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Rational Quality Manager 2.0 – The Center of the QA Universe

At the Rational Software Conference 2009 in June, I busted the common myth that there was no center of the universe by proposing that Rational Quality Manager was the center and core of all things important for software quality. Our team has been busy over the past few months. The key driver for Rational Quality Manger 2.0 was feedback we derived from customers. The feedback told us that we needed to be more usable and provide you greater time-to-value for Rational Quality Manager so you can realize your return on investment sooner. You also asked for assistance on making decisions on what to test when time is short in a test cycle.

Now let me introduce Rational Quality Manager 2.0 to you — the new center of your test universe. As stated above, this release was driven by customers as we prioritized what was done based on your feedback. We simplified for the novice user and we also raised the level to fulfill management needs. This allowed us to accelerate the usage learning curve to provide faster time-to-value for the test organizations using Rational Quality Manager. Automations of repetitive tasks and reuse of artifacts will save organizations time and money, resources they can use to drive more quality into their products. Quality must be addressed upstream, early on, as we have always advocated in our own best practices: Test Early and Test Often.

One of the biggest concepts from customers was to “let a computer be a computer”. This is a concept of smart automations that will continue to drive Rational Quality Manager forward. One example of this is the cost of duplicate defects (once a duplicate is in the system, it takes an average of four to ten hours to determine that a duplicate even exists). Research done by IBM GBS has shown that if we could prevent duplicates, an average of $175,000 a project could be saved. So we provided the ability to search for derived related effects as you submit a defect in order to help you determine if it is a duplicate before entering into the system from Rational Quality Manager. Other smart automations include time saving features like copying a test case description to a manual test script when first creating the script, creation of stubbed test cases from requirements, and scheduling of activities initiated even from a build completion trigger.

We also have to provide mechanisms to allow consumers to make prioritized decisions early in their test process by leveraging concepts like risk based testing. In risk based testing, attributes of test artifacts are associated with risk thresholds, which are scored to help you prioritize your testing efforts as release cycles get more and more compressed. The goal here is to focus your efforts on the right things. When you capture this information in the system, you can more easily determine what to prioritize when two weeks are suddenly chopped off your test schedule, instead of scrambling to determine what you can’t test. You help yourself make those decisions via your process and risk scores.

Leveraging the context of Application Lifecycle Management and tying Rational Quality Manager into the Collaborative ALM initiative gives organizations the traceability between artifacts for the application lifecycle, the ability to provide not only team collaboration but organizational collaborations. Imagine this scenario: A completed build triggers a deployment of a test environment and executes tests that had previously identified defects in that same environment; then imagine receiving an automatic report telling you the defects that were retested. Imagine the time you’ve saved to focus on quality and to run other tests.

We bring this all together for customers with reports, dashboards, and metrics. Reports are your test organization’s primary deliverable to management. The reports provide status to management and drive the test team activity — Are we done testing? How much more do we have left to do? What is the overall quality of the product we are building? Adopting measures that align with MCIF allows us to continue to promote best practices to organizations and provide them the ability to not only focus on quality at the practitioner level but to communicate their overall quality status to all interested parties.

I would also like to call your attention to the online version of help for Rational Quality Manager, as it contains additional content from the version installed with your product. You have several options for viewing this additional content.

Now we want to hear more from you. If you have opinions on how we should evolve Rational Quality Manager, please submit an enhancement request! Let’s take advantage of the transparency of and take Rational Quality Manager to the next level.

Brian Massey
Product Manager Team Lead