What is our primary use case?
To store all tests including manual and automated tests along with the results of tests after they were executed. Tracking defects, scheduling test sets for automated UFT tests to run unattended from the Test Lab, storing the test cases, and also storing the test requirements in the Requirements Module.
The Application Lifecycle Management Process with ALM includes the following phases
- Release Specifications: Develop a release-cycle management plan to help you manage application releases and cycles efficiently.
- Requirement Specifications: Define requirements to meet your business and testing needs.
- Test Planning: Based on the project requirements, you can build test plans and design tests.
- Test Execution: Create a subset of the tests in your project designed to achieve specific test goals. Execute scheduled tests to diagnose and resolve problems.
- Defect Tracking: Submit defects and track their progress and status.
How has it helped my organization?
Multiple users can execute tests independently on their own computer because the UFT scripts are stored in ALM/Quality Center which is web based. All test cases are stored in one location (ALM) which makes it easier for users to access and maintain.
New users can quickly be added and set-up to have access to given projects in Quality Center in less than an hour.
The Defect Module can be customized to your department's needs. At a former company, we held regular meetings and used the Defect Module with a projector to go over the defects found during the previous week.
What is most valuable?
- Ability to execute automated UFT scripts from Quality Center and store the results
- Ability to customize modules, particularly Defect Tracking module on company specific needs
- The user can export a lengthy test case with a lot of steps from Excel directly into Quality Center, which saves a lot of time. Conversely, a user can export a test case with all steps from Quality Center to Excel.
- Users can save screen shots of defects and also perform manual testing by using Manual Runner that verifies whether each step passed or failed and save the results along with information such as the date/time executed and who the tester was that performed the manual test.
What needs improvement?
When a particular version of Quality Center has reached end of life, the customer is forced to upgrade to the newer version to be eligible to get technical support. The upgrade process can be time intensive and requires a lot of planning. Quality Center seems to originally designed for a Waterfall process. However, the newer versions of ALM are more adaptable to Agile testing methodology.
The BPT also known as Business Process Testing can sometimes be very time intensive and sometimes might not be very intuitive to someone who is not familiar with BPT. ALM/QC supports IE but does not support Chrome which a lot of users like/want to use.
History of Quality Center including other names and versions:
On September 1, 2017 the HPE testing tools officially became Micro Focus. It is too early to see how the transition to Micro Focus will change things. I am keeping an optimistic view that Micro Focus will continue to invest in R&D and place a priority on customer support. I believe a lot of long-time customers would like to see things run like they were back in the Mercury Interactive days, which was one of the most innovative software companies of its time. If Micro Focus develops the right strategy, they could become a dominant player in the software testing market.
It is beneficial for the reader to understand the history of Quality Center since it has gone through several name changes and versions, so I have listed the chronological events below:
Mercury Interactive originally came out with TestDirector that included versions 1.52 to 8.0.
Mercury renamed the product TestDirector to Quality Center in version 8.0.
HP acquired Mercury and rebranded all Mercury products to HP. Therefore, Mercury Quality Center became HP Quality Center.
HP released version 11.00 and renamed it to HP ALM (Application Lifecycle Management).
In June 2016, HP released ALM Octane.
So essentially, the tool at one time or another has had the names TestDirector, Quality Center, ALM, and ALM Octane. Essentially, with each version and name change there has been added functionality.
For how long have I used the solution?
More than five years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Sometimes when ALM is open and there is another browser open, Quality Center will crash.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
No issues encountered, in fact, it's very straightforward to add users.
How are customer service and technical support?
If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?
I have worked at companies that used open source tools and ALM/Quality Center. I have also worked at a company that simultaneously used both Quality Center and Rally. Rally is also a good tool and seems to be developed more for the Agile methodology. However, when using UFT we always used it with ALM/Quality Center because we could store all of the run results from automated tests.
How was the initial setup?
The initial set-up required a lot of resources, such as the Oracle DBA, because Quality Center stores its information in tables in a database. You also have to plan and coordinate with System Analysts what servers will be used along with the architecture.
What about the implementation team?
What was our ROI?
Giving an ROI on a software product is a complicated task. I like to use the Space Shuttle as an analogy. From an economist's point of view, he or she might say the Space Shuttle program cost billions of dollars and did not see nearly that amount in hard dollars generated from resources/time saved in return. I believe NASA did get paid to put satellites into orbit via the Shuttle for private companies but it was less than the whole costs. On the other hand, a scientist could say the Space Shuttle program made many significant discoveries and also put into orbit the Hubble Telescope which discovered and took pictures of the Universe that was not possible from Earth. The Economist would just use a formula to calculate a number stating it is a bad ROI. The Scientist would say the Shuttle definitely added value by making new discoveries that advanced science so far that it cannot be measured in dollars and say it is a good ROI. My point here is that "what is the ROI" is a common question at companies and it can vary greatly on how a person approaches and perceives it.
With all this in mind, my answer is that Quality Center definitely adds value to an organization and over the long run has a positive ROI that will keep increasing over time primarily by saving time for users the more they use the functionality of all the modules. For example, using Quality Center to schedule automated test suites to run unattended increases ROI.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
For licensing, find out the number of users who will be using it concurrently, and use that number as a starting point for the number of licenses to purchase. Quality Center is pricey, but cheaper is not always less expensive.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
No other options were evaluated.
What other advice do I have?
Write out and document all the steps and resources beforehand, and make sure everything is in place before implementing. Make sure you read the minimum requirements listed in installation instructions needed for all hardware (i.e. servers, etc.) and double-check it to ensure it is met.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.