Friday, September 21, 2007

Integrating Mercury Testing Tools with IBM Rational ClearQuest defects (and/or IBM Rational RequisitePro requirements)

Many organizations use Mercury “testing tools” for Quality Assurance.  It is also common for organizations to use IBM Rational ClearQuest for defect tracking, and IBM Rational RequisitePro for requirements management.  As development processes mature, organizations eventually seek a way to achieve traceability between testing and the rest of their processes and artifacts (defects, enhancement requests, requirements, source code, and design artifacts).  This discussion will examine two options available for establishing and maintaining traceability between test implementation tools and IBM Rational ClearQuest and RequisitePro via a test management tool.

To understand the available options, it is necessary to first categorize Mercury’s “testing tools” by function: test management (TestDirector or QualityCenter), versus test implementation (QuickTest Professional, WinRunner, LoadRunner). The IBM Rational equivalents for test managemet are "standalone" Test Manager, or ClearQuest Test Manager (CQTM) which is part of Rational ClearQuest 7.0. For test implementation, the IBM Rational equivalents are: Rational Functional Tester, Rational Manual Tester, Rational Performance Tester, Rational Tester for SOA Quality, and (legacy) Rational Robot.

There are two options for bridging Mercury test implementation tools with the rest of the development process, and the choice between the two hinges on whether Mercury is used for test management. However, for organizations which utilize a mixed-vendor test implementation toolset and require official, validated and supported integrations between tools, there may be only one feasible choice.

Option 1: If an organization must use QualityCenter or TestDirector for test management, the only option is to use Mercury-provided synchronizers between test management and external tools.

Other tools (non-testing) Integration Test Management Integration Test Implementation
ClearQuest Mercury, Synchronizer QualityCenter or TestDirector Mercury, out-of-the-box QuickTest Pro, WinRunner, LoadRunner
RequisitePro Mercury, Synchronizer

Pro’s Con’s
Mature test management software Synchronization takes time, involves duplication of data; works for some companies, doesn’t work for others; breaks customized ClearQuest form behaviors; breaks UCM (Unified Change Management)
Free, tight integration between test management and test implementation Initial purchase and subsequent maintenance and support of test management tool is expensive
  Non-existent or unsupported integrations with IBM Rational test implementation tools.

Option 2:  The organization uses IBM Rational ClearQuest Test Manager (CQTM) for test management.

Other tools (non-testing) Integration Test Management Integration Test Implementation
ClearQuest None necessary ClearQuest TestManager(CQTM) Ring-Zero Test Adapters QuickTest Pro, WinRunner, LoadRunner
RequisitePro Rational, out-of-the-box

Pro’s Con’s
Free, tight integration between test management and RequisitePro requirements.  Free, ultra-tight integration between test management and ClearQuest defects, enhancements.  No synchronization is necessary. Less-mature test management software
Test management software is free, since it is built into ClearQuest. Expense of third-party (Ring-Zero Software) test adapters.
Free integration between test management and IBM Rational test implementation tools.  

Some organizations which have already made investments in Mercury test management software may consider migrating to ClearQuest Test Manager (CQTM).  In general, migration consists of exporting the hierarchy of test assets (test plan, test cases, test scripts) from the Mercury database and importing them into CQTM.  The level of effort necessary for migration may differ, depending on which particular Mercury test management tool features being used.  For example, if TestDirector is being used for requirements management, additional software (RequisitePro) and migration effort may be required.  However, the benefit of the additional need outweighs the costs: RequisitePro is useful for requirements at all stages in the development process, while TestDirector’s requirements management capability is confined to testing.

Learn more about the tools mentioned in this article:

IBM Rational Functional Tester
IBM Rational Manual Tester
IBM Rational Performance Tester
IBM Rational Tester for SOA
IBM Rational Robot
IBM Rational ClearQuest TestManager
HP Mercury QualityCenter
HP Mercury WinRunner
HP Mercury QuickTest Professional
Ring-Zero Test Adapters

Friday, July 27, 2007

Leveraging DOORS Requirements in a Distributed Environment

These days, organizations are increasingly mandated to have auditable, automated traceability which links requirements to development, change management, and testing.

