Which are the alternatives today? Not only freeware, but tools affordable for a development team of 3-5 men.
I like the structure and flexibility of HP QC, so a similar tool would be nice to have.
After doing a few such evaluations myself in the last five years I can share my experience.
TL;DR - Go with PractiTest
Main reasons for my recommendation:
In Length: The two top tools found (in 2012 when the question was asked) were QAComplete from SmartBear and QMetry. However, I have since found what I consider to be the perfect test management tool in terms of balance between functionality, usability and price: PractiTest. It was developed by people who were heavily involved with QualityCentre and so it comes as no surprises that when looking for a product to substitute QC it nails most of the important functionality. It is also much simpler and easy to use then QC (of course that comes at the expense of some functionality). In one of my last roles we tried SpiraTest for 6 months with no success (this was around 2013) and eventually moved to PractiTest and it was a huge success. Uptake and satisfaction within the team was phenomenal. I've since used it on another project where likewise I had very good results. This is now my standard recommendation for a QC replacement.
The only thing I must say is that I never used their bug tracking features as we always integrated with JIRA, and so I can't comment on it. I'd say it will do for a small team but anything more than that I would recommend integrating with JIRA.
For a single tool environment (so requirements and defects managed in the same tool as the test cases) I would recommend QAComplete. It provides most of not all of QC features, it is very user friendly, has a great UI, customisable, allows bulk editing and in general is very easy to use. On the other hand its integration with other tools is luckluster: It only integrates with TestComplete and QTP as automation tools, and even that is not the best integration ever, mostly just results back pass\failed without specifics. It integrates with a few defect management and requirement managemenent tools however it does it in a weird way where everything is copied to the QAComplete db instead of a direct integration.
QMetry is more rounded, has a good UI, easy to use etc. It's test execution window is far from perfect (all tests are listed on one screen, passing\failing a step is 3 clicks etc.) but everything else about it is pretty good. Where it shines is in integration, especially with Jira (which has complete two way integration - you can even create a test case from a Jira ticket from within Jira!) and with various test automation tools. It also has quite a good custom reporting capability where you can write custom reports to suit your needs. Where it falls short is in Customer Support where in a few instances our issues were not resolved and we basically did not get confident about it after dealing with them a few times.
Another worthwhile mention (and cheap!) alternative is Spiratest (which is great functionality wise, has great integration with various other tools but has an outdated UI). However due to the clunky UI it didn't end up working out for one of the organisations I used to work for as mentioned above, so definitely demo before committing.
You may also want to have a look at TestRail (good but not as feature rich), Zephyr (mostly very good, lacks a central repository of tests functionality, expensive), TestLodge (stopped looking at it when I saw there is no breakdown to steps), Testuff (didn't feel it was quite mature yet, but this was 1.5 years ago).
A very interesting conclusion I came out of those tool search adventures with was that QC is actually an excellent tool. Might sound obvious but after excellent experience with TestComplete as an automation tool I was expecting that similarly there would be good alternatives to QC, however all the alternatives were still not as great as QC (even with its numerous shortcomings). However on the price front many of those tools compete very well with the HP offering and in terms of value for money beat QC quite handily.
Let me know if you have any specific questions about any of the tools and I will try to answer to the best of my experience.
Edit 1: had to remove some hyper links due to limit on new users
Edit 2: updated my answer to include PractiTest
Another alternative could be XStudio. It is a free tool and comes with desktop (standalone) version and online version. We are using this tool in our organization for smaller projects (teams of 3-4 people) and it is satisfying our requirements. Few of the features that I liked most and are comparative to HP:
You might want to look at QAComplete or ALMComplete by Smartbear. We implemented it a little over a year ago for a team of 10 and are quite happy with our choice. We purchased the SaaS, cloud hosted version and were up and working with in almost immediately.
I've used QC at a past job and found it to be too big too expensive and an administrative drain to implement this company. We just didn't have a spare person to devote all their time to implementations and upgrade, administration, etc.
Features for QAComplete we've found helpful are
Also requirements, defect and test management including Steps and test runs similar to QC but more customizable in my opinion.
For custom reporting you'd have to look into the hosted on site version (or host at your place). But the canned reports may just meet your needs.
