Inflectra SpiraTest Review

After implementation, we saw benefits in test viability, but the folder structure/functionality needs to be simplified.


Valuable Features

Fully featured test management tool:

  • Enterprise license gives unlimited users
  • Full artefact traceability is fantastic - requirements to test cases to execution to defects/reporting
  • Customisability and product support

Improvements to My Organization

SpiraTest was initially implemented for our largest IT project at Amec Foster Wheeler (Implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009/2012). Prior to SpiraTest, spreadsheets were being used to control test collateral. Bringing SpiraTest in, provided immediate benefits in the area of test visibility, reporting capabilities, audibility and overall clarity of the testing effort.

Room for Improvement

Whilst the tool was fantastic there were some areas which were not as user friendly as they could have been. The biggest complaint was the folder structure/functionality. We found that a number of our users struggled to create or move test scripts into the correct locations. This extended out to test sets and requirements. As most users are accustomed to Windows XP/7 environments, a similar method of managing the testing hierarchy would have been a much more preferable solution.

Use of Solution

The best part of two and a half years.

Stability Issues

One of the main issues encountered was around scalability. Initially there were between 30 to 50 accounts set up, however this quickly began to grow (as projects were being migrated in). We noticed a steady increase in the number of time-outs experienced by end users. Speaking with Inflectra support this was a known issue, and could be resolved by re-indexing the SpiraTest DB. We started off running the re-indexing scripts ad-hoc/as required. However, it got to the stage where the script would be required at least once a week. There was never really a clean solution to the issue.

Customer Service and Technical Support

The customer support was fantastic. Inflectra were always able to provide excellent guidance and resolution to most issues/technical questions asked - where they were unable to provide details at the time, a response would always be issued within a day. This is especially true when we were upgrading from 4.0 to 4.2 - we experienced some technical difficulties with tables being dropped but not recreated. Inflectra provided telephone assistance and we were able to set up a meeting the same day. A route cause was determined the same day and resolved the next day (nb: there were db locks created by other services that had not closed preventing the installation process creating the required db).

Previous Solutions

Spreadsheets were being used prior to SpiraTest.

Initial Setup

The set up/installation was straightforward, but required assistance from the System Admins with regards to kit being available. We eventually moved to a virtualised environment - the transition was carried out by the system administration team and was also a smooth process (SpiraTest fully supports virtualisation).

Implementation Team

We implemented the tool in- house. Tthe main advice is to ensure the appropriate backup & recovery process is well defined. We were able to slot SpiraTest backup in with the normal weekly backup cycle. This is extremely important for most tools and especially so for a test management tool.

ROI

This information would need to be provided by my manager at the time but to give an indication - prior to SpiraTest we were testing and reporting through spreadsheets. Reporting itself was taking between an hour and two hours per day for a designated resource. Extrapolated out, this immediately becomes a silly number of hours wasted putting a report together. Once the tool was implemented, and real-time reporting was possibly, we no longer needed to waste two hours of test resources to pull together the report. This is a simply case but given that the tool cost £7,000 only, the cost savings were huge.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

The tool cost £7,000.

Other Advice

Before any implementation of a tool comes a requirement for said tool. The first step is to analyse your requirements and current process and understand the current pros/cons and the overall costs. If your processes are robust, and there are no alarming pitfalls, then there may not be a need to make any changes. However, if you find there to be many holes in the current processes then there may be a need to make a change. We carried out an assessment on many test management tools (including HP QC) but it was immediately obvious with regards ROI that SpiraTest was right for our needs.

If you are looking for a fully featured test management tool (or going further, an ALM solution) either in house or SAAS and are looking for the best bang for buck then I can recommend SpiraTest without a shadow of a doubt.

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