QA Test Case Management with Axosoft

Test cases – it’s what QA guys and gals write when they aren’t testing. We figure some of our customers need a little boost when trying to incorporate their QA folks into the Axosoft tool, so here are a couple suggestions that might make life easier for the lovely faces at Quality Assurance.

 

Summon the Custom Items Tab

Surprise! You have a secret item type that you may not be using. It’s not enabled by default, so let’s first help you find this before we touch on test case management. First (assuming you’re both the admin and subscribed to our flagship product: Axosoft Scrum), go to Tools/ System Options/ General and you’ll see an unchecked box for Custom Items. Let’s check it and refresh.

Check the Custom Items tab to enable this new item type.

Check the Custom Items tab to enable this new item type.

 

Then to enable the tab, just check it here.

Then to enable the tab, just check it here. I know, I went bananas with the yellow arrows.

 

Be sure your new tab is enabled like above. Voila, you now have access to a new item type. Please feel free to rename this to your heart’s content by going to Tools/ System Options/ System Labels. In this example, I’m going to rename this item, ‘Test Cases.’

You can change the name here for any of your item types.

You can change the name here for any of your item types.

 

Hopefully you are starting to see some of the pieces fall into place. As its own item type, you gain access to a new array of unique workflows, field templates, and custom items for test cases. So writing these cases and organizing them into the right folders should feel pretty familiar (as if you were creating defect or feature requests).

It's a who new backlog tab for testing, or whatever you need.

You can create a new backlog tab for testing.

Splendid! I have my backlog of test cases, but how do I tie them to the corresponding user story, defect, or item? Ah, with another Axosoft feature you may not be using: Related Items. If you go to Tools/ System Options/ Details Panel, you can check the boxes across all the item types to enable this feature.

Check them across the board :)

Check the Related Items’ boxes across the board.

 

Once we save, the Related Items pane will appear at the bottom of the Details Panel. Now all you need to do is select an item and create the relationship between other items, so in this example, let’s relate to test cases!

Relate items from the details panel and hitting 'Add.'

Relate items from the details panel and hit ‘Add.’

Okay, so what does all this mean? It means your QA team should now be able to create test cases at will against a particular release. When they actually begin testing, each test case can move through the workflow until it is complete. QA can create worklogs for test cases as well, but Actual Duration won’t roll up across item types. If this is important to you, then check out a much simpler alternative below.

Alternative #2: Let’s just use sub-items

Should your testing be fairly straight-forward, consider using sub-items for your test cases instead. It’s pretty easy, all you do is select the primary item in question (probably a defect or feature), and nest a sub-item to represent your test case. The added advantage is that all your estimates and actual durations will roll up to the parent item. However, things might get hairy if you have a series of test cases you need to manage (that’s where the first option might be a better fit).

 

Best Practice: Templates of Test Cases

Our QA team must run a standard barrage of tests for each release. It’s the same set of tests, so they’ve created a folder within Axosoft that houses every single one of these cases. From here they just duplicate the folder…

Select the project folder with all your Test Cases and do a detailed copy from the More menu...

Select the project folder with all your Test Cases and do a detailed copy from the More menu…

 

Now, toss the items into the QA release…

Drag and drop the items over

Drag and drop the items over

And get to work!

We hope this illuminates your testing options with Axosoft. At the very least, you now have a new item type at your disposal and a means to relate items together.

Business of Software Conference

Ah yes, the Business of Software Conference. We’re pretty spoiled here at Axosoft, our company generously offers every employee the opportunity to attend one all-expense-paid conference per year. This year, 6 of us decided to fly eastbound to the great seaside city of Boston for BoS Conference. If you aren’t bothered by an amateur’s enthusiasm, this lovely little video I put together (with the help of my mobile device) should provide a peek into the experience. Otherwise, keep scrolling to indulge in some highlights.

 

Let your outcomes drive your dev

We unanimously agreed that the conference kicked off with a bang! Tony Ulwick of Strategyn shared his experience identifying, developing, and acting on the needs of a given market.  Whether it was planned or by chance, this customer-need focus became the recurring theme of the conference.

