I'm trying to determine if I should spend some time working with a trial version of HP Quality Center. For a number of reasons, my time is very valuable to me right now both at work and in my personal life, so "Why not?" is an inadequate reason to even get started on downloading a trial version and getting things set up. Yes, even a couple of hours is difficult right now. I've looked at their website, but can't wade through all the marketing speak to even figure out what the product actually is, at least regarding what I care about.

Right now, I do primarily automated testing for a variety of products, and will be testing more and more applications and mentoring others in testing (mostly developers, possibly we'll hire some additional QA in the future) as time goes on. I am currently creating, using, and maintaining a home-grown test system that uses C# test fixtures and coded checks, and testcases that are stored in a SQL DB. I am currently doing very little UI testing, but will probably begin doing web UI testing increasingly in the future, and am currently planning on using Selenium or WatiN. The product is based on a mostly-.NET stack, with a few Open Source tools here and there. The company is all practicing some form of Agile development, mostly Scrum (with a few teams using 'Scrumlike' instead, IYKWIM).

I am trying to figure out what skill level of tester HP Quality Center is aimed at, whether or not I can write fixtures and reusable test code easily to use with it, and what it would do for me that would be better and easier than using a homegrown system. I am particularly concerned about whether or not it lacks flexibility, and especially interested in if it could save me time that I am currently investing in our own framework.

Is there anyone who has used this tool before who can give me some insight into it?

7 Answers 7


Who would be administering QC? If it's going to be you, I'd recommend you give it a miss for now. I don't think it's particularly suited to small teams, or Agile teams: it's aimed at large companies, with waterfall development methodologies, and pretty much the whole design is aimed at that - you might find yourself having to swim against the current a lot of the time, and I get the impression that's exactly what you want to avoid.

It's also very expensive in my experience - enough so that every place I've seen it used has had a very limited set of licences, thus rather spoiling the point of having an integrated bug tracker & test & requirements management system.

  • This has been my experience as well. We're currently migrating away from it. Commented May 14, 2011 at 1:54
  • Agreed. Hate that tool. Adding/editing test cases in HP QC Test Plan is so slow that each team using it I heard of has developed home-made solution to import test cases from external source, e.g., Excel.
    – dzieciou
    Commented Nov 15, 2013 at 20:51

HP Quality Centre is a product that has been around for ages. I haven't used the product in anger for a few years, but I don't think that it is particularly tied to any methodology.

HP's tools are generally pitched at the non-techical tester with record and playback and step-by-step test execution, especially now as WinRunner is now end of life.

As someone who has a lot of experience in the Microsoft and .net space, especially with WatiN, I would suggest that you might be better suited with Visual Studio Team System 2010 and Microsoft Test Manager, especially as you are probably already working with Visual Studio and already have licenses. These tools integrate directly with the unit test runners that are commonly used with c# code.

The other option, since you are already building your own tools is to invest the $$$ that you will need to spend on QC on hiring a person to develop your own in-house tools (yes it costs that much).


At work we are using the HP QC. It is a very powerful tool but I would use it only for really big projects. I think that it is not suitable for small/media projects. The projects I am working has 17 teams and more than 160 people and this tool is a corporate decision and not the result of an analysis of which tools are available.

  • 4
    The "tool is a corporate decision" pretty much ties in with my experience too.
    – testerab
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 9:40
  • @testerab Same here.
    – Mugen
    Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 14:49

If you're thinking about agile and selenium, forget about Quality Center. This is not going to fit your needs, to do that you would have to acquire other add-ons that costs more than QTP and QC together. If you need flexibility and agility go for Jira or Mingle, QC is a really closed system and makes use of ActiveX controls, nobody uses that anymore.


I worked with Test Director (QC predecessor) in more than one place as bug tracking tool, the price was so high that even a medium, profitable company couldn't (or didn't want to) buy more than few licenses and only the basic modules making the work very cumbersome. From my little experience it is very flexible, stable and easy to use by non code writers, and best of all give excellent integration between the requirements, testplan, tests and bugs.


I agree with the others that Quality Center is more suited to large (stale?) corporations which are perceived to be agile averse. One fundamental floor with QC is the licencing and its commitment to bums on seats.

You could have a look at some of the open source test tools like Cucumber (Cuke4nuke) & FitNesse. If you're not tackling the UI stuff just yet, these might as well be considered further down the line, but bear them in mind as they promote good agile practices (Cucumber especially).

The selenium stuff is great, but as with all record/playback automation, make sure your UI is relatively stable otherwise you'll have a high maintenance overhead.

If you are moving towards being more agile, defect tracking becomes less of an issue (excuse the pun) as bugs are often captured whilst the feature is being developed, not 6 months down the line. I don't see these as bugs, more work in progress.

We currently use Mingle (from Thoughtworks) for all our story planning & defect "management", but that's largely because we had Thoughtworks consultants on the project.

+1 for the JIRA vote, but also checkout Bugzilla


If you are short of time, then park it. We do successfully use QC in an agile team, but are limited to manual testing, and whilst the test plan lends itself to be used as a proper repository, setting it up in a way that matches your teams processes takes a really long time.

We have it as it was bought a long time ago when the company had a central test team working across multiple development teams on a shared system, but now we have split the testing team up and have multiple systems I wouldn't buy it again

I recently set up a new project, and to get it customised to work in a way that supports our process rather than changes it took me a few weeks solid

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