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So im going to be starting a Job here in a few weeks, i've been doing QA for about 6 years now. Pretty much your standard Test Plans/Testing with a little normal SysAdmin stuff that sometimes comes with the task.

I've had some good ideas implemented in companies, as far as tracking requirements/test plans/issues differently, and they seem successful.

However this new position will be me laying down the foundation for QA. Right now things are done in what seems to be as needed as far as QA goes, requirements are gathered and sometimes kept in different locations, same with test plans (which are done by developers right now).

So my job will be sort of centralizing this, or developing a Flexible way of QA'ing the Software (Web/Mobile development).

So it seems the challenge will be centralizing everything, while creating test plans/ or ways of testing similar requirements that is flexible enough to span projects.

I've had a few ideas, however all my previous test work was windows based (So test plans in TFS or Microsoft Test Manager). I wanted to get some ideas from everyone here, or anyone thats started a QA department from scratch. I was also going to see if there were any books on the subject.

My thoughts were mainly keeping projects separated for issue tracking (not sure of the software we will use yet). And keeping test plans for common I guess "actions/elements" that are repeated between different customers and executing those. Eventually maybe using selenium to save those "common" element as test scripts.

But i've never set something up like this before solo, so i've been doing quite a bit of reading. Any books/suggestions would be appreciated!

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My thoughts were mainly keeping projects separated for issue tracking (not sure of the software we will use yet).

I am a fan of Atlasssian's products. You can get issue tracking with JIRA, documentation with Confluence, communicate with HipChat, and host source code on BitBucket.

Where I work now, uses these. I came from a .Net stack that used TFS and I have to say I like Atlasssian's products for the smaller LAMP stack team I work with now.

But i've never set something up like this before solo, so i've been doing quite a bit of reading. Any books/suggestions would be appreciated!

I haven't come across any books that tell you how to setup a QA department. For QA books, I do recommend "Lean Software Development" by Poppendieck and "The Art of Software Testing" by Myers. Benchmark QA also has "25 Tips For Better Software Quality" that should give you some pointers for building up a solid QA department.

  • Thanks, ill have to check out those books. We are using a smaller LAMP stack similarly and I came from a .Net company as well. If you have any other knowledge/helpful tips that helped you feel free to throw them my way!! – user5852 Jun 12 '15 at 18:59
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Though you specifically say you want separation of responsibilities I'll go ahead and recommend to you InformUp which is a full-featured ALM with requirements management, test case management, bug tracking and built-in wiki. By the way, as an ex-Microsoft stack person you say you are, you'll be right at home with InformUp's IIS based stack.

If you really want to stick to separation though, I'll recommend YouTrack (by JetBrains) as the bug tracker and SquashTM as the management suite.

YouTrack is, in my experience, everything Jira is in terms of abilities and has the added bonus of having a 10-user free package (opposed to Jira's 10 user for 10$ package. Why pay, even 10$, when you can get the same quality for free?)
SquashTM, though I doubt many have heard about it, I know I didn't until few months ago, is a rock-solid (in my 2 months of use experience) management suite with everything you need.

Having numbered my tools I would recommend using ALM (central management and bug-tracking tool) 10 times out of 10 in favor of separate management and bug-tracking tools -- it's easier, more centralized, more controllable. For me, I gave up InformUp exactly due to it being IIS-bound where both YouTrack and SquashTM also offer Linux compatibility (and I'm a Linux fan, alas :)).

  • Sorry for not placing any links. Apparently you need reputation to post more than 2 links per answer and it kind of an "all or nothing" deal, posting links is. – O.F. Jun 17 '15 at 3:02
  • Added links and gave you some reputation :) Nice tools, personally i will look into them. – Niels van Reijmersdal Jun 17 '15 at 8:36
  • Thank you Niels van Reijmersdal. I will now use the newly gained rep to add one more link, that of InormUp... :) – O.F. Jun 18 '15 at 19:41
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Building the QA department from scratch is in a sense a great opportunity, as you don't have the old practices to get rid of, but then again you probably need to stress the the importance of the QA to others to get the support your departments will need.

So for centralizing stuff, you will probably want to pick a solution that support requirements, manual- and automated testing well as well as issues. It will be so much easier for you when all these things work together.

For requirements: Developers probably have a idea where they keep requirements / user stories / design docs already. Still, your testers benefit if they can import relevant part of that info to their testing tool for test design / test execution purposes. If the developers can be persuaded to use your test management tools requirement part - all the better. Pick a good one and they will!

Test automation / manual testing: For web dev it makes sense to automate stuff. But, almost ever ALL the things are not worthwhile to automate. There is a place for manual testing. Pick a tool that can combine these two.

Issues management is a must. If it is well integrated to your testing tool, it helps you pick tests for re-testing / finding the problematic areas in your app under test.

We use Meliora Testlab for test management/ALM, and it does it's part great. It is especially efficient with team communication. I would also recommend looking at Robot Framework. It has a smart approach on automated testing ( although you will need an addon to run Selenium tests with that).

Besides getting the tools in place I recommend giving a thought early on what is expected of everyone on the project. It is not advicable to retrict people from doing what is most efficient, but QA manager will want to make sure there are not gaps on what people are doing.

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Consider TRAC. It free/open source integrated wiki for documentation, bug tracker, subversion/Git/mercurial/... code repository, and code viewer. Code viewer is smart enough to parse comments in code and correctly interpret them as hyperlinks to docs or bug tracker. Comments in bug tracker can expands to changeset, etc.

Atlassian wiki (confluence) is very unlike other wiki (adding styles formatting to plain text (markdown), so text is more complex to reuse (or use by outside tools). Usually you get better and more flexible tools from open source community.

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