Essential Tools for Remote Software Testing
Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - August 10, 2020
In 2020, remote testing is not just a buzzword that is only relevant for freelance testers or the occasional employee working from home once a month. Covid-19 has made remote testing the norm in the realm of software testing. Testers, both individuals and organizations are rightfully searching for remote working tools that will allow them to comprehensively test websites and apps while operating from their homes (or wherever they might be).
Naturally, this isn’t an easy transition. Working from home en masse has certainly never been attempted before, and now it is compulsory. Making this transition requires not just a change in organizational structure, but also a number of tools that will carry out pivotal functions: Team communication, Meetings, Project management, Time management, Design, Development, Writing & Editing, File sharing, etc.
This article will detail the features of ideal work from home apps in each category, as well as examples of each. This list is a comprehensive summation of the primary remote work tools every team or organization needs to achieve success when performing remote testing.
At the risk of repeating a cliche, communication is key. Remote testing requires much more communication than usual because it takes away people’s ability to walk up to a colleague’s desk or have a quick meeting in the conference room. As any team knows, day-to-day contact is absolutely essential to ensure smooth and efficient operations.
Email is not the best option here, since it usually entails delays and does not have the immediacy of instant chat. Email is especially unusable when interacting with multiple people. Everyone with a job is aware of how a misplaced “Reply All” can cause havoc.
Preferred Tool: Slack
Slack is a popular platform used for text chats and video calls between teams and individuals in professional settings. It has become exceptionally popular and is equipped with numerous useful features – file sharing, integrations with other remote working tools such as Jira and Google Calendar.
Slack also comes with a clean, intuitive design that makes it easy to navigate. Use it to ask and answer questions quickly, schedule one-on-one meetings or even have a bit of fun by creative non-work-related channels (food, film, anime, books, etc.). Slack offers hundreds of unique emojis, which come in handy when one has to get one’s point across (in non-professional discussions, of course).
Much like the previous point, this one deals with the question of communication while remotely located. Team meetings are obviously best conducted on video, and even with one-on-one meetings, video chats are usually faster and provide greater clarity on whatever issue is being discussed.
Video calls are also essential for interacting with customers, even when there is no pandemic. Not every customer is within driving distance, and every customer will consider themselves a priority if they are given video interaction for whatever issues they are facing.
Preferred Tool: Zoom
Zoom’s popularity is currently at meteoric levels. It is easy to use, allows real-time chat in the midst of video calls and presentations, allows robust screen sharing, offers calendar integrations, and, most interestingly, a set of virtual backgrounds and Touch-Ups.
Zoom is currently the go-to tool for video conferencing among organizations and individuals alike.
Even when in the office, project management is a massive challenge, especially for large teams. Managing a team’s tasks, coordination responsibilities, assigning deadlines, staying appraised about progress – is complicated even on the best of days.
When engaged in remote work, a robust project management tool is absolutely essential. The right tool will keep testing teams on track, allow managers to easily view individual progress, and assign tasks quickly. Additionally, the tool must be aligned with the industry, team functioning style, and team size.
Preferred Tool: Jira
Jira is designed specifically for agile development. It is perfect for planning, tracking, and reviewing individual and teamwork on a regular basis. It is especially useful for planning sprints, something agile development and testing processes swear by.
Just because someone is working from home does not mean they can set their own deadlines. They can certainly manage their own working hours, but they would still have to attend meetings and finish work in accordance with other colleagues’ priorities.
The more relaxed atmosphere of the home office (or, more realistically, the living room couch) needs to be managed with some measure of time management. One must track hours for client projects, track status updates, set recurring meetings to gather updates from teams, and so one.
Preferred Tool: Google Calendar
Google Calendar provides excellent features for managing one’s own schedule, as well as for coordinating with teams, customers, individual testers to set up and manage meetings, vacation time, work sessions, etc.
Use Google Calendar to maintain individual schedules as well as keep track of your colleagues’ schedules – so that any collaboration can occur at convenient times for both. Use shared calendars for team meetings, company-wide events (town hall meetings), birthdays, work anniversaries, etc. Do all of this with a few clicks, and ensure that everyone’s time is valued and put to optimal use.