However, globally distributed environments ("Global Development and Delivery", or GDD) are another prevalent trend. In a not-so-hypothetical situation, requirements are managed by a team in the United States. Development and testing may be performed elsewhere, sometimes in another city within the United States, but more often in an entirely different country.

If we examine the tools being used for the software development lifecycle, it's usually Telelogic DOORS or IBM Rational RequisitePro for requirements. Often IBM Rational ClearQuest is being used for change management. Mercury QuickTest Pro, Loadrunner, and Winrunner own the testing space.

For a distributed team to leverage requirements throughout the lifecycle, it needs to find a way to (a) allow distributed workers access to requirements, (b) allow teams to respond to changes in requirements, and (c) establish automated traces between requirements to other development artifacts: tests, defects, enhancement requests, etc.

Telelogic DOORS is hands-down the tool of choice for requirements management. It's a great tool for the task, but unfortunately it performs very poorly over the WAN. It doesn't have a great web interface. It doesn't have any sort of multi-site replication capabilities. In terms of training users, it can be a bit cryptic and hard to learn for new users or users who are generally used to working with Word documents for requirements. Lastly, it's extremely expensive -- prohibitively expensive for companies who have built globally distributed teams to save money on labor. These companies would save money on labor, but ultimately spend the difference and more on licensing.

Is Citrix the anwer? It seems to work fairly well for distributed teams who are just using Citrix for DOORS. However, Citrix costs money too. More importantly, tools which are running on a local desktop cannot integrate with tools being used through a remote desktop window.

Enter IBM Rational ClearQuest. It is fairly ubiquitous in organizations. It is extremely flexible and customizable. It has security contexts and such for controlling access to records. It has a decent web interface. As of Version 7.0, IBM has added free, built-in test management ("ClearQuest Test Management", or CQTM) capability. And... it has multi-site replication capabilities.

Ring-Zero Software ClearTrace for DOORS is absolutely the best way to tie everything together. One one level, it's a scaleable, bidirectional integration between IBM Rational ClearQuest and Telelogic DOORS. However, its value really becomes apparent when it is applied to the Global Development and Delivery paradigm. It leverages ClearQuest as a vehicle for distributing DOORS requirements to distributed teams, while also maintaining automated traceability between requirements and other artifacts. Users are actually interacting through ClearQuest, and interface they likely already know how to use. It doesn't require testers to install DOORS on their desktops or learn how to use DOORS. However, if they have DOORS installed locally, it leverages it as well. When ClearTrace for DOORS is combined with other Ring-Zero products, such as Test Adapter for Mercury QuickTest Pro or Test Adapter for WinRunner, it shines even more. These additional integrations allow users of Mercury's testing tools leverage DOORS requirements as well, and from the same familiar ClearQuest interface.

To learn more about these solutions, please visit Ring-Zero Software.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Integrating ClearQuest and DOORS

Aimed at IT shops using Telelogic DOORS for requirements management and IBM Rational ClearQuest for issue tracking, Ring-Zero Software has released an immensely useful integration between the two tools: ClearTrace for DOORS. Before ClearTrace, the integrations available were very weak: some were monstrosities which barely qualified as "integrations" (one can only assume they existed for sales opportunities which were contingent on satisfying a "checkbox"), while others were ultimately deemed unusable by many larger organizations.

Ring-Zero leveraged its many years of building bridges between DOORS and Rational Software tools, and has provided its customers with a high-quality integration which the industry was desperately in need of.

From the Ring-Zero web site:

ClearTrace is described as a system which integrates ClearQuest and DOORS together, rather than as a simple mechanism for creating links between the two, for two reasons: First, ClearTrace provides simple, native access to data from both DOORS and ClearQuest. When local clients for both are present, users can access cross-environment functionality. Second, ClearTrace has been designed to provide scaleable access to “real world” data volumes which may span multiple databases.

Visit Ring-Zero Software's website and read more about ClearTrace for DOORS: