PractiTest joins Red Hat Innovate!

Last updated: March 01, 2012

redhat-logo-big2We are happy to announce that PractiTest has been selected to participate in Red Hat Innovate.

Red Hat Innovate is a new initiative launched by Red Hat, the world’s leading Open Source Software Company. The initiative aims to assist innovative software development start-ups to build on the power of the open source community.

Red Hat – vote of confidence means a lot to us, and we are very excited to be offered this partnership. This opportunity will help us keep doing what we do best – developing and innovating in the field of software testing.

A quick guide to Agile testing in PractiTest

Last updated: February 01, 2012

More and more teams are switching to Agile development, in order to increase their efficiency and meet the competitive requirements of the field and their users.

Agile software development is very different from more traditional forms of development. As such, it – only logical that adapting an Agile development methodology will require a change in the testing process.

Managing your Agile testing process using PractiTest

Agile testing is a team effort, and therefore requires high-quality communication between team members. Since the testing process may seem less “organized”, it – very important that the relevant information is available to all parties involved. You should always know what should be tested, who – testing what and where everything stands.

Here at PractiTest we are ardent believers of agile development and testing, and we try to design our test management software accordingly. Many of our features can contribute significantly to your agile testing process (as well as make your life a lot easier regardless of your testing methodology). Using Traceabiliy between entities, dynamic views instead of rigid folders, the flexibility of our customization settings, and the graphical information displayed in the Dashboard – your testing process can be more effective than ever before.

User stories

In more traditional testing methods, you would use the Requirements module to define how your system under test (SUT) should work, and what should be tested. In an Agile testing process, you can replace the traditional requirements with user stories – short and precise descriptions of your end users’ needs. You can then organize your User Stories using Custom Views.
userstories

Sharing tests in the test library

In PractiTest you can write and manage your Acceptance Tests (i.e. – tests designed to ensure that your requirements are met) within the Test Library, linking them back to the User Story where they originated.

You can then use the history, comments and notifications features to allow everyone to add their inputs into these tests, and to be informed about any changes made by other users.

You can simply create a test for each User Story, where developers can provide their inputs to testers as they come up with ideas during the design or coding process.

Creating tests sets for each user story

We recommend creating Test Sets for each User Story Independently. These test sets can contain the acceptance tests, functional tests, and any other testing operations needed for a specific User Story. This way you can get a better sense of coverage and completion for each User Story. It is also recommended to use the Tractability function to link between tests and their user stories.

3

Grouping issues based on their target sprint and user story

When you report issues, use custom fields to assign them the sprint in which they should be solved.

Also, in order to have tractability between issues, tests and requirements, you should link your tests to their relevant user stories. You can report issues directly from your test runs (using “fail and issue”), or link the issues back to the tests they originated from, for full tractability.

Using views to organize your issues based on Sprints, Users Stories, Modules, etc.

A good practice is to use the Issues Module not only to report bugs, but also to manage all the tasks of your User Stories and Sprint. Create tasks to keep track of the activities of your project and their individual statuses.

Provide visibility using a Summary Dashboard and additional Dashboards per User Story

You can use the Dashboard to keep your team up to date with the status of the Sprint in general, and of each User Stories in particular.

With the help of the views you have in each of your modules, create one dashboard centralizing all the information for your Sprint, and then create additional dashboard tabs with information for each User Story independently.

Stuff that worked and lessons learned from a Service Outing

Last updated: December 01, 2011

A couple of weeks ago we had a short service outing for PractiTest.

The service was down for about 22 minutes. This was the first time in over 18 months that our service was unavailable for more than a couple of minutes (and even this happened only twice) or as part of a scheduled maintenance.

Even though short outings like this one are common in our Industry (after all there is no system, not even Gmail, that doesn’t have glitches once in a while) we have gone through a serious retrospective analysis of what happened in order to avoid similar issues in the future, and maybe more importantly to respond even faster in the event something like this happens once again.

What went right

Part of our analysis showed that there were many things that worked correctly.

For example:

– We got both SMS messages as well as notification phone calls from our automatic monitoring systems telling us something was wrong with our servers.

