Micro Focus ALM Octane Room for Improvement

Process Owner E/E Test Management at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
We are the lucky guys as we have a type of "design partnership" with Micro Focus so I do have a call once a week with R&D, discussing problems from a user's perspective and from an operating maintenance perspective. We do have a close collaboration on improving Octane for the needs of the automotive industry. We are contributing a lot of features, thoughts, and ideas, and Micro Focus is very good at implementing many of them and improving their tools. They are getting feedback from a couple of hundred users working in the early phase of transition now: How users are thinking, how they are using or abusing Octane, and what could be improved for the benefit of both companies. An example of one of the features we have requested is inheriting information from a test suite into a suite run and into a menu run, so the user does not have to add that information, update it manually. Other examples of areas in which we're looking for improvement are the UX, how it looks and feels, new widgets which make life easier. There are various things, all over the tool. We're also looking for REST API enhancements because our IT guys are trying to add this and that by REST and it takes a long time and the response is low. Also, the error messages that might pop up if you're doing something by REST, they could be better. Micro Focus is paying attention and working on things actively. I've never seen a design partnership like this between companies. For both sides, it's very intense, it's very interesting, and it's a huge benefit for both sides. View full review »
Jennifer Plourde
Enabling Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
I work pretty closely with Micro Focus, particularly on ALM Octane. Right now we have a backlog of some 60 or 70 enhancement requests, varying in priority from very high to low. In general, there's a trend in our requests to have the ability to export data, en masse, out of Octane. There are capabilities within Octane to export data, but there are specifics around test suites and requirements and relations, as well as certain attributes, that we would like to be able to export easily out of Octane and into a database or Excel. One of the things that a lot of our project teams have complained about is the simplicity of reporting that's available in Octane, and that they have to export data out of it in order to create the types of reports that their PMO or their client wants to see. Octane provides solutions around OData, and integration into reporting tools, but what people really want is smart and good reporting, advanced reporting, within the tool. They don't want to have to go out to another tool for reporting. In general, we also have some requests to beef up the manual testing abilities and the ability to report on testing progress. All the basics are there, but there's an issue of maintainability. For example, one thing that we brought up to them recently was: Once you plan a test and it creates a run, more particularly a suite run, you can't edit the suite run afterward. It locks you in, and we're saying that that is not realistic with how people work. Mistakes are made and people are humans and we change our minds about things. So the tool needs to allow for a bit more flexibility in that testing area, as well as some better widgets to report on progress. View full review »
Steven Tompsett
CDA Engineer at Hastings
The reporting side of ALM Octane could do with a few areas of improvement. There is not enough flexibility in the way that we can cut up the data to report on certain things. For instance, with test information, we can't split that up by team, so it's quite difficult to see what coverage each team is currently working on. Some tech managers and scrum managers want to see the testing which going on within their team, but it is difficult to see. We only get a more holistic overviews of that. I come from a testing background, and think the testing could be improved. View full review »
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Timothy Leach
Senior Software Engineer with 10,001+ employees
The problem with Octane is that if I'm in ALM and I need to go into this Agile process, and I have been using Micro Focus ALM, when I go to Micro Focus Octane, all the things that are in ALM are not all working in Octane. For example, the template feature: When I manage projects that are being created in ALM, I have a standard template, but I don't have a template for them in Octane. I literally have to create the project from the ground up every time, which for an administrator, is a nightmare solution. It could take you upwards of two to three days to set up a project, and then you have to try and make sure it has all the same stuff as the previous projects. You literally have to have this massive checklist to make sure you create all the same fields, you put all the links, you put all the dropdowns to make sure all this stuff works for the projects. If I'm jumping from ALM to Agile, I'll go into Octane and create a new project template form, but I have to actually document creating that because I have to create every individual piece of that project - all the pages, all the fields, all the drop downs. I have to duplicate all the work, each time I have to add a new project in Octane. It's very complicated. When I set up new projects, it takes multiple days, and then it's fraught with mistakes, because it's a manual process for setting these things up. I have multiple people trying to do it and I'm going to have all kinds of errors Typically, for ALM, it takes any one of us minutes to create a new project. I can create a new project in about 15 minutes, at the most. And I can guarantee you the project that's created is identical to all the other projects that I have created, because it's a template. In Octane, I literally have to create every field value, every field, every form, every workflow, manually, each time, which always ends up with a problem. I've talked to them about it. They say it's on a list to be looked at. I would think that would need to be at the top of the list. Another issue is that one of the things I do is link all these things together. Octane has a Synchronizer tool. The only problem was, it didn't work with all the fields. They just upgraded it to work with multi-select fields. I haven't had a chance to test it yet. I worked with their engineers on this. I don't know how they could have not done this. There are not that many different field types that you would create. A text string or a single dropdown or a multi dropdown, or a numeric field. They had everything but the multi-select field. All the rest of them worked but multi-select didn't. In my projects, about one-third of my fields are multi-selects. When I tried to get the systems to work using Octane, I couldn't get them to work. I had to use another tool for the projects that needed multi-select. I put those projects in JIRA because JIRA worked. View full review »
