HP ALM/QC – A Testing Tool to look for!

Testing ToolsAutomation TestingSoftware Testing

HP ALM is an Application Lifecycle Management software by Hewlett Pawkward. It is a test management tool which covers almost everything which is a part of Test Management Process. The tool has gracefully upgraded itself within the due course of time. It has covered a long journey from being a Test Director to HP ALM, today. It is currently the best tool to cover most of the testing activities and provides a report on almost everything.

Over time, this tool has been renamed multiple times, from “Test Director” to Quality Center (QC) and now to HP ALM (for Application Lifecycle Management). Along with the name, different modules within the tool has also changed. It gives the control of the management related to Requirements Gathering, Test Plans, Test Execution, and Defects in a single system along with the reporting throughout the system. HP ALM can very easily integrate itself with various other test automation tools like Winrunner, HP Loadrunner, HP QTP etc.

Unique Features

HP ALM is a tool which is the most reliable and most popular in the industry. It does provide complete alignment with the testing process and it is very easy to manage and use. It is a web-based test automation tool and can be launched using Internet Explorer. It integrates easily with various other popular automation tools. It also gives you a centralized control over the entire testing life cycle. It gives an easy interface to manage and organize activities like Requirements coverage, Test Case Management, Test Execution Reporting, Defect Management, and Test Automation, all in one screen.

HP ALM allows the customization till a great level by permitting to modify the workflow and identification of mandatory and optional fields in each workflow. It also allows the end users to create user-defined fields at the project level.

HP ALM comes with some great add-ins, which makes the tasks of a tester quite easier. The two add-in test cases can be written using MS Excel or using MS Word. Using these add-ins, the tester can easily write the test cases in the traditional way and can upload the same very easily in the HP ALM.

From testing life cycle perspective, all the modules of HP ALM are nicely interlinked and inter-dependent. This method helps in extracting seamless reports as per the requirements. The permutation and combination of reports, which can be fetched from the HP ALM is quite extensive. The graphs and charts provided by HP ALM for reporting seems pretty clean and clear. This tool also provides a feature of live analysis, in which the managers can keep on checking the status of execution of test cases in their window while the test execution is going on.

It also has review capabilities and review comments which can be provided within the test cases and can be tracked accordingly.

Some Limitations

HP ALM has come through a long journey since, from Test director days in 1995 to today’s HP ALM in 2016. In this journey, with time and changing technology, ALM has kept on improving itself. In the latest version, they have integrated the mobile testing methodology. Still, a lot of things needs to be improved to make it an ideal testing tool.

  • Manual effort − HP ALM has eliminated a lot of manual effort and allows file uploads and easy integrations. Still, there are a lot of sections within the modules where the manual entries are required to be made.
  • Layout − HP ALM allows a great deal of customization of the layout but still there are some limitation related to field types, for instance, the option of checkbox style seems missed out. From the layout perspective, the end user is stuck with two column layout for test cases, that cannot be altered.
  • Browser Dependency − A big drawback of HP ALM is the dependency on the Microsoft Internet Explorer as the launching pad. The ALM trial version can be accessed only via Internet Explorer 11 or above. If you need to use the HP ALM or Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, then you need to install the IE 11 plug-in available on the HP ALM site.
  • Performance − Over the time, it is noticed that HP ALM works pretty slow over the long distance network. The geographically distributed projects face quite many issues because of the low speed by the tool. It is faced by multiple projects, that the tool keeps on hanging and crashes quite often, that makes it very difficult for users to work on the same.
  • Tracking Reviews − The review of test cases can be done within the test cases and the comments for the same can be provided there itself. But, there is no capability to track the review comments via reporting module. You need to cross check the closure of the review comments manually for each test cases.
  • Pricing − HP ALM is one of the costliest software in its category. The trial versions are available for a specified period of time but if you really want to use it, then you need to buy the licenses, which is a costly affair.

If we look at the overall picture, we can say that the HP ALM tool is having far more features and functionalities to justify the ranking it deserves. It has few weaknesses but still the positive points in favour of the tool overshadows these few weaknesses. Although, we do wish some improvements from these negative perspective should be soon suggested in the upcoming versions of HP ALM.

We can close it by saying that HP ALM is pretty good platform and the best test automation tool we have today. But it’s not flawless and many organizations.

Updated on 20-Jan-2020 13:04:36