Micro Focus ALM Quality Center Review

We can look at the status and map it to the requirements to see which of them have been completed end-to-end

What is our primary use case?

We use it for recording our requirements. We use it for recording our test cases and the data is done within the ALM itself. And, during execution, we use it to update services and to log defects.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution reduces testing time, although not in all cases. But it is capable and in some cases, like for web testing, where we are easily able to capture screenshots and videos within the ALM workflow itself, or the test execution steps, it really saves us time. Otherwise, the guys have to keep on capturing screenshots into a file. Here, they can upload  everything in one shot. In that aspect, we have seen some savings in execution and, while they are not that drastic, it does help.

When it comes to the test planning cycle, if I have my regression cases, they could be almost 40 percent of the cases and they are repeated. So instead of uploading them again, I can easily replicate them in ALM. That is one way I am able to save and I would estimate that saves around 25 to 30 percent. The other part is when it comes to the execution steps. The savings are not so drastic but they could be between 5 and 10 percent.

What is most valuable?

The best thing is that you can see your current status in real time. Our people are deployed mainly offshore, and we have some guys working onsite as well. We have close coordination of the teams using calls. To see real-time updates, you just log in to ALM and you can see exactly what the progress is. You can also see if the plan for the day is being executed properly, and it's all tracked. From the management side, I find those features very valuable.

The ability to connect all related entities and to reflect project status and progress is the main thing that, as a manager, you are able to see: progress in real time. If the guys are updating the status in real time, meaning that as soon as they finish execution they update the status, it is really helpful.

If you ask the testing guys what is most valuable, for them it's like a one-stop, central location for every project, where every artifact and everything else is recorded. It is a single point where you can store everything. It's very easy to track and escalate. The solution does a lot of things which will support you in your project delivery phase.

When it comes to managing multiple projects, as long as everybody is actually recording all the requirements in the Requirements module of the tool, and from there the test cases and test plans — if everybody is doing that — it is really helpful. When we look at the status, we can actually map it to the requirements and we can see which of the requirements have been completed end-to-end, what we're spending, and so on. However, one thing we see is that not everybody uses the Requirements module to log the requirements. For certain projects, people just start using ALM from the time they upload the test cases, during test planning. In such cases, I am not able to see all the information. But for the projects where ALM is being used end-to-end, it is really helpful. The tool itself is really good. It all depends on how you are using it.

In terms of the solution’s ability to handle a large number of projects and users in an enterprise environment, I am sure the solution is capable. Our current usage here is not so large. But I previously worked in companies where around 300 users were using ALM for everything. In that setting, it was a central location where we could see all the results in real time. Here, I handle around six or seven projects simultaneously. But I have seen people who are handling up to 30 or 35 projects simultaneously, all using ALM. I've seen other organizations where people use it completely, for all their projects. There may be different managers, but it is a single location where everything can be tracked. It is scalable and it is pretty user-friendly as well.

In ALM, when you start to execute something, you can record and capture screenshots and videos. Once the team was trained in those features, I could see that they started recording and that they were doing the execution. When they close the last test, the recording is attached automatically. The tool is capable and, again, it comes down to how people are using it. If they are using it in the right way, we are able to capture everything.

What needs improvement?

ALM only works on Internet Explorer. It doesn't work on any other browser. In my opinion, Internet Explorer is generally a bit slower. I would like to see it work on Chrome or on other browsers. We have other applications that work perfectly fine with Chrome. It is not a major problem, but browser compatibility is an issue. And if you're using a Mac, it doesn't work.

We have a digital platform and we have done a lot of automation using Selenium there. Those tools have the ability to work in Chrome. But I am not able to integrate ALM completely, end-to-end. For example, using the automation tools we have to initiate test execution from ALM and then take all the results and upload them back. So I'm not able to work end-to-end because of the browser compatibility issues.

The majority of our guys are working on Windows and they have IE. For manual execution, I've never seen a problem. But when it comes to automation, I have an issue.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Micro Focus ALM Quality Center for about eight years. Our company has been around for almost 11 years. Out of that, for about eight years we've been using HP QC, now known as ALM. We've been using it continuously throughout that time.

I just recently returned to this team. When we started the testing phases here, I was leading the team. I moved out and I just joined it again three months ago. When I left, we were on version 11 so we must be on 12.55 now.

The solution is on the cloud, it is not on our premises.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is pretty stable. I don't think we have seen any issue. The availability is always 99.999 and it has never been down unless there is a planned outage. 

In the last two years, we have seen issues for two or three hours, but that is the maximum we have seen. 

When there is a planned outage they always notify us in advance. Otherwise, the application is always available. Our guys work in multiple shifts. They work throughout the day and they work at night as well and it's always available.

How are customer service and technical support?

