Your test management platform allows you to create test cases and assign them to testers. It makes it easy to analyze your results.

But it doesn’t help you manage all of your testing resources in one place, and that’s a huge problem.

In today’s world of online, remote work and the rise of the gig economy, distributed testing is not only widespread—but it also provides countless benefits to product and engineering teams (including faster releases).

In this post, we explore the common features of a test management platform, as well as what they lack. Plus, we introduce a way to ensure more holistic testing management and execution.

Standard features in a test management platform

A test management platform is software designed to help you plan and execute your test runs. Most include features for both manual and automated testing. Here are some of the core features.

Plan test runs

With a test management platform, you can strategize your upcoming test runs. You can determine which features will be tested using exploratory, usability, or real device testing for example and which will be covered with automated testing.

Create and manage test cases

Another key feature is the creation of test cases. Your test management platform likely has a test case template to help you remember every detail to add to your functional test cases. Common fields include a test case name, description, preconditions, steps, and an expected result.

You can assign test cases to testers and tie them to other test cases and groups to make it easier for testers to prioritize their approach and test cases.

Allocate resources and adjust workloads

Most test management systems not only allow you to assign testers to specific cases, but they also make it easier to get a bird’s eye view of how you’re allocating your resources. You can review each user’s workload to make sure that there isn’t one tester with a huge stack of cases and one who has very few assigned to them.

You can check the workload with other testing-related projects as well, such as prioritizing issues or running an automated test, not just functional cases.

Track issues

Of course, you need to keep track of any issues discovered via testing and ensure that valid issues get sent to your development team. Your test management software should integrate with your issue tracker so you can prioritize issues, combine any duplicates or related issues, and deliver quality issues to developers.

Analyze results

Your test management system likely includes analysis and reporting features. You should be able to dive into all of the following:

  • Test runs – Review stats for each test run, like how many tests passed and how many failed.
  • Problem features – Uncover problematic features that are more prone to breakage across multiple testing cycles.
  • Product coverage – Identify gaps in product coverage and validate coverage before a testing cycle.
  • Result comparison – Compare results from different test cycles to see how your results have changed after feature updates.
  • Test case changes – Review any changes made to your test cases by other QAs to verify their accuracy before a test run.

While it’s true that a test management platform will typically have all of these core features, there are some big gaps in functionality.

What most test management platforms lack

Your test management platform doesn’t make it easy for you to manage your external resources and internal employees all in one place.

Collaboration between internal employees and external testers

Internal personnel and external testing resources are working in two different siloes. Crowdsourced testing vendors will operate in a completely different environment, making it a challenge to coordinate and consolidate testing efforts.

Ability to get additional testing resources on demand

Not only do test management platforms make it impossible to integrate your internal and external resources, but they also don’t help you access more external resources. What do you do when you have a new feature to test and not enough testers? You’re stuck considering crowdsourced testing, which oftentimes relies on unsupervised testers from a marketplace.

Fortunately, there is a solution, and that’s collective testing — a blended team approach integral to networked testing.

Why collective testing matters

Collective testing allows you to work with both internal personnel and external testers. This collaboration can take many forms:

  • Divide and conquer for test coverage – Maybe you simply need a burst of testing resources. You can have various team members (including roles such as product managers, engineering managers, engagement managers, quality managers, testing managers, etc.) divvy up the tests between your employees and your external testers.
  • Internal QA manager assigns test cases to external testers – If you’re a small QA team of one or two people and you always need external support, then a collective testing platform can help your QA manager work with your freelance testers.
  • External QA leader assigns test cases to internal and external testers – You might hire a vendor that offers end-to-end software testing and QA management. In this case, the external QA leader can assign test cases to your internal team as well as the external freelancers who are part of your distributed testing network.
  • Keeping internal code secure – One of the great things about collective testing is that you can strategically choose who does what. You can make sure that only employees have access to internal code, and that your external resources work on exploratory testing of existing features.
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How to manage internal and external testing resources under one roof

To manage your internal and external QA resources under one roof, you need a platform that supports collective testing.

A collective testing platform includes:

  • Test run planning
  • Test case creation and management
  • Allocating resources and adjusting workload across internal employees and external test teams
  • Tracking issues and integrating with your issue tracker
  • Analyze results across all QA efforts by your entire distributed team

When you have a collective testing platform, the need for legacy, internal-only, standalone test management platforms disappears. You can move all of your testing efforts to a single unified platform where you can manage your in-house resources and acquire skilled freelance QA services on demand.

Testlio’s platform enables clients to extend software test run participation to their employees—while relying upon Testlio’s best-in-industry network of 10K+ expert, freelance testers. Request a free demo today.

Dayana is a QA engineer turned technology writer living in Milan, Italy. She's always down for a smoothie.