Tony Ulwick. Image provided courtesy of Strategyn

Tony Ulwick founder of Strategyn. Image provided courtesy of Strategyn

How often have you seen products that were painstakingly designed completely die in the market? Tony cited his time working on IBM’s PC Jr. and how quickly the Wall Street Journal declared the product a flop.  He came to understand that if the needs of the market are being over-served or adequately served, there is very little opportunity for your new product to gain traction. It’s a simple premise, yet how do you determine what needs are under-served without gambling on your assumptions? Tony was kind enough to provide some direction: data.

Provided courtesy of Strategyn Hussman Case Study.

Provided courtesy of Strategyn Hussman Case Study.

If this graph doesn’t immediately speak to you don’t worry, I’ll break it down. Each data point represents a pre-determined needs statement.  Something like “Minimize the time to cook mashed potatoes to eat for Thanksgiving.” Each needs statement is then rated via a  survey in terms of importance and satisfaction on a 1 to 5 scale. Once you have this data, you take the average of the results, plot them against each other and voila! You now know what needs are underserved without having to guess.

 

Stop Saying Nothing

Joanna Wiebe Conversion Copywriter at Copy Hackers, was another one of our favorite speakers. Wiebe’s talk, titled “Writing non-sucky copy for websites, marketing collateral and newsletters” challenged those of us in the audience to stop saying nothing. Wait, really? But we worked so hard on what we wrote for our website! Or… did we?

This is Joanna Wiebe from one of her AGO youtube videos you can find here.

Joanna Wiebe from one of her AGO youtube videos you can find here.

Wiebe described the tendency for the average organization to write boring, unimaginative website copy that fails to communicate how they meet customers’ needs. She gave the audience an example of copy written on the websites of two rehab centers in Florida (one company I can’t remember because the copy was so boring so I just picked one at random to show below – point proven) compared to the second, more interesting example of copy she wrote for Beachway Therapy Center (also below).

Draw the eye. Same something your competitors won't.

Draw the eye. Same something your competitors won’t.

Whoa. That second one. It’s simple yet it effectively communicates what you would be looking for as someone who needs rehab. How did Wiebe conjure this up? Luckily she shared a few helpful suggestions for the novice copy writers out there.

Wiebe wanted to understand how people seeking rehab speak. What words do they use? What phrases do they use? These two questions immediately presented a major challenge: interviewing individuals looking for rehab is neither feasible nor effective. So, she turned to the treasure trove of Amazon reviews available for rehab books. By reading through the reviews, she was able to pick up on the ethos of her audience. These are people in pain and in need of help. With this knowledge she rewrote all the copy for this rehab center in the example above, and it made for quite a striking impression.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 2.22.40 PM

Find places like Amazon reviews where potential people in your target audience are talking.

Another thing to consider when writing copy for your site or marketing materials, is to think about ways to add notes of flair. Take advantage of your vocabulary and do something pleasantly unexpected. Wiebe’s advice was to always be clear and concise first, then focus on letting your copy speak to your readers.

There were so many other amazing speakers at the conference, and this blog post won’t be enough to cover them. For those of you perusing this blog to learn more about the speakers at BoS, please visit their site to  learn all about the goodness they bring to the software industry.

Here's to all these lovely faces of Axosoft :)

Until next time! – Axosoft team

What’s New in 14.3?

We’re excited to announce Axosoft’s Version 14.3 Release! Here is what you can expect in the newest version:

  • TeamsMake team management a breeze by organizing your users by teams and sub-teams.

  • SMS settingsLet Axosoft send you text notifications on your mobile devices.

  • UX boost Drag and drop images into text fields, copy and paste images into large text fields, see user gravatars in card view and more.

Teams

This is a big one.  Many of our customers (that’s you!) need the ability to group users together in the system to manage their progress more easily, gain better visibility, and include the whole team. Hence the introduction of team management.

Welcome to Teams with Axosoft.

Welcome to Teams with Axosoft!