We found the online videos to be very helpful in narrowing down our decision and even further learning after implementation.
I'm working on an open source project aiming to structure and industrialize functional testing activities witch is a good alternative to HP Quality Center for small business As part of the project, a new open source tool for test management is beeing developped. We realeased it's last stable version on may ! You can download it on the project site (http://www.squashtest.org) and try our online demo here : https://demo.squashtest.org/squash We are interested in your comments and suggestions, so don't hesitate to give us your feedback and wishes for the next version's roadmap ! Thanks !
Have you considered Seapine TestTrack?
It has a requirements manager, a test case repository, a test run repository, tasks and task assignments and reports. All this, without the bloat.
It is easy to use, has a web interface (and not an ActiveX control) or alternatively a windows client.
Not sure if it fits all your needs but I would recommend check out Jira. It commercial product, but for small teams (up to 10 users) price is not big.
You might take a look at Rally. We use it currently and it provides support for User stories -> Test cases, Test plans and defects. While advertised for Agile projects I suspect it may work pretty well for the needs you outlined.
I think "enteprise tester" is very similar to QC, even the terminology is very similar (e.g. "test scripts"). I have worked with QC 4 years ago and currently I'm evaluating test management tools, which can be linked to JIRA. "enterprise tester" is one of the tools I'm currently evaluating and it really looks very similar to QC. Is seems as if most of the features I know from QC are available in enterprise tester.
See their homepage http://www.enterprisetester.com/ for details. The documentation they provide is quite good.
Enterprise Tester has already been mentioned above, but I would agree that it is well worth a look. Disclosure: I work for the company that develop it.
We frequently get compared to Quality Center from a functionality perspective, but differ around cost, frequency of release (we release new features every 2-3 months), and the way we engage with our customers. Enterprise Tester is flexible, provides full coverage from requirements to defects, dashboards and reporting, TQL, and a REST API. It also integrates with JIRA, TFS, Enterprise Architect, Selenium and others...
You can grab a free 30-day trial of Enterprise Tester from our site or get started with a $10 license. We also offer free Open Source / Charity licenses for those that qualify.
I've been shown recently a presentation of this one:
Aqua. German/English, looked nice.
TestRail & Jira works for us (12 dev, 5 QA, 5 BAs) especially the latest release of TestRail that integrates better with Jira. Costs were minimal for a small team.
I have to concur with the earlier poster about SmartBear's QAComplete/ALM Software. I implemented this just over a year ago and have been quite satisfied with the usage for my QA team's needs. I set up the SASS environment I had worked with HP QC as the administrator and manager of a QA team for over 6 years and their QTP automation tool and was amazed with how easy it was to step into the QACompete tool and not need much training.
The easy connection that QAComplete has to TFS for defect tracking was one bonus we really needed at this company to improve our processes.
The Overall price along with the functionality it added to the quality team was an easy sell to upper management.
I'd like to throw my hat in to the ring here. I'm one of the developers of a tool called TestWave that might be of interest to you. It provides the structure you seem to want and supports requirements, releases, test managment and also has built in defect management too.
You can get a trial at http://testwave.co.uk
I would recommend QMetry with which I've been working for nearly two years. Older versions were so-so and it was a pain to work with them sometimes. The newest version however is pretty decent and I can definitely recommend it. It is highly customizable, provides you with various reports (from test coverage charts to exporting test cases to pdf), lets you connect requirements with test cases, supports development lifecycle and integrates with Jira (bug tracking) and Selenium (automation). Actually it has a lot of features and I am using maybe 10% of it... On the bad side: it may be a little bit pricey, does not really meet your requirement of affordability. :(
I have checked another one: OCCYGEN it's a project lifecycle manager focused on Quality Assurance.
You manage project > requirement > test suites > test execution > Defects. There is a Dashboard / Blueboard to get global overview.
I would recommend OCCYGEN.
QABook Enterprise is a direct competitor to HP's QC for large team usage. For smaller teams where QC is just too expensive QABook Desktop is proving to be popular providing the same QC type functionality at $95 a licence.
You can download a free standalone version of Desktop at http://www.nmqa.com/DownloadQABook.aspx
Be great to get your thoughts,
Paul - email@example.com