On September 7, Raziel Tabib presented “New Features of HP Quality Center and Product Roadmap” in a Vivit Webcast. Raziel is a Sr. Product Manager in the HP ALM suite of products.
In this blog I review the webinar from an agile perspective. The complete Webinar along with Q&A is available as archived session for Vivit members. Note, that basic Vivit membership is free.
Raziel started the announcement with a big bang: The presentation content is no longer roadmap, but reality, “HP Quality Center 11 is available as of today”.
In this release HP sets the focus on the application lifecycle management (ALM) message. They even place an ALM product on the pricelist, “ALM 11.0”. It represents a suite of products that helps customers to manage their products along the entire lifecycle, e.g., Requirements Management, Development Management, Quality Management, Performance Management and Project Dashboard. This supports the agile perspective insofar as it provides a holistic view on all development activities.
One aspect of the holistic view is the integration into developer environments. QC 11 comes with an out-of-the-box integration into the eclipse IDE. Once a Sprint has started the developer can stay in his working environment – e.g. Eclipse IDE – and update user stories, tasks and defects. All changes will be reflected in HP QC. This integration provides a large potential to accept QC as an agile repository for the project. Overhead is minimized; no switching of tools (from developer perspective) once a Sprint has started.
Backlog management with QC 11 will be much more intuitive than before. The key to usability is a new feature named “custom ordering” in the requirements management module. With this long-awaited functionality it is now possible to drag a user story exactly to the position which represents its priority in the backlog. Prior versions of QC needed to use custom attributes and workflow programming in order to achieve that functionality.
A whole new set on reporting is available in Quality Center. From an agile perspective the possibility to integrate those reports into external web pages, like wiki-pages is the most interesting one. Now, teams can use their agile reporting environment of choice. QA managers can check-out their dashboards without the need to log into QC.
Manual testing is greatly enhanced by a new tool called “Sprinter” (any Scrum affiliation is purely coincidence J). Better screen usage, annotation possibilities, recording of test actions and parallel testing of multiple target systems summarize the new functionalities. Agile teams practicing “exploratory testing” will love that tool.
Side by side clients
Starting with HP QC 11 it is possible to have several client versions of QC on a single machine. While this isn’t an intrinsic agile feature it will contribute to a successful transition to agile development.
Agile teams can explore the newest HP QC 11 version with all of its features for agile teams. Still they can work with a different HP QC version in operation.
HP is taking the agile movement serious. Release after release they have added functionality to make life easier for agile teams. The only challenge for customers is that it is not that easy to see. Most of the features are just built-in enablers. With the exception of the agile accelerator experienced users are needed to turn these features into great agile solutions.