October 9, 2017

The 9 QA Testing Tools You Can Use to Make Your Team More Productive

Trevor on October 9, 2017 in Inside Tips

Let’s start with a basic question: why do tools matter?

Well, it all comes down to the basic realization that tools take a small amount of work and turn that into a lot of results. It doesn’t take much to lift a hammer, but when you let it fall the effort you exerted is amplified into something greater than you could have produced with your bare hands.

The same is true of the tools your QA team is using. You could, of course, avoid using any tools at all, relying on your memory to keep track of the bugs you encounter on the device you’re testing. But the truth is that this will only get you so far.

That’s why it’s important to know that there are tools out there that can help elevate your levels of productivity. These aren’t necessarily “QA tools,” but we know from first-hand experience that if used in a QA testing environment, they’ll change how you work and bring you to an entirely new realm of efficiency.

QA Testing Tools That Boost Productivity

Tool #1: Asana

How They Pitch Themselves: “Asana is the easiest way for teams to track their work—and get results. Responsibilities and next steps are clear, so you can shoot for the moon—and get there. From companies with off-the-charts growth to local businesses and non-profits, teams love Asana.”

The QA Master’s Take: Asana is a mainstay in the world of productivity tools, but there is one killer feature that makes it useful for QA testing teams: cloning. You can go into Asana, create a task for a specific test you need to perform, and then fill that task with sub-tasks for each step of the test. Then, every time you need to complete that test, you just clone the task and check off each sub-task as you complete it. It’ll help keep you on schedule and focused.

Where To Get It: Here

Tool #2: Pomodoro

How They Pitch Themselves: Unlike our other suggestions, the Pomodoro technique isn’t just one company, but more of a way of approaching work itself. That being said, the publication Lifehacker is a big proponent of the technique and describes it thus:

“The Pomodoro Technique can help you power through distractions, hyper-focus, and get things done in short bursts, while taking frequent breaks to come up for air and relax. Best of all, it’s easy. If you have a busy job where you’re expected to produce, it’s a great way to get through your tasks.”

The QA Master’s Take: As the article explains, the Pomodoro technique can help eliminate distractions and bring you to a new level of focus. As it relates to QA testing, this is invaluable, as it means that you can churn through dozens of tests in a single day, without feeling the adverse side effects of burning out.

Where To Get It: You can find a simple Pomodoro timer here.

Tool #3: JIRA

How They Pitch Themselves: “Jira Software is the project management tool for agile teams. Agile teams can stay focused on delivering iterative and incremental value, as fast as possible, with customizable scrum boards.”

The QA Master’s Take: Like with Asana, JIRA is a mainstay of the productivity tool space. However, where it is differentiated is with its high usage among engineers and developers. In other words, the very people that are going to read your documentation on the results of QA tests will be able to see those results if stored in JIRA.

Where To Get It: Here

Tool #4: Slack

How They Pitch Themselves: “Where Work Happens – When your team needs to kick off a project, hire a new employee, deploy some code, review a sales contract, finalize next year’s budget, measure an A/B test, plan your next office opening, and more, Slack has you covered.”

The QA Master’s Take: Communication is essential to any successful team, no less with QA teams. Slack does this and more by allowing you to not only communicate with stakeholders, but also to bring the results of tests right into the conversation through its excessively well-documented API.

Where To Get It: Here

Tool #5: Dropbox

How They Pitch Themselves: “Boost productivity with Dropbox Business. The secure file sharing and storage solution that employees and IT admins trust.”

The QA Master’s Take: Dropbox is so well-known that it’s almost not worth recommending, if not for one feature. When you take a screenshot on an Apple computer, you can enable Dropbox to automatically save it, allowing you to share any screenshots of bugs or issues with any other team member in seconds.

Where To Get It: Here

Tool #6 1Password for Teams

How They Pitch Themselves: “1Password Teams gives you full control over who has access to your team’s most important information. Now you can share the simple security of 1Password with everyone.”

The QA Master’s Take: Keeping track of your team’s many test accounts is no small task (no pun intended), so make sure you have a dedicated place to store all of these usernames, emails, and passwords. That’s where 1Password for Teams comes in.

Where To Get It: Here

Tool #7: IFTTT

How They Pitch Themselves: “IFTTT is a free platform that helps you do more with all your apps and devices.”

The QA Master’s Take: IFTTT is well-known for its ability to connect services that otherwise don’t work together, which is especially helpful for QA teams. Trying to test how your service works when connected to a third-party? Here’s a great way to find out.

Where To Get It: Here

Tool #8: iMacros

How They Pitch Themselves: “Automate Tasks Across All Major Browsers Including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. iMacros web automation software works with every website to make it easy for you to record and replay repetitious work.”

The QA Master’s Take: Regression tests are rarely fun, which is why iMacros is so useful. Using a simple interface, you can simulate what happens during a monotonous regression test, without having to actually perform the test yourself.

Where To Get It: Here

Tool #9: RainforestQA

How They Pitch Themselves: “Rainforest QA unleashes the full potential of fast-moving development teams. Code more and ship faster with the only AI-powered Crowdtest Platform built for agile testing and development. Rapidly execute high-quality regression, functional and exploratory testing for web and mobile apps.”

The QA Master’s Take: Nothing boosts productivity more than having incredibly specific tasks written down for a mass of people to perform. RainforestQA delivers exactly that, at a low price point to boot.

Where To Get It: Here

A Word of Caution

You may be wondering: why do they have a picture of physical tools when they are talking about productivity tools? Well, there’s a simple answer: standardization.

You see, if someone came to you and said, “I have a new tool that’s like a normal hammer, but it only works with our proprietary nails, our proprietary nails only work with this hammer, and you can only buy the hammer and nails from us,” you’d probably shake your head at such a harebrained scheme. Sure, the grip on the hammer is nicer, but it’s not worth the hassle of getting locked into their environment. The same is true with screwdrivers, wrenches, and most other physical tools. There’d need to be a pretty big benefit to buying into a proprietary ecosystem.

The same is true of productivity tools. Before you decide to spend thousands of dollars onboarding your team to a new way of working, you should make sure that you aren’t going to regret the decision down the road when you outgrow your solution. That’s not to say that the applications and services we listed above are going to cause you problems down the road, but coming from a vantage point of experience we know that taking the long-term view to working with any tool is well worth the few moments you spend contemplating the future.

The worst case scenario is that you spend a few moments thinking about something that doesn’t happen, while the best case scenario is that you avoid the pain that comes with getting locked into a tool you no longer want to use. Which would you rather have?