How important is JIRA Tool for QA Software Testing Professionals?

Many IT companies nowadays adopt agile project management methodology to deliver custom software applications within a short amount of time. Agile project management methodologies emphasize on continuous planning, continuous testing, and continuous integration. In an agile environment, QA professionals need to perform a variety of testing repeatedly and consistently. Hence, they need specialized tools and frameworks to evaluate the software efficiently in an agile environment.

Most software testing tools come with features to simplify and speed up test case development and execution. Also, these tools are not developed by keeping in mind the varying requirements of agile software testing. Atlassian JIRA is designed specifically as an agile software testing. The commercial testing tool is used widely by QA professionals for tracking environmental and project level issues in addition to bugs and defects in agile environments.

As an agile software testing framework, JIRA is designed based on three key concepts — issue, project and workflow. An issue can be anything — software bug, task, help-desk ticket or enhancement request — which is created and tracked with JIRA, whereas a project is a collection on issues. At the same time, workflow refers to the series of steps an issue goes through from the time of project planning to completion. JIRA further comes with a number of features to meet varying requirements of agile QA teams.

Features that Make JIRA Essential for Each Software Testing Professional

Treat Anything as an Issue

JIRA allows users to refer to treat anything as an issue. Hence, the QA professionals can easily treat a software bug, project management issue, or enhancement request as an issue. They can further create new issues simply by clicking on the relevant button, along with adding important attributes like summary, priority, due date, components, affected versions, fix versions, and assignees.

Option to Categorize and Link Issues

While creating a new issue, the QA professionals can specify its type. For instance, they can label a specific issue as a bug, task, new feature or improvement. In an agile environment, the testers can even label an issue as story or epic. A story can be any requirement that must be tracked throughout the project, whereas epic is a collection of stories. The testers even have option to link the issues to specific components or version of the software. These features help QA professionals to differentiate similar issues and track each issue more efficiently.

Option to Clone Original Issues

In addition to linking issues to specific projects, the QA professionals also have option to clone the original issues seamlessly. In an agile environment, the testers can take advantage of this feature to enable multiple users to access and manipulate a single issue simultaneously. They can further accommodate the changes made by multiple users seamlessly by connecting the cloned issue to the original issue. They can even differentiate the cloned issues from original issues by a number of key attributes.

Scrum and Kanban Boards

As an agile software testing framework, JIRA enables testers to use both scrum boards and kanban boards. In an agile environment, a QA professional can use scrum boards to focus on iterative and incremental chunks of work. Likewise, kanban boards help users to reduce cycle times and increase output delivery by monitoring the workflow and making the next task visible to various member of the team. At the same time, the QA professionals can make changes to both scrum and kanban boards according to specific needs of the project.

Several Filters, APIs and Add-ons

The QA professionals can easily extend and customize JIRA by downloading a variety of plug-and-play add-ons from the Atlassian Marketplace. Likewise, they can use specific APIs to integrate JIRA seamlessly with other software development and testing tools used by professionals in an agile environment. The testing professionals can even write custom filters the JIRA Query Language (JQL). These options make it easier for QA professionals to integrate JIRA smoothly with other widely used frameworks and tools.

Facilitate Data-Driven Decision Making

The project managers can avail the robust agile portfolio management tool provide by JIRA to create a real-time agile portfolio plan for multiple projects. They can further create the agile portfolio plan with a single roadmap, and make it visible to different teams. The tools can also be used manage resources, analyze multiple scenarios, and forecast software release date. The project managers can further generate graphic reports to monitor the status of ongoing projects and convey test results clearly to other stakeholders in the project.

Generate a Variety of Reports

The testers can use JIRA to generate a variety of reports with real-time data and actionable insight. They can use the tool to create reports that depicts statistics of various fields within an issue. The tool can be used to create reports that convey recently created issues, resolution time, average age of issues, time tracking and user workload. The agile reporting feature further makes it easier for software QA testing professionals to convey test results clearly and efficiently to other stakeholders in the project.

The software testers also have option to deploy JIRA software in a number of ways — server, data centre and cloud. Hence, they can easily deploy and scale the agile testing platform according to the available infrastructure. Also, they can save money by picking the right annual subscription plan based on the number of users and preferred deployment option.