Essential Tools for Remote Software Testing
Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - August 10, 2020
Updated on: September 16, 2022
Post-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 working with 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 after Covid, it has become a new normal. With companies going Remote-first and a lot of professionals actually pursuing work from home, it is evident that in coming years, remote working will be adopted by a large number of professionals worldwide.
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, Task Management, Development, Writing & Editing, File sharing, Remote Software Testing Cloud, 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.
Moreover, some quick workarounds might require real-time communication, and email might just delay it.
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, huddle, status updates, and 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 through 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).
Alternative Tool: Microsoft Teams
MS Teams is another interesting communication tool that can be used for chats, group conversations, creating channels, and meetings, and it comes with popular integrations. However, Teams is still new in the market but has gained a lot of traction during the pandemic, but it would be interesting to witness how the tool makes communication and meetings seamless for Remote Software Testing.
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, breakout rooms for splitting meetings into smaller groups (ideal for group activities), 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.
Alternative Tool: Google Meet
Google Meet emerged as a replacement for Google Hangouts and Google Duo, which allows its users for one-to-one and group audio and video calls with end-to-end encryption. It offers features like screen sharing, video filters, and effects that makes virtual meetings effortless.
Even when in the office, project management is a massive challenge, especially for large teams. Managing a team’s tasks, coordinating responsibilities, assigning deadlines, and 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 view individual progress, and assign tasks quickly and easily. 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 team work on a regular basis. It is especially useful for planning sprints, something agile development and testing processes swear by.
Alternative Tool: Trello
Trello is a Kanaban-style Project Management tool that allows you to plan various activities on a Project Board. It allows tagging, assigning, and managing deadlines of tasks in the Cards-Lists format. Trello offers integration with popular tools like Confluence, Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Evernote.
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 on.
Preferred Tool: Google Calendar
Google Calendar provides excellent features for managing one’s own schedule, as well as for coordinating with teams, customers, and 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.
Also Read: Effective Tips For Remote Testing Teams
Software Testing involves different stakeholders like Developers, QAs, Business Analysts, and Product Managers to work on the business requirements together to ensure that the expected quality standards are duly met. Such Agile Development projects require active collaboration and task management to get things done in time.
Task Management tools are handy for work delegation and deadline management, making it easy for teams to collaborate and prioritize tasks for efficient deliveries.
Preferred Tool: Asana
Asana is a great Task Management tool that helps prioritize tasks based on their criticality and deadlines, managing them in a simple one-page format. It helps track deadlines and the team’s progress by keeping all the tasks in one place and setting reminders for dues so that you don’t miss one. This is even more important in remote setups where people sit across different locations.
It displays all the tasks in different view formats such as List View, Boards View, Calendar View, and Timeline View for more efficient task management.
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 view, share, and collaborate easily.
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 the 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, and Slides. What’s 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.
- Track changes made to the files using version history and restore to older versions in case any mess-up happens.
Remote Software Testing
Talking about remote testing, in-house device labs cannot be possible due to the remote locations of the team members. Hence a cloud-based Test tool is required to test mobile and web software applications remotely. When evaluating build vs buy for a digital lab, from both cost and maintenance perspectives, buying a subscription for a cloud-based infrastructure is a good solution for remote software testing.
Players like BrowserStack offer real device cloud, which allows access to 3000+ real devices and browser combinations. With its extensive support to various Test Automation frameworks like Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, Puppeteer, Nightwatch, Appium, XCUITest, etc., both Manual and Automation Testing needs are fulfilled seamlessly.
The most essential tool for remote testing teams 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 and collaborates 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.