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The Future of Testing: Quality Center vs Team Foundation Server

An overview of the benefits of Quality Center against Team Foundation Server

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I have recently surpassed a milestone of helping over 100 companies migrate and implement Team Foundation Server to become the backbone of their Application Lifecycle Management.

Through this work, I have come to an analogy that “testing is like the nail holding a picture on the wall.” It is this nail which prevents the picture from falling to the ground; however, it is the wall that holds the nail in place. Some nails hold the picture up for years and some for only days; thus, the strength and composition of the wall becomes very important to the picture. In this analogy, the picture is Development, Testing the nail and Tools determine the strength of the wall.

We need a solid structure to hang all our work, which means our tools and process must be solid and complete. Over the years, I have learned that a great development team needs exceptional testers, and exceptional testers need a very good tool to manage their work and relationship with their developers.

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A couple of years ago when speaking with software development teams, I noticed that testing was not part of the whole process. There were the Customers, Products, Designs and Development, and then after they were done building they would throw it over to Testing. Naively, Testing wasn't part of this process and some people said not even part of the same software team.

Over the years more and more software development teams understand the importance of testing being a part of the whole process in order to improve the product quality. With that approach, the Testers searched for ways to improve the quality assurance of their product. The first thing they found was a Tool, a tool to help them manage their Defects, Test Plans, Test Cases, Test Results and more – A true tool instead of Excel and Word.

One of the most popular Testing Tools in the market today is – Quality Center from HP. Over the past couple of years there wasn't a real competitor for Quality Center as a Testing Platform. It worked well and met the needs of the test team. When working with Quality Center, Testers were able to manage their Project Requirements, Releases, Create Converge between Requirements and Test Cases, manage Test Run, and generate testing reports and more. For many testers, Quality Center is the only tool available for managing the full testing process.

The BIG problem with Quality Center is: It's just a tool for Testers and not for the entire team. Even if Quality Center allows Product Manager to manage Requirements, Product Managers wants to work with Word Documents or their own tools so the Testers are those who are entering the Requirements into Quality Center and someone needs to sync between the Product Documents and Quality Center. Unfortunately, something bad always seems to be happening at this point and broader team stops managing Requirements in Quality Center. Even if Quality Center allows you to manage Defects, Developers are working on a different environment (Eclipse, Visual Studio etc.) and don't want to use other tools that have no relation and connection to the Developer work. Above of all that, a developer wants to attach their work to the Defect so, in the future, they will be able to see what code they wrote to fix that Defect.

The key for good software development process is collaboration through Integration with team members and the tools they use to do their primary job.

Product Managers, Developers and Testers are part of the same Team and the same Process. In order to improve product quality, they all need to work together and share information easily and quickly. The question is how to apply integration inside the team? What if we all worked with the same tool? Then it becomes very easy to share information across the entire team. But what tool is good enough for Product and Developers and Testers?

None – there is not one tool for all teams. However, now, there are a set of tools, under one unified platform, that is optimized for each team.

Team Foundation Server – This is a suite of development tools all within a single platform
The idea of one platform for the entire team is brilliant. Microsoft created tools for each individual position on the team; there are tools for Requirements Management, design tools for Architects, Developer tools and of course testing tools ranging from manual test to automation and load testing. All is this is now under one platform. When the entire team works on the same platform the collaboration and integration become easy and fluent, collecting data to generate reports no longer needs to take a lot of time. The team’s efforts are now integrated as part of the platform. Synchronizing between different tools is no longer necessary because all are working together in one place.

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Is TFS really better for Testers?

The First question I hear a lot when talking about TFS 2010 is "does TFS have a good tool for Testers?"

My answer without hesitation is Yes! My clients have found Microsoft Test Manager (MTM module in TFS) is even better for manual and automated Testers than QC. Microsoft changed the concept of Testing with TFS 2010, they introduced major features for testers that saves time, effort, money and frustration. Here are several features in MTM that I find most valuable:

  • Defining your testing effort: You can create test plans, test suites, test configurations, and test cases to define the testing required. You specify which test suites must runs using which test configuration. These testing artifacts are part of your team project. You can then select the tests you want to run from the test plan.
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  • Collect diagnostic data or impact your system when testing and easily add collected data to a bug: When you run a manual test, you can optionally make a video recording of the test case or record the actions to a log file or create an action recording. You can add comments, screenshots, and other files as you run the test.

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  • Record manual test steps for playback: You can create recordings of actions you perform for a manual test case. You can play back this action recording to fast forward to a particular step in a manual test to verify a bug has been fixed, or you can use it to fast forward to save you time when you run a test, the best part is you don't need to write even one line of code.
  • Creating the environments you need to use for your testing: You can create both physical and virtual environments that define the set of roles required to run a specific application and the machines to be used for each role. Physical environments use test agent controllers associated with your Team Foundation Server and test agents to run your tests remotely and collect data.
  • Finding tests to rerun based on code changes: You can compare builds to view which tests are recommended to be rerun, based on changes to your application under test.
  • View reports to help you track your testing progress: You can view reports on your test case readiness and the testing progress for your test plan.
  • Test application performance and stress: You can use load tests to determine how well your application responds to various levels of usage.

How do I migrate from QC to TFS?

The Second question I hear after the Testers wants to move to Microsoft Test Manger is how to move all our data from Quality Center to Microsoft Test Manager?

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Even that Microsoft Test Manager is part of a platform and all our team is using TFS and there are very cool features in Microsoft Test Manager we can't throw away all the data from Quality Center, for that Sela Group has develop a unique migration tool to migrate Quality Center Data into TFS 2010.

There is a power tool, SCRAT that converts and migrates all of your HP Quality Center™ projects and items over to Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010™. The migration is quick, easy and a safe process that completes in just a few hours. Contrary to the manual migration traditionally employed by organizations, Scrat fully automates the process so there is no room for human errors.

Scrat puts the control in your hands. Through an easy to manage wizard, the entire process is fully customizable. You decide how, to what extent and where to migrate your projects. All of the QC elements (Requirements, Bugs, Test Cases, Attachments and Links between items) are accurately migrated to the TFS 2010™ including their interrelationships and links.

Summary – TFS is a strong tool for Testers

  • Mature tools within the TFS suite to improve testing and team connection.
  • Moving data from Quality Center to TFS is easy with SCRAT.
  • MTM within TFS is a complete Suite for Testers from Manual to Automate to Load Testing.
  • No More “No Repro” using diagnostic data and advanced features from MTM.
  • Free self-paced TFS training is now available to help your new employees get ramped up.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

Shai Raiten
Architect Sela
Israel Israel
Shai Raiten is VS ALM MVP, currently working for Sela Group as a ALM senior consultant and trainer specializes in Microsoft technologies especially Team System and .NET technology. He is currently consulting in various enterprises in Israel, planning and analysis Load and performance problems using Team System, building Team System customizations and adjusts ALM processes for enterprises. Shai is known as one of the top Team System experts in Israel. He conducts lectures and workshops for developers\QA and enterprises who want to specialize in Team System.
 
My Blog: http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/shair/
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Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralNot as good as it sounds? PinmemberFerocit23-Jan-12 22:44 
GeneralRe: Not as good as it sounds? PinmvpShai Raiten24-Jan-12 2:12 
GeneralNot as good as it sounds? The next releases will tell! PinmemberMihai Iuga29-May-12 3:41 

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