Senior Expert IT Test Service Management at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
First, the Requirements Module could be better, to build up a better requirements process. There's a huge improvement from ALM.NET to Octane, but it's still not really facilitating all the needs of the product owners, to set up their requirements in Octane. Second, because JIRA is a leading tool for both development and requirements management - everybody is using JIRA - I'm pretty there will be a use case where people are trying to connect between ALM Octane and JIRA. The back-end configuration of the synchronization with JIRA could be simplified. The architecture is really complicated. We required a lot of machines to build the cluster and the configuration was not really clearly described within the documentation. This may have something to do with the fact that the software is pretty new. I addressed this with the vendor, but a solution was not really provided. However, I saw just today that they are creating a collaboration platform for people who are evaluating ALM Octane. That's a good start to facilitate this but, as I said, because the software is pretty new - it's only two or three years old - I expect that some things are not really completely optimized. I'm pretty sure it's going to be better in the future. View full review »
Gerd Fladrich
Test Manager at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
There is a lot of room to implement new things. I would like to have more possibilities for doing test automation directly in Octane or to see UFT scripts within Octane. The implementation within ALM of UFT was much better than in Octane because I can only see the results from our test runs in Octane, but not the test itself. With Gherkins in there, that's fine, but I do not really have a hand on the scripts themselves. I can follow the pipeline jobs in Jenkins, but I can't see what's really happening there. So I would like to have some more information about that in Octane. Also, while there is a Requirements Module in Octane, it is very plain. It's okay to have some requirements described there, but it's not really following the whole BDD approach. I would like to have more features for requirements in there; not as much as in ALM because in ALM it was a mess, it was too much. There is a whole lot of room to improve. View full review »
Venu Cherukuri
Lead Solution Architect at a Consumer Goods with 10,001+ employees
To the credit of Micro Focus, we are very actively working with their product management team and the R&D team as well. When we looked at this tool, inevitably we draw comparisons to, or parallels with, the HP ALM or the legacy ALM tool. From that perspective there are some features that we find are missing, probably for a valid reason: Because it's a next-generation tool, some of the legacy stuff has been removed, and it has a newly designed user-experience. But that being said, there is an opportunity to do a little more with the dashboarding. We still feel that HPE Quality Center/HPE ALM reporting is very powerful. We talked with R&D, and there are some things on their roadmap, but at the same time, their strategy is to connect Octane with visualization tools such as Power BI. Our perspective of the drawbacks or the limitations comes from drawing comparisons with HPE ALM. Some of those limitations are probably by design and for a reason. That being said, the product management and R&D teams are working very closely with us and we are giving them a lot of enhancement requests. View full review »
Test Community Manager at Orange
Globally, I don't see many major points of improvement. It's mostly plenty of little things, and it's weird to me that they are not in the product yet. They are really details, but they're annoying details. I'm sure all these features will be included in Octane in the following month or year because I talked with their R&D so I know they're working on it. But it's just awkward that some points are not there yet. Let me just give you an example. Today, in the tool, we've got plenty of assets we can handle, like requirements, user storage, defects, tasks and so on. And to all of those elements, we can add comments. We can add comments to any asset in Octane but not to tasks. It's just impossible to understand why it's not available for tasks because it's available everywhere else. Similarly, for attachments, you can attach files absolutely everywhere except for automated runs, which is, again, awkward. I don't understand why for this element, in particular, you cannot do it. It's little touches like that. The Kanban boards are pretty easy to use and easy to configure. The only thing is that you cannot set a specific color for a specific card, depending on the value of the field. It's a really simple feature, very easy to implement because I implemented it in some other tools that I wrote. So I know it's easy to do. It would be really nice to have that, from a user-experience point of view, but we don't have it yet. It's really little touches here and there that are missing. View full review »
Mike Smithson
ALM platform architect at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
Octane, from an administration perspective, is very limited. The application is improving with each release but what is missing is the ability to manage users and workspaces. I would also like "usable" reporting for more than a few workspaces. Also still missing is the ability to copy a workspace or get data in or out, except for limited REST calls. View full review »
Jason Shellman
Principal Consultant at SACS Inc
Improvements could be made by way of additional integrations across the lifecycle. View full review »
Find out what your peers are saying about Micro Focus, Atlassian, Microsoft and others in Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Suites. Updated: March 2020.
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