Micro Focus ALM Quality Center Review

Speeds up our testing and facilitates consolidation of information for reporting

What is our primary use case?

We use it as a test management tool where our requirements and everything we need are entered into it and we manage the test cycles. When new products come out, the requirements are gathered and captured. Based on that, the test scripts or test cases are created and uploaded. Eventually, the functional analysts or testers run different test cycles, such as integration, user interface, and user acceptance test cycles. We log the defects with it as well. Based on the metrics, if a product qualifies, it is moved to the next cycle.

How has it helped my organization?

We have seen multiple improvements using this solution. One example is that one of our customers wanted to see the defect numbers in the same grid where test execution happens. We were able to provide that. Whenever a defect was raised for a particular test, the defect number updated automatically in an integrated, single view. That meant we could see the status of that step. If it failed, we could see that the defect number had been assigned to that particular step.

We also have a custom tool that we have created to disconnect a user. Sometimes, a user may lock the test scripts and go for a coffee. Usually, a system administrator would have to be there to disconnect that. But we created a solution where test managers or test leads have an option to use the username and kill the session so that other users can log in and start working. This is one  of the best-practices we have implemented so that the time involved in test execution will be reduced. There are a lot of dollar savings when executing each cycle.

Overall, it has absolutely reduced the time it takes to do testing. Initially it might be very difficult for the users to execute and then update the test script status and the defects. But after two or three days, they are used to the navigation and it can save a lot of time. If we were using Excel or doing things manually, they would need to store the details and pass them on via shared drives. That approach would also make consolidation very difficult and a person would have to collect data to create a report. ALM is an integrated tool from which we can get reports.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the Test Lab, when compared to any other tool.

With test execution, you have an option to create custom fields. It is also really user-friendly. With other tools, we only have restricted fields and we cannot customize or add new columns or fields that users can make use of while testing. ALM is very flexible for creating new fields. It is easy for users to understand the application.

It is also pretty easy when managing multiple projects. We can actually create the domains in the tool, and under the domains we can create a project. Based on that, we can manage things very well without any confusion for the users. They can log in based on the domains and select their respective projects. Most of the equivalent test management tools don't have that option.

The solution is also really secure. It will only open within our network. And in the next version it has access roles and a single sign-on feature where users don't need to log in physically with their usernames and passwords. It automatically takes the authentication and goes. That is a very good feature because we can log in to the laptop and it goes automatically, making it very secure. Because in our version, 12.55, we don't have SSO enabled, we are doing a PoC of version 15, which has this feature.

What needs improvement?

We cannot rearrange the Grid in the Test Lab. It is in alphabetical order right now. But sometimes a user will want to see, for example, the X column next to the B column. If they came out with that it would be useful for us. They are working on that, as we have raised that request with Micro Focus. They have not given any definite dates, as there are multiple requests from different companies, but they are working on it. We have 14 or 15 of our own columns. So every time they want to validate details of, say, SAP security or something along those lines, they need to drag to the right. They wouldn't need to do that if there were an option to reshuffle and save the view.

I would also like to see them provide a better reporting structure. They have a Business Views Microsoft Excel Add-in that appears as an additional tab in MS Excel. If they could improve that a little more, integrating it better with Excel, it would be very useful for all the stakeholders, helping them see the reports.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Micro Focus ALM Quality Center for the last six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very reliable. It is a mature application. It's very rare that there is a crash.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good. 

We use it for most of the projects in our organization, with the exception being small projects. Currently, there are no plans for increasing usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is very helpful. They provide support 24/7 and they have resolved whatever issues have come up, on time.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved in the initial setup, but I have been here for six or seven releases, new versions, and their installations. It is a straightforward process. It is not that complex, but we have needed the assistance of Micro Focus at times.

We have dedicated staff for deployment and maintenance of this solution. There are seven of us in the company working with Quality Center. One is a technical admin leader who takes care of Quality Center, and another is a project leader. Under them are project support people who work in shifts, 24/7, and create projects and provide support for users' technical issues.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is not my area, but in general, what I've seen when reading articles is that it is costly. That is the reason most customers are moving to the other solutions, which are much cheaper. That is the opinion of people I have spoken to in other companies.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Quality Center is a mature test management tool, which is used across the industry and, for the Waterfall model, it is the best solution. JIRA is good for Agile testing. Micro Focus has released Octane, but it is costly compared to other solutions, so companies are not opting for it. JIRA has a low licensing cost.

What other advice do I have?

I've worked with multiple tools, when it comes to a Waterfall model of testing, and ALM is the best tool.

The solution enables us to conduct risk based testing but, as a test manager, that kind of testing is only done when there is not enough time for testing the entire solution. That is when we go through the requirements in the ALM Requirements module and see what the most important requirements are that should be tested. Based on that, we mark it as risk-based testing. We create a column and check it as "yes" or "no". Based on that information, it can be filtered and the same test cases will be handed to the Test Lab for testing. That means that the most critical functionality of the solution will be covered. The solution helps segregate, using the requirements, to test scripts.

Micro Focus is investing in the product. It is really good that they are investing in it and that they are releasing new releases. The newest release, currently, is 15, where there are multiple new features. It is useful for our users and, as a company, enterprise-wise, that they further improve the solution.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

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