
- What software application is considered a collaborative productivity application?
- Which criteria is most important in a QA collaboration tool?
- Which software collaboration tools are highly recommended?
What are QA Collaboration Tools?
Collaboration software applications are tools designed to support all collaboration needs during the software quality process, from test case management and defect tracking to document storage and communication programs. The purpose of a collaborative productivity application is to bring QA and software development teams together through a central location in order to share ideas, communicate clearly and reach team goals promptly and efficiently.
How QA Collaboration Applications Impact Software & QA Teams
Not having a business collaboration platform in place can negatively impact your development cycle rather quickly. These are just some of the symptoms of not having collaboration application software in place - or an ineffective one:
- Communication silos that lead to a redundancy of work and blockage of idea sharing
- Clumsy handoffs between software and QA teams without insight on necessary information
- Late deliverables due to process inefficiencies
- Too much time determining who is responsible for which tasks
- Too many emails to read, reply to and search through for needed information
- Too many consumer complaints due to product instability after deployment
Fortunately, collaboration software applications are intended to unite software and QA teams during the development cycle. Strong collaboration applications are intended to alleviate these challenges:
Process: Software and QA teams need a defined process that’s understood and practiced by all. With a QA collaboration tool, teams can create a well-structured process that leads to efficiency and predictability. Collaboration programs can also apply project estimators to predict defect rates and project time estimates for future development cycles.
Communication: Time is everything during the development cycle and shouldn’t be spent resolving issues about misunderstood requirements, missed deadlines and false status updates. A business collaboration platform provides a forum for all QA and software team members to communicate clearly and keep everyone informed at the same time, regardless of location or time zone. That way, both teams can coordinate efforts more effectively so that high-quality software is delivered on time and on budget.
Trackability: A robust reporting tool can alert project managers on resource needs, development roadblocks, and the pace of the project. Collaboration application software can provide accurate, real-time status reports so that decision-makers can act where necessary and project managers can reallocate tasks and mitigate risks. With instant access to these metrics, both teams are more empowered to take on more ownership of the project and reach defined goals.
Criteria When Choosing a QA Collaboration Tool
Before reviewing your business collaboration platform options, first assess the needs of your organization alongside your budget and time for implementation. That way, your team can select the right collaboration software applications based on what’s best for your development cycle, your teams and your product. Consider these testing tips for collaboration applications as well as the following factors when assessing your collaboration application software options:
- Cost: Is pricing based on user licensing or subscription over time? Are there additional fees? Are there any costs associated with implementation, transferring existing data, internal training and hardware/software?
- Support services: Is support included within your subscription? What is included in any support fees or maintenance fees? Are support services available 24/7? What communication tools are provided? How easy is it to connect with their support team? How quickly can their support services escalate an emergency?
- Security measures: How do the collaboration programs keep your data secure? Do the tools allow multi-factor authorization and SSO? Is encryption enabled for data sharing? Are security configurations available to customize user access permissions?
- Requirements management: Does the business collaboration platform offer a central repository for users to add and edit requirements? Does the system support a definitions process for requirements? Can requirements be assigned directly to team members? Can requirements be tracked during a project?
- Test case management: How much detail does the collaboration application software allow for test cases? Can test cases be assigned to specific team members for either execution or maintenance? What status levels are supported within the tool? Can defect records be automatically generated based on status? Can test cases be frequently updated? Are test cases easily trackable?
- Integration options: Are the collaboration applications compatible with your product? Can the tool easily integrate with your third-party applications? How much assistance is needed to integrate all tools? How does the vendor solve these common collaboration software integration challenges?
- Reporting capabilities: What metrics does the tool measure? How relevant is the data collected to your development cycle and company leadership? Do the collaboration software applications allow users to create custom reports? How easy is it to share reports?
- Document repository: How much storage is provided within the collaboration programs? How easy is it to share, access and maintain documentation within the tool? How do users know they have the most up-to-date documents?
Recommended Software Collaboration Tools
A software application that is considered a collaborative productivity application supports all communication and collaboration needs of your development cycle, from software development to QA analysis. Effective automation for collaboration applications can further streamline your workflow and maintain test data. We recommend that you consider these collaboration software applications when selecting a QA collaboration tool for your team:
- Asana: This cloud-based platform allows your QA team to log test cases from anywhere. Project data is easily accessible through a three-paneled dashboard. Product owners can access all data, as much as all project information within your organization or as little as which team member is assigned which task.
- Trello: Users can organize their projects through cards on this cloud-based platform. Cards can be added, updated, removed and shuffled around based on project needs. Cards are then organized into columns on this online dashboard that showcase different phases of the project.
- Proofhub: This collaboration tool is designed to serve all project management needs. Kanban boards feature every task divided into various stages with clear assignment of roles and responsibilities so that team members are notified only when further action is needed. Gantt charts provide a timeline view of project planning and progression, allowing project managers and collaborators to spot bottlenecks and improve efficiency.
- Jira: Many businesses enjoy this package tool that allows users to create tasks and assign them to team members based on category and priority. Jira features a customizable scrum board, work progress reports and a backlog repository.
- Glip: This QA collaboration tool can support messaging, group video chat and task management for DevOps teams. Users can attach files and images as well as add comments to these attachments. @mentions allow users to assign specific challenges to an expert team member.