Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taking the hassle out of scheduling Automated Test Runs

Let's imagine you have a team of hot-shot QA gurus and they've taken the time to automate your test cases using TestComplete. Now let's imagine you want to take it to the next level, scheduling those automated tests to run at a particular time or a particular date. For example, let's imagine you want to schedule them to run automatically every week night at a 7 p.m so that you can check the run results when you get into the office first thing each day.
If you've had this need in the past, you probably created a batch job that launched TestComplete, sending it the Project Suite and Project you want to run. Then you had to create a Windows Scheduled Task to run that batch job at a particular date and time. This works fine, but what happens if you had set it up to run Monday, Wednesday and Friday, leave work on Tuesday and decide it would be great to have it run tonight because there were a lot of code committed today and you would like a retest. Unless you have a VPN connection to your office, you have to jump in the car and drive back to work.
If you've had this issue, you're gonna love this. This weekend (19-Dec-2010), we are implementing a new feature of Software Planner (QAComplete and ALMComplete editions) that allows you to schedule automated test runs via the web. Even cooler, you can see the run history in dashboards so that you can quickly see what things passed and failed. Since this is all web driven, you can do this from the luxury of your home without going into the office.
To illustrate how this works, we created a movie, you can watch it here:
For quick reference, here is what the scheduling screen looks like:

As automated tests run, they get posted to a dashboard that you can use to see what items pass and fail each day:

So take the hassles out of life -- explore the new Automated Test Scheduler. Oh, and by the way, it can also schedule HP QuickTestPro automated tests as well! Enjoy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Uncluttering your tasks using Task Boards

Most of us understand the complexity of software development. There are lots of moving parts, requirements to hash out, coding and testing to get done. With tons of tasks in a project, it can easily get overwhelming trying to figure out the status of what's on our plate and what things we've already completed.

Many Agile and iterative Waterfall teams have simplified this process by using Task Boards. If you've never used a Task Board, simplicity is what makes it interesting. A Task Board is simply a list of all the tasks a developer has to work on. It is normally divided into 3 columns:

1. To Do - List of things I've not started
2. In Progress -Things I am currently working on
3. Completed - Stuff I've completed

To utilize this, most teams simply use a whiteboard with sticky notes to identify these tasks, here is an example:

So as we begin working on things, we simply move the sticky notes to In Progress. Once we complete them, we move them to the Completed area. As new tasks come in, they go into the To Do column. By having this front and center for the team to see, we all know the status of our tasks.

After working with this a while, we thought it would be cool to have our Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) ( tool display Task Boards. So I asked my team to come up with a simple yet effective way of showing this online. They came up with a cool design. As a developer, you can access your Task Board and see all your tasks, just as you can by using a whiteboard. However, they took it a step further. For each task, they show:

1. What requirement it is related to
2. How many hours have been worked thus far
3. How many hours are left (and pct complete)
4. The critical dates (estimated start and finish dates)

They even extended it by showing any tasks that are due today in green and tasks that are overdue in red. That allows you to quickly spot the ones that might be slipping. This new feature is slated to go to production in ALMComplete ( sometime this month (December 2010). Here is a quick preview of what it looks like and here is a quick movie that shows how it works:

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Using Retrospectives to Improve Future Testing Efforts

This month's newsletter is delivered as an On-Demand webinar. It is the last in the 5 part series entitled "Uniting your Automated and Manual Test Efforts" and focuses on using retrospectives to improve future testing efforts.

Click here: to begin the presentation. You will learn:

1. What a retrospective is and how it can help your team improve
2. How to conduct a retrospective
3. How to improve future releases by applying what you learn in retrospectives

Friday, September 24, 2010

Software Planner New Release - version 9.4.2

We just issued a new release of Software Planner to production (Release 9.4.2) and it has several new features:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Optimizing your Test Efforts during the QA cycle

This month's newsletter is the 4th in a 5 part series entitled "Uniting your Automated and Manual Test Efforts". This month we focus on optimizing your Test Efforts during the QA cycle. The topic addressed are:
  1. How to determine how your QA cycle is progressing
  2. How to determine your defect resolution rate
  3. How to use metrics to determine the stability and production readiness of your software release.

You can see the newsletter at:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Uniting your Automated and Manual Testing

This month's blog is delivered as an on-demand webinar. It is the 3rd in a 5 part series and focuses on how to unite your automated tests with your manual test effort. To view the webinar:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pragmatic Software is Now SmartBear Software

Pragmatic Software is Now SmartBear Software

You may have heard of the other sister company, the original Smart Bear Software, the peer code review company that created CodeCollaborator. The new SmartBear now includes the old Smart Bear and of course AutomatedQA, which is well known for its TestComplete automated testing and AQtime performance profiling tools. (You may also know that TestComplete works exceptionally well with SoftwarePlanner for test case management).

How will this benefit our users?

For one, our community of users has grown to more than 75,000 software developers and testers with the formation of the new company. We look forward to helping you take advantage of this much larger SmartBear community for expert advice, more support, knowledge sharing and of course improved software quality. Keep an eye out as we start to share tips and tricks, white papers, and other best practices that we hope will help you produce better software.

The combined company is also much better equipped to push product development forward. We are already working on a bunch of new ideas that will not only make it easier for our products to work together, but also put great new functionality in the hands of our users. Stay tuned – you will hear much more from us about automated testing, test management, code review, performance profiling, and development management.

Why did we change our name?

As AutomatedQA, Smart Bear Software and Pragmatic Software worked together to become one company, we had to select a name that we felt reflected our brand values: to be community-focused and offer innovative tools that are highly functional and at the same time actually affordable. Also, now that we have tools that support the immediate needs of both, developers and testers, we needed a name that wasn’t tied to one particular type of product. So we and our sister companies chose the name of one of our very successful existing brands to represent us all going forward. We also think the name is a lot more fun and interesting than using two or three letter acronyms. We hope you like our decision!

Here’s the new logo:

What do you think? Just a few minor adjustments of the original Smart Bear logo, which we thought was pretty cool to begin with as well.

Visit our existing Community page to learn how you can follow us and communicate and share with one another as we continue to add to our products, enhance our web site, and grow our community involvement.

If you want more details regarding the announcement, click here, and stay tuned for some exciting product news in the days and weeks ahead.

Are you curious about all the other tools that are now part of the SmartBear family? Ever needed to increase your test coverage or find those annoying performance issues or memory leaks? Or even find issues before they become bugs through fast and pain-free code review?

Tell your friends, give them a try and check out any of our tools for free:

What’s your take on the New SmartBear? Let us know, leave us a comment, Tweet us or drop us a line.