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Goodbye MS Word, Hello Rational Quality Manager

Posted by Matt Archer on June 25, 2008

So if you are from the school of thought that says its a good idea to create a documented test plan (similar to that described in the IEEE 829 standard for software testing documentation) then I imagine you write it in MS word. I know I’ve written a few of these in my time (some that I’m not particularly proud of, but that’s another story!) and I’ve read plenty of other people’s as well.

So let’s assume you’re past the discussion about whether a document like this is a good idea on your particular project and focus on whether the vehicle used to host this document can make it more or less beneficial to your project’s success? This is the question that IBM Rational must have asked themselves a number of months ago and decided that, “yes”, it does matter and the best place for it is within IBM Rational Quality Manager, captured as a collection of configurable test-plan-section-widgets (sorry, that’s the best way I can describe it, I’ll try to dig out a picture and post it so you can see what I mean).

Do I like this idea? Yes and No.

“Yes”, because I can see it reducing the number of times I get annoyed asking for a test plan and then receiving either a massive email attachment that I can’t easily download on the move or a response of “let me send you a copy later, I think Fred has the latest version, but I’m not sure” and then it never arriving. So from a config management, collaborative working, accessibility and backup point of view, it get a thumbs up.

Why “No” then? Because whenever you template anything you restrict thinking and creativity and that’s something you need to have in bucket loads if you want to plan a testing project that finds anything other than the basic bugs. I also like to see a good picture in a test plan (when the occasion requires it) to explain maybe how the app is going to be divided for testing or how different types and levels of test are going to be spread across the life-cycle (for example) and as far as I know you can’t add pictures to your test plan in RQM, only words (don’t hold me to this one, I’ll let you know for sure after the 7th of July when the open beta is released).

Update: You can add atachments to a Test Plan in RPM, so I’ll stick my pictures there 🙂

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