– All back-up systems were working correctly (even though we did not really need them because no data was corrupted at any time).

– Our team was aware of the issue even before the first of our users contacted us.

Things to improve

We also detected a couple of things that need to be improved:

1. Because of system security procedures there were only 2 PractiTest employees who could respond and act when issues like this happened. Unfortunately this number seems to be not enough because at the exact time the issue happened one of them was commuting and the other one was also out of the office with a dead smart-phone battery.

To avoid issues like this we provided another employee with access to these servers. We are also creating an internal notification process to make sure that at least one of them is available 24/7 – with more than one way to communicate 🙂

2. Up to last week our internal monitoring system didn’t cover secondary services and one of such services turned to be the culprit. Now we’ll monitor all services, primary and secondary. This means that the monitoring process will give a head’s up before the services reach a dangerous level, so that we have more time to act.

3. One of the things we had already planned to do but may take a couple of sprints to have in place, is the ability to use the Autoscale system provided by Amazon. This will allow our system to automatically scale up in cases when the CPU of any of our services goes over a set threshold.

We already started working on this, but now we increased the development’s priority of it.

4. Last but not least, we want to provide even better visibility and transparency to what is happening in our service. We know that we have the best support and provide almost immediate answers via any of our current communication channels (e.g. Support Site, Skype, email, etc)

But we need to improve the way we broadcast information by being quicker with our twitter updates or by publishing blog posts such as this one faster and closer to the date of the incident.

(*) Just a short note to say that some of our technological plans may change as we have been accepted to be part of the Redhat Innovate program.

As always, we are here to answer any questions you may have about this or any other aspect of our service.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us via support@www.practitest.com.

Happy Holidays!

The PractiTest team.

Alerting before loosing unsaved data, multilists on the dashboard, improved account visibility and more

Last updated: November 30, 2011

Just before the end of the 2011, and maybe as a starting point for 2012, we just released (this last Wednesday) and update to PractiTest with additional features requested by many of you during the last couple of months.

The feature list is extensive, but here is a summary of the highlights:

    • User alert before leaving a page with unsaved data. A simple yet useful reminder for those cases when you “accidentally” left a page with issues or tests and you forgot save your work before hand.
    • Multilist support on the dashboard. This feature will allow you to create graphs and tables also for fields of type multilist, providing enhanced visibility into your project.
      multilist
  • Added instance count field to the Test Set Grid. Similar to the Step Count in the Test Library, providing added visibility into your Test Sets
  • Improved visibility into the users in your account. Showing Account Administrators a list of their users by the projects they are assigned to, and of the projects with all the users in them. This feature also allows you to delete users from all projects simultaneously.
  • Email notification for users when added to a new project. Making sure your users are aware of new assignments or additional projects they can now access via PractiTest.
  • And many additional smaller features and fixes

As always, we invite you to go to our User’s Feedback forum and update us with the features and options you would like to see included in PractiTest. This information is really important to us to make our system better and more aligned with your needs.

From all the PractiTest team and family, we hope you had a pretty cool and fun 2011, and we wish 2012 is you an event better year; a year of happiness, success & fruitful testing!

Improved grid, attachments to steps, fast filters and more

Last updated: October 01, 2011

We’ve been working really hard on the “October-2011” version of PractiTest, that we released this Wednesday (today 🙂 ).

To be honest, we originally aimed to release this update about 6 weeks ago, but the scope of the features kept growing, and it took us more than expected to reach “code freeze”. Eventually, we decided to cut the scope a little and made this release as an opening shot for the next ones to come.

Here are some of the major items we included in this version:

  • Better (ajax) grid in the Issues and Test-Instances. This grid comes with many requested features, such as:
    • Batch edit & batch filter – also to Test-Instances
    • Better and complete batch edit for Issues
    • Batch delete where permitted
    • Column chooser for the Instance Grid -> this means you can choose what columns you want to see in the instance grid, including custom fields
    • and more
      instances_grid1
  • Attachment support for steps – enabling to attachments (or links) to steps, and see them while you run the test.
  • Better history log for step changes
  • Adding comment to the ‘send by email’ feature of the issues
  • a large number of additional improvements and bug fixes
    step_attachments

We already started working on the next version, and always there are many things coming that have been asked for in our User Feedback forum. Still, we ask you to keep telling us what you’d like to see in PractiTest so that we can make the system even better for all of us.