If we request any kind of support, they are always there to help. They are very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before ALM, we were only using Excel. But along with ALM right now, we also have some projects that are using JIRA, and there are some people who are using Confluence. The digital teams here are using JIRA.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. We had engineers come in and they gave us training and showed us what we would be doing. They were very supportive, from the customer onboarding perspective. They did a very good job. Initially, there was all this complexity. We didn't know how to manage it because it was very new to the team. They came and trained us very well. To put it simply, the onboarding process was amazing. We have monthly sessions with their team and we have continuous contact. It's pretty organized.

They started the planning two months ahead. Everything happened in a proper, planned way. That is something I really like about Micro Focus. The initial installation took almost two months. In part, that was because of internal problems. We were using Excel and some other tools. To migrate from there to ALM took some time. That included moving the data. We had to make sure that whatever data we had was not lost and that even the number of test cases was the same as what we had before.

Upgrades happen in a single day, or sometimes two to three days.

In terms of the implementation, it happened a long time ago. They first asked us for a timeline and they then held multiple sessions on the features and the abilities of the tool, with multiple teams over the course of two to three weeks. After that they came and deployed ALM itself and tested the compatibility with our machines, because we had some desktops and laptops. That took some time. Micro Focus gave us an installer that we had to push to all our machines. Once all the machines were updated with the installer, we started using it.

What was our ROI?

We have definitely seen return on our investment in Micro Focus. Imagine the amount of hours that our guys would be spending tracking stuff in Excel. If you look at the number of man-days that my team would have to spend on that and at the licensing costs, of course it is worth it. I'm very happy with it.

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

The pricing has been the same for the past few years. It is reasonable. It is not very high. Of course, the cheaper the better, from our point of view. But the tool and its quality are amazing, really good. And including the support their team is giving us, I think the price is justified. It's a fair price.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other tools at that time. My manager and I — we came from different organizations — had both been using HP. I was using HP QC 9.0 when I moved here. When we started off our testing stream, the only tool that came to mind was HP. In addition, HP was one of the vendors that was being used for testing other stuff in our company.

Even now, we are not looking at other tools. 

What other advice do I have?

It's all about the mindset. ALM has a lot of features. We, ourselves, are only using about 30 percent of the features. If you are expecting that when you start deploying ALM you'll be using everything it has, that's not the case. Of course the tool has all the features, but there are some customizations that can be done based on your needs, and the Micro Focus team will be able to help you with that. It's all about setting expectations and telling them exactly what you want.

Initially, we were not sure what we wanted to see. But after some time we understood that there are so many features. For example, the reporting part: ALM has automated reports but they require some things to be entered at first. If your team has the skill to set up your own stuff, that's good. If not, the Micro Focus team can support you. ALM can automate reports so that, at the end of the day, it sends out an email so your team doesn't actually have to prepare all that information and send it.

To make full use of ALM you have to invest some of your time. It has a lot of features. Most people will just use the basic stuff and they will be happy with it. But if you start exploring it, you will find it has a lot of capabilities. And they are all included in the licensing cost. Don't just go with the flow and keep doing what you're doing. Spend some time and ask ALM the right questions and they'll be able to help you. You will get more benefit out of the tool. That is one thing I have learned in using the solution.

Micro Focus is still investing in the product and releasing valuable features. We have been asked to upgrade our version so that means they are working on upgrading features and are fixing bugs. In previous versions, I was seeing that things were a bit slower. It took time to actually load. But now, my team is saying that it is fine.

In terms of security, ALM has controlled access. Every user has his own login and password. We restrict access. There is one admin on our team and he's the guy who controls who accesses our systems. Before we create a user ID for someone, they have to go through a review process. We need to understand which team he is working for and for how long he will need access. In that way, we keep things in control. As for uploading our data, I don't think anybody will be able to access it. It's pretty secure.

Right now we have 35 licenses for 35 concurrent users. But the number of actual users is around 400. It's being used by our testing guys as well as business people and even our senior management. If they want to see reports in real time, they log in and see them. From that perspective, it is really helping us.

We don't have many people involved in maintaining it. I don't have a dedicated person on our side to manage it. Micro Focus manages everything. I have one point of contact and she takes care of everything.

For me and for our organization, it's a really good product. I'm really happy with it. It's a 10 out of 10. It meets my needs completely.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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author avatarYingLei (Micro Focus)

Thanks Shinu for your valuable review. Your title highlights the end-to-end traceability for requirements, and what you wrote in the "other advice" part is especially helpful - ALM/Quality Center does have rich features. By making full use of these features, customers will achieve higher ROI.

I understand that you need a web-based client that is independent of browser type and operating system. We now have a pure web-based client for testers, and plan to let it support other roles in future releases. It surly works with Chrome. Check out what's in the current version from here: https://admhelp.microfocus.com/alm/en/15.0-15.0.1/online_help/Content/Web_Runner/main_menu.htm

I also want to let you know that ALM/Quality Center has a "Client Launcher" which is the new solution for users and site admins to do everything without the need of IE.

You can download it for free from Micro Focus AppDelivery Marketplace at
And here’s a short video showing how to use it:
For details, please refer to the ALM Client Launcher User Guide: