It’s 2022 and You’re Still Testing with Excel?!?

Are you still testing with Excel?

Are you still using Word and Excel for test management? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. However, you do need to accept that testing with Office is killing your productivity and reducing testing time.

Nowadays, software quality is more important and harder to achieve than ever. Modern software solutions can consist of myriad integrated systems, on hybrid infrastructure, with multi/omnichannel front ends.

Testing these projects with Office is making the job harder than it needs to be, and removing valuable testing time 

Maybe you’re using Office because you’re worried about cost? I’ve got good news, modern test management solutions are more affordable than ever, and will produce strong and rapid ROI.

Plus, tools like ALM Octane and Quality Center allow you to easily import Excel and Word based tests. This means there’s very little effort to switch.

Moving to a proper test management tool is quick and easy. Once you make the change, you’ll never look back.

Why Office Is The Wrong Choice For Test Management

Seriously, it doesn’t take an expert to realise this is the wrong option. Test management tools are highly specialised solutions that make the job easier. Office, on the other hand, is only a slight step up from pen and paper. It’s just not built for the job. 

Of course, if you've tried to use MS Office to test, you won't need me to tell you the problems it will cause. Here are just a few issues you will run into if you test your software with Word and Excel:

  • Your test results are hard to find
  • You have no overall view of quality
  • There's no consistency - Your assets are fragmented and lacking standards
  • Reporting becomes a major overhead - Even then you can't get the depth and detail you need as quickly as you want
  • Test Automation is impossible
  • Exploratory testing takes so much time that it becomes unfeasible
  • You can't easily see trends or patterns
  • There's no traceability
  • Audits become a nightmare
  • Your assets are always out of date
  • Whole test packs can go missing
  • Impractical to use in modern home/hybrid working
  • Most people won't be able to view your results

In 2022, Testing with Word And Excel is Dangerous 

Let's be honest, Word and Excel were never suitable test tools, but today they're just not fit for purpose.

20 years ago, you might have been able to get away with using Office to test. With waterfall, the pace was slower, and you had more time to test, and your solution was internal. Any live defects could be managed or worked around.

Nowadays you don't have that luxury, most systems are either customer-facing themselves or connected to customer-facing systems. 

Free isn’t Really Free

It’s easy to assume that Excel and Word will save you money. After all, you already have the tools.

Well, if you are tempted down this route, think again. Using Office to test will cost you more in wasted time alone. The diminished productivity more than outweighs the relatively low cost of professional test management tools.

A hairdresser could use kitchen scissors to cut your hair, but he would lose business pretty quickly. Free tools aren’t always the right tools.

Just Getting Away With Defects is Not Good Enough

Regardless, the ability to get away with defects is not where any software project wants to be. We all know that dramatic defects can devastate reputations, but even smaller defects can have long-lasting consequences.

The more you get away with defects, the more you build technical debt. This poor quality software creates so much extra work, slows down your release frequency and makes innovation increasingly difficult. You'll end up shackled, limited by your ability to change.

Your systems should be better than that.

The Benefits of Using Proper Test Management Tools

If you're using Office for test management then upgrading to a professional test tool is a sure-fire way to increase your software quality, ensure consistency, and reduce test timelines. Plus, it will make the team more productive and therefore create a return on investment.

In fact, when it comes to quality improvement, nothing else will give you a greater bang for your buck.

With proper test management tools, you can expect:

  • Centralised test assets
  • Easy access results
  • A single location to view overall enterprise quality
  • Consistency across all assets
  • One-click reporting and dashboards
  • Easy adoption of test automation when you’re ready
  • Exploratory testing sessions are automatically recorded
  • Easily visible trends or patterns
  • Audits are a cinch
  • Complete traceability
  • Assets are kept up to date with built-in functionality
  • Test packs that won’t go missing
  • A perfect solution for modern home/hybrid working
  • test results you can share with anyone who needs them

Not only that, but the leading test management tools allow you to import tests from Word and Excel.

This gives you a quick ramp-up and removes duplicated effort.

Jira is Not a Test Tool

Also, its worth pointing out that Jira is not a proper test management tool. A lot of companies try to use Jira for testing, but it ends up costing more in time and effort. While Jira is great for developers, it’s not ideal for testers.

Test management tools offer a strong and rapid ROI

If you think that getting the budget will be a challenge, then have a look at our guide to building the business case and securing the budget you need.

Professional Enterprise-Grade Test Management Tools Are Cheaper Than You Think

Professional, enterprise-grade test tools are cheaper and better than ever, and they will more than pay back your investment. 

Tools like Quality Center are perfect for traditional/waterfall projects, and tools like ALM Octane help facilitate Agile/DevOps and hybrid developments. When you factor in SaaS licenses, these tools become easier and more affordable than ever.

Test Management Tools Offer Broad and Seamless Integrations

Not only do these tools streamline and standardise your software quality management, but they also integrate with your development software. 

QC and Octane provide an aggregated and centralised view across your entire development landscape. Your whole project can easily assess overall quality. These tools highlight pain points and let you focus your effort where it's most needed. 

When you use a proper test management tool, testing goes from a box-ticking chore to a strategic weapon

How To Choose a Better Test Management Option

I’ve spoken with many test managers, and they all agree, having their ‘finger on the pulse’ is vital.

With proper test tools, a detailed view of testing is only a couple of mouse clicks away. Next time the programme manager walks past and asks how is testing, you can show him in seconds. This can be priceless.

Office is a bad option, there’s no other way to describe it. Trying to manage testing through Excel and Word is like trying to eat soup with chopsticks.

If you are tempted to look beyond the MS office to test, then get in touch with us today. We’ll put you on the right track.

We can arrange demos of QC and Octane, both of which are much better options. 

They are fully loaded, feature-rich and enterprise-ready. Professional test management tools that will knock your socks off. Not only that, but they will probably cost much less than you think.

Stephen Davis
by Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis is the founder of Calleo Software, a Micro Focus (formerly HPE Software) Gold Partner. His passion is to help test professionals improve the efficiency and effectiveness of software testing.

To view Stephen's LinkedIn profile and connect 

Stephen Davis LinkedIn profile

11th January 2022

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