Until next time (hopefully in a shorter time this time around)!

PractiTest product support is getting an upgrade!

Last updated: September 01, 2011

We've been making changes over the last several weeks to better support our customers at PractiTest. As our client-base grow, so do the support requests, and our need for more automation and integration to our workflows.

That’s why we have migrated to new PractiTest help platform (via Assistly). This will make support more efficient. What you can expect is the same level of support, with the following visible changes:

  • All support will be answered right in your inbox.
  • A new knowledge-base, with the same articles you're used to.
  • Later on, an easier ticket submission right from the app instead of opening your email or creating a ticket in the help site.

We are confident this new system will make our excellent support even better.

Radwin: ‘a Top-Notch Test Management Tool’

Last updated: July 31, 2011

PrintWe at PractiTest were very excited to hear what Radwin’s Kfir Hemed had to say about us. Hemed is head of the Verification Unit at Radwin, a world leading communications equipment vendor. His team has been using PractiTest for large scale testing cycles.
In Hemed’s own words:

“I liked the product, the simplicity, the ease of use. I decided to run one set of tests for a month and see how it goes. After the first trial we tested a bigger version, and only after that went smoothly – we moved all of our testing to PractiTest.”

“We never had a system crash or slow down. It – easy to deploy – the logic of the system and the UI are clear – and the learning curve is very quick. This is very beneficial for us because we frequently loan testers from other departments, and they start using PractiTest in no time.”

“The results are effective and better managed testing cycles: accurate planning that is executed on schedule, with clear logging of each and every test, issue and bug. With an average cycle exceeding several hundreds tests – that’s a big advantage.”

Read the full case study here.

Kfir Hemed, Head of the Verification
Unit at Radwin

Radwin: ‘a Top-Notch Test Management Tool’

Last updated: July 31, 2011

PrintWe at PractiTest were very excited to hear what Radwin’s Kfir Hemed had to say about us. Hemed is head of the Verification Unit at Radwin, a world leading communications equipment vendor. His team has been using PractiTest for large scale testing cycles.
In Hemed’s own words:

“I liked the product, the simplicity, the ease of use. I decided to run one set of tests for a month and see how it goes. After the first trial we tested a bigger version, and only after that went smoothly – we moved all of our testing to PractiTest.”

“We never had a system crash or slow down. It – easy to deploy – the logic of the system and the UI are clear – and the learning curve is very quick. This is very beneficial for us because we frequently loan testers from other departments, and they start using PractiTest in no time.”

“The results are effective and better managed testing cycles: accurate planning that is executed on schedule, with clear logging of each and every test, issue and bug. With an average cycle exceeding several hundreds tests – that’s a big advantage.”

Read the full case study here.

Kfir Hemed, Head of the Verification
Unit at Radwin

How Delek uses PractiTest to manage their Exploratory Testing

Last updated: June 01, 2011

managing_exploratory_testing2Last week in Tel Aviv we had a SIGiST’s (Special Interest Group in Software Testing) quarterly meeting, where QA managers and engineers gather to see presentations from selected QA groups and talk about various topics related to our testing work and its day-to-day challenges.

During this session we had the chance to, among other ineresting presentations, see a very informative and consice presentation on how Delek uses PractiTest to manage their exploratory testing efforts.

As part of the presentation, Gavriel Gutshtein explained how they are able to manage their exploratory testing in coordination with the rest of their scripted testing efforts, documenting all their tests (including their exploratory sessions) in PractiTest, and providing full visibility to the team and their external stakeholders on the tasks and progress of their projects.

In addition to the way in which they use PractiTest he also talked about how, by blending scripted and exploratory testing, they are able to reduce their total testing efforts and at the same time increase the stability of their released products.