Most software tests require multiple testers working on the same project. One has to ensure that simultaneously pushed code does not overlap, and everyone knows who wrote what batch of code so that if a bug shows up, that particular developer can fix their work.
Preferred Tool: GitHub
GitHub is primarily used for version control, keeping track of changes made to code, and labeling or leaving comments on files or code batches. Use it to create and work with code repositories or folders. A team can use GitHub to easily view, share, and collaborate.
GitHub’s best feature is that it prevents users from accidentally overwriting someone else’s code. It also keeps a history of changes, so testers can see how the code has been generated to its final state.
Most testing teams already use GitHub for the above-mentioned purpose. Transitioning into remote work really does not require much change in how GitHub is used, which makes things easier.
Writing and Editing
Why do testers need software for writing and editing? Well, apart from the email and chat side of things, testing teams and companies often have marketing teams that have to write and edit blog posts, customer-facing messages, support documentation, memos, and the like. A tool to ensure that content is written will help a great deal.
Preferred Tool: Grammarly
Grammarly serves as an online “writing assistant” that identifies grammatical errors and offers suggestions for improving words, phrases, and passages. Grammarly performs style checks through an analysis of the text’s tone and clarity. It is an extremely useful tool to have at hand, especially when crafting messages to superiors.
File sharing is essential in all situations, whether working from office or home. There really is no need for assigning space and effort to paperwork if its digital counterpart can be used. Files need to be shared quickly, safely, and simply. As far as possible, the file sharing service should also consume minimal internet bandwidth.
Preferred Tool: Google Drive
Google Drive allows for online storing and sharing of digital files. It enables the sharing of various file types – docs, Sheets, Slides. What more, one can enable real-time editing and changes to the content of Google Drive files – no back and forth required.
One can use Google Drive to do the following:
- Access files online and offline as well as from mobile devices.
- Rearrange files according to project and priority
- Determine sharing permission of singular documents and folders to ensure that only the right people have access to the necessary content.
Since we are talking about remote testing, the most essential tool is one that allows testers to run tests as a team. This means that instead of running tests on individual plans, teams can get on a test plan that allows them to work together.
Preferred Tool: Live for Large Teams
BrowserStack’s Live for Large Teams allows QA managers and senior professionals to add as many users as they want to a single testing plan. This means that every tester on a team can work on a single plan. Additionally, Live for Large Teams provides the following features:
- Unlimited Users: Add as many users as you like. Give access to as many users as you like at affordable pricing. No need to share accounts.
- Advanced Access Control: Create sub-teams, customize dashboard views, and allocate parallel threads to teams based on their testing needs.
- Single Sign-On: Simplified login experience. Integrate with your existing identity provider for authentication.
- Real Device Access: Every tester on a plan (no matter how many) will be able to test on 2000+ real browsers and real devices. No emulators. Legacy versions are also available.
- Personal Device Cloud: Instant access from anywhere for every tester on the team. Real-time debugging with integrated dev tools.
- Real user conditions: GPS and IP geolocation(test websites from over 45+ countries), Natural gestures, Screen Orientation
Live for Large Teams allows users to test from anywhere at any time. It is ideal for remote testers because it lets every tester access BrowserStack work from anywhere, collaborate with integrations like Jira, Slack, GitHub, and Trello. With instant access to 2000+ browsers and devices, Dev and QA teams can focus on testing without worrying about the availability of devices.
It also provides fast feedback for every developer, since they can reproduce and debug on any mobile device.
Additionally, it is extremely cost-effective for large testing teams because of lower per-user pricing. QA managers can lock in a price initially, and keep adding users with no extra cost.
These work from home apps are essential for the success of remote testing, especially in teams. With the right tools, testers can test, collaborate, manage projects, and do everything necessary to finish projects with speed and accuracy. Incorporate work from home software into a remote testing structure, and the results will speak for themselves.