HP Quality Center Enterprise

What is Quality Center?

HP Quality Center screenshot 1

HP Quality Center is the market leading test management tool. It keeps track of all the data related to testing on one or more projects. Its main functions are to:

• store tests;
• guide test execution;
• store test results;
• record, disseminate and track defects; and
• map tests to requirements and measure test coverage.

HP Quality Center Enterprise can be closely integrated with test automation tools such as HP LoadRunner and HP Unified Functional Testing, but it is also highly effective in managing manual tests standalone. It is accessed by intranet or internet via a browser and it can be purchased as either licensed software or as a cloud service (SaaS).

Why it is useful

Quality Center’s power is in its ability to store tests, test results and defects in a single place visible to the whole test team. Using HP Quality Center greatly reduces the potential for error compared to, say, storing test scripts in word processor documents and tracking them in spreadsheets. It is less likely that test scripts will be duplicated, results lost, results mis-communicated, tests omitted and defects overlooked, which promotes quicker and more cost effective IT project delivery.

HP Quality Center can bring about further productivity benefits by integration with HP’s Unified Functional Testing tool and HP LoadRunner. It can be configured to start tests in these applications and retrieve the results automatically. In this way, tests can be run unsupervised with any errors appearing automatically in the results.

Key features

HP Quality Center screenshot 2Test storage and organisation

A basic test case is stored in HP Quality Center as a manual script with a series of steps. Attached to each step is an expected result. Tests are grouped logically into test sets. A hierarchy of test sets makes up the full collection of tests for an application.

When a test is executed, the tester enters into HP Quality Center whether the actual result matched the expected one. If it did, the test step passes; if not the test step fails. A test passes when all its steps have passed, a test set passes when all its tests have passed and testing is complete when all the test sets have passed. This logical grouping of tests enables HP Quality Center to manage a great number of tests and enable managers to zero in rapidly on areas where tests are failing.

The solution’s multi-user nature allows testers to work simultaneously on the same set of test data. The testers can create scripts in parallel and see each other’s scripts. The execution of scripts can be assigned to particular testers and the results recorded by one member of the team are instantly visible to other team members.

Defect management

When a tester encounters a defect in the application under test, a defect may be logged in HP Quality Center. The tester may describe the defect in words and attach any files that may be relevant. HP Quality Center will then automatically e-mail the details of the defect to other members of the team. They may in turn add other comments, update the defect’s status (‘new’, ‘fixed’, ‘closed’ etc.) or assign responsibility for the defect to a team member. Eventually the defect will be fixed and the test that gave rise to the defect run again. If the test passes the defect can be closed. Many aspects of the defect tracking process can be configured to suit the project on which it is being used. They include the testers who may log defects and change their status; the testers to whom copies of the defect are e-mailed; and the different possible status codes for a defect.

Requirements coverage

The application’s requirements can be entered into HP Quality Center and tests can be linked to HP Quality Center screenshot 3 the requirements. When sets of tests are run, it is then possible to measure what proportion of the application’s requirements are present in the test sets (planned coverage), what proportion have been run (executed coverage) and what proportion have passed (passed coverage). The goal is normally to reach 100 per cent planned, executed and passed coverage. HP Quality Center’s workflow can be configured to work in an agile-friendly way by tracking the coverage of individual sprints and expressing the evolving coverage in burn-up charts (in which the goal is 100 per cent rather than zero as in a burn-down chart).

Integration with automated test tools

HP Quality Center may be integrated with HP’s Unified Functional Testing tool, WinRunner and HP LoadRunner. It can be used to launch tests automatically and record the results, including whether the tests passed or failed. Using this form of integration, a very large number of tests can be run without human supervision. When the tests are over, the results will highlight any failures, allowing corrective action to be taken quickly.