Jira Test Management Tools

Even if we take the fact that Jira was never built with test management functionality in mind at face value, we are still left in a world where QA and dev teams need to be in the same loop. 

Sometimes we simply need to play the hand we are dealt. 

In the case of using Jira in your testing process, there are certain things you can do to improve your experience.

Why is “Vanilla” Jira not enough for your testing process?

At its core, Jira follows a very simple yet effective logic – tasks must be closed. Sure, they can go through a plethora of stages, but – at the end of the day – they are always pushed to “done”.

The same cannot be said for test cases. You’ll need to rerun or reuse tests sooner rather than later. 

What are your options?

  1. Keep the “Test Case” issues open: this is one of those on-the-nose solutions that sound good but don’t work. The practice of keeping issues open goes against Jira’s nature: you’ll simply get lost with too many tickets to keep track of. 
  2. Edit a User Story to be a test case substitute: This method involves having a User Story as a test case and sub-tasks as individual test runs. This solution postpones the side effects of keeping issues open, but it does not eliminate them. Reusing tests will still become a chore.
  3. Add a new status for test cases to your workflow: This workaround is actually clever. Marking something as “testing” or in “QA” will prevent you from moving tests to the “done” column, but, at this point, you are simply making more steps for yourself to follow. 
  4. Use Jira QA tools from the Atlassian Marketplace: Can’t make Jira into a QA tool? Use an integration of the tool you are already using, or add the missing bits of functionality with a handy add-on. For instance, you can use Smart Checklist’s templates functionality to create the steps necessary to run the test case once, and they’ll automatically be there once you open an issue of a certain type. 

What makes a good Jira case management tool?

The Atlassian Marketplace is filled with hundreds of add-ons that fall into every niche of project management. 

Heck, you’ll get 286 results for the term “testing”. 

Surely not all of those products are made equal. Even the better ones may not fit the needs of different QA teams that follow different processes and rely on a plethora of testing applications.

So what does one look for in a Jira tool for manual testing or test automation?

  1. Learning curve: Odds are that there’s already an integration for the tools you are used to on the Atlassian Marketplace. If that’s the case – they should be your go-to as you already know the ins and outs of the solution. If you opt to go for something new, take a look at the screenshots and the reviews for the interface to make sense. The last thing you want to do is to invest dozens of hours into learning the new Jira add-on (unless there’s a specific need). Also, please note that you’ll still have to learn at least something in either case, so I’d suggest doing it at the earlier stages of adopting new software. 
  2. Functionality: There’s more you’ll need to keep your eye on when it comes to bug tracking than barebone features.
    1. Can the add-on solve your specific needs? 
    2. How will it handle scaling?
    3. Can it track the metrics you deem necessary or provide the data you’ll need to make worthwhile reports?
  3. Integrations: Does the add-on fit into the processes your company is already using? I’m talking about playing nicely with the tools you use outside Jira, such as the software you use to make a test plan or document results. 

Free test management tools for Jira

What are some of the better Jira QA add-ons?

TestRail Integration for Jira

This add-on integrates TestRail test management software into your Jira instance. It allows you to synchronize requirements between Jira and TestRail in real time, create test plans, run tests, and analyze data from the reports. 

TestRail can be integrated with Jira Cloud, Jira Server, and Jira Data Center. This integration offers a complete two-way sync for issues, bugs, and requirements.

QAlity Plus

QAlity Plus is a powerful test management tool that offers clear insights on test performance as well as on previous test executions. The tool has a nice, clear UI. You can browse through bugs, links, and reports almost effortlessly. 

On the downside, there’s a learning curve as you’ll need to master Jira’s functionality and learn a fair bit of JQL to benefit from 100% of the add-ons functionality. Additionally, there are only Cloud and Server versions of the add-on. It is not available at Jira Data Center. 

ZephyrSquad

You’ve probably heard of ZephyrSquad by now due to its popularity with Agile teams. Still, I believe the add-on is worth the mention as it has earned its place on everyone’s radar. 

The lion’s share of the add-on’s popularity comes from how well it fits into agile development processes, thanks to its integrations with BDD, test automation, and reporting solutions.

ZephyrSquad is available on Jira Cloud, Jira Server, and Jira DC.

QMetry for Jira

QMetry test management for Jira is a test management tool that allows for better QA involvement throughout the entire development lifecycle. From a purely QA point of view, you can create and reuse modular test scenarios, but there are even more options when it comes to collab on scenarios via HipChat, Jira Capture, and Confluence integrations.

QMetry for Jira is available on Cloud, Server, and Data Center.

TestRay

TestRay is a nice add-on if you are looking for more traceability during the entire testing process. Test cases are conveniently organized in a tree-shaped format, and integrations with Jenkins and Bamboo allow for better automation testing.  

TestRay is available for Jira Cloud, Jira Server, and Jira Data Center. 

How do Jira test management tools compare to one another?

NameHighlightsReview ScorePriceFree trial
TestRailFlexible testing plan features

Infrastructure designed to handle tens of thousands of tests

Actionable reports

Customizable test automation API
3FreeNo
QAlity PLUSAccess and create tests from Jira issues

Traceability reports that summarizes bugs associated with test cases and their reports

Ability to add multiple tests to a test cycle via JQLTest definitions are in injected into tasks
4Free for up to 10 users/$1.50 per user per monthYes
ZephyrSquadIntegration with Cucumber for Jira

Test results are synchronized via SmartBear

Real time results and end-to-end traceability

Test automation and BDD software integrations
3$1 per user per month for up to 10 users. $4.55 per every user above 10 but the price gets cheaper as you scale.Yes
QMetry for JiraTraceability through test authoring

Versioning management

Audit HistoryIntegrations with Cucumber, JUnit, TestNG, UFT

Free QMetry Open API for DevOps/CI test managementAuto-suggestion based on story details
4Starts at $1 per user per year and scales with the number of usersYes
TestRayEnd-to-end traceability 

Requirements versioning and baselining management

Requirement traceability matrixJQL search for synapseRT dataBamboo & Jenkins integrations

Time estimations and forecasting
3.5Starting at $1,375 per 50 users per year. Yes

The takeaway

I don’t want to sound cheesy, but teamwork really does make the dream work. Developers and QA engineers need to communicate efficiently within one ecosystem of project management software. And, while Jira is not a perfect tool for test management by default, there are always options for making everyone’s life a bit better on the Atlassian Marketplace.

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