CA Agile Central Review

CA Agile Central works ALMOST how you would expect it to.


What is most valuable?

Defect tracking is the one feature that behaves most like I would expect and I have found a good way get it to work for me.

The features I use the most are the Test Planning, Test Set, Defect, and Defect Suite functionality. The Project Manager has stated multiple times that the reporting features of the User Stories & Sprint Planning work well for him. Though, like every other piece of the app, there are things that either do not make sense or have to be worked around to utilize the system as needed.

The Defect Tracking of CA Agile Central functions well enough with some severe limitations. I believe the intention is for you to put Defects in Defect Suites and Defect Suites in Iterations. You can put Defects in User Stories, but only one User Story at a time. So, if the defect crops back in, you either create a new defect or pull the defect from the previous sprint's User Story, thus changing history.

If you put them in Defect Suites you can add the same Defect to multiple Defect Suites in different Sprints. However, this also comes with some weirdness in removing a Defect from a Suite. You can't pull the Defect from the Suite directly, you have to go to the Defect and remove the Suite from there.

There is a Notes section for each of the Defects. Unlike JIRA there is no way to keep straight who made what comment when in the notes section. You have to manually add your name and date and time to the notes field making it so that if you have a back and forth about the root cause of the defect there is no ease way to facilitate this on the defect itself.

If one defect is causing failures in multiple Test Cases you cannot tag multiple Test Cases in the Defect. You either have to create multiple defects or note in the result that it failed because of the defect.

Test Sets & Test Plans, again, ALMOST function how you would expect. You can fairly easily lay out Test Cases in a Test Plan, unless you want to move a Test Case from one Test Folder to another, then you have to do so from within the Test Case rather than on the Test Plan page. You can move an entire nested Test Folder from one Test Folder to another. Deleting of a Test Folder orphans all the Test Cases making you have to hunt them down manually for deletion.

Test Sets are the method by which it appears you're supposed to keep execution results separate. Unfortunately, there is no way on the Test Plan to choose a Test Set to see the results. Test Plan only reports the latest results with no easy way to view historic execution results by Test Set. You also cannot view a Test Set's results independently. Further, adding Test Cases to a Test Set requires looking them up by Test Folder from the Test Plan. If the Test Folder has nested Folders, you can't search for the Parent Folder and add all Test Cases in the child folders. You can only create Test Sets in the Iteration, not in the Quality > Test Suites and then assign to an Iteration. Yes, It's called a Test Set and a Test Suite in the application.

How has it helped my organization?

I use this at a customer’s site. I cannot say for certain it is better than nothing, but I do not know what they were using prior.

Generally speaking, I can usually think of a product that functions better than CA Agile Central for the features that are utilized the most.

What needs improvement?

I have yet to see a section of CA Agile Central that could not benefit from improvement. As I tell people, it ALMOST behaves how you would expect. There are so many twitchy bits that require workaround for the business process to function. It’s ridiculous and feels almost like it gets in the way more than it helps.

For example, these problems come up when re-executing test cases. I have found no way to easily set up another testing cycle that reports the results independently and I’ve LOOKED. There is no way to assign a test case to multiple stories or a defect to multiple test cases. Associating a defect with a defect suite is easy. Removing it is hard; exceedingly so. Creating test cases in a test folder on the test plan page is easy. Moving those test cases around is exceedingly difficult. I could go on and on and on about how this product has let me down.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used CA Agile Central for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability hasn’t been TOO bad. There are occasions that I have had to close my browser and start a session over. But what do you expect when using Adobe Flash instead of something more modern.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Opening new browser windows (middle-click) takes FOR-EV-ER, relatively speaking. While it is MUCH faster to just click a link in a given instance/tab, the general user behavior is to open new tabs and that takes WAY too long.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have not had to utilize technical support.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I was not given the option to use a different solution, as this is the solution my client utilizes.

TestRail is my hands-down favorite test case DB to work with. It has every feature a tester needs to easily create and design test suites, add defects, and retest with multiple configurations. CA could learn a LOT from TestRail about how to manage test cases properly.

What other advice do I have?

Choose a different product for your test case needs, and explore other options of managing of your agile processes, such as TFS.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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