You can now assign items to teams, filter by teams, send notifications to teams and more. Teams are located under the Users and Teams section of the Organize panel. This is where you group your main team and create smaller teams within a larger grouping of users as well.

Create as many smaller teams as you need.

Create as many smaller teams as you need.

In short, anywhere you could assign an individual user to something, you can now assign a team. Plus if the team ever changes it’s easy to update the roster for the next cycle.

 

SMS Settings

Ah texting. For those of you who love your mobile devices, we now give you the ability get text notifications from Axosoft (US and Canada only). Go to Tools/ System Options/ SMS settings to enable SMS settings. For hosted customers, that’s all you need to do. If you’re an installed customer, you will need to create a Twilio account to configure the SMS feature in your network.

This will enabled by default for hosted customers.

This will be enabled by default for hosted customers.

Once enabled, go to Tools/ Notifications/ Manage to edit a notification template and enter a phone number in the recipients box.  You will then get a text from Axosoft anytime an item is created, changed, or deleted.

Type the phone numbers you wish to include in your notifications. (US and Canada only.)

Type the phone numbers you wish to include in your notifications. (US and Canada only.)

This functionality will be free while in Beta.

UX Boost

It’s the little things that count. That’s why we’ve updated several smaller features to boost your everyday use of the Axosoft Suite. We’ve introduced Global Dashboard Settings to allow quick changes to your whole dashboard. For example, by clicking the gear by the huge plus sign in your dashboard, you can now update the release or sprint for a particular dashboard once you’re ready to start the next cycle.

 

Update the release, time unit, item type and a few extra things all in one place.

Update the release, time unit, item type and a few extra things all in one place.

Here’s a quick list of other new functionality you can try with this release:

  • Copy and Paste into large text fields (drag and drop images too, yay!)

  • Right click to add a worklog

  • ID and title always in view when scrolling in edit mode

  • Gravatars now included in card view

 

Plus join us for our API Webinar on September 3rd to learn about the latest version of our API. That wraps up what’s new in 14.3. Stay tuned for more awesomeness!

 

Axosoft at the Agile2014 Conference

Agile 2014

We traveled to Orlando, Florida last week for the Agile 2014 conference. It was a blast!

As Arizonans we are no strangers to the heat, but dry heat is an entirely different experience than being immersed in 80% humidity. Upon arrival in Orlando, we braced ourselves for the balmy weather and were much relieved to arrive at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. For those of you who have never been, Gaylord Palms is like a biosphere: a temperature controlled, naturally lit, plant thriving oasis!

gaylord palms resort

We were happy to set up in the expo hall right in front of the entrance doors. If you were there, there’s no way you could have missed us! We readied our booth with plenty of Axosoft swag – Scrum mini guides, Agile Notetakers, Tego Audio Nova speakers, and stress-ball ladybugs – then welcomed the first wave of conference attendees.

Axosoft booth

We had lots of great conversations with project managers, developers, Scrum masters, agile coaches, and the like. Many were drawn into our booth by our cute ladybug stress-balls representative of our recent decision to price Axosoft Bug Tracker at only $1!

Axosoft Bug Tracker

With ladybugs in hand, people wanted to know what makes us different from our competitors. Many of you who are already familiar with Axosoft know that we are much more Scrum focused than JIRA, Rally, VersionOne and other Agile softwares. For instance, we have a new Daily Scrum feature that no other agile or Scrum software has to facilitate daily standup meetings. Lots of attendees started envisioning their teams using this feature.

Daily Scrum

People also loved our clean UI and many people stopped at our demos when they recognized our custom dashboards from the hit HBO show Silicon Valley.

Scrum Dashboard

All in all we had a great time talking to current and prospective Axosoft users at our booth. We were also happy to mingle with many  more great people and even a mermaid!  We came away from this conference with lots of great insights and ideas we will be bringing to Agile2015; hope to see you there!

mermaid

Talking Scrum with the Founder of Axosoft

msdn magazine

Recently, our founder Hamid Shojaee sat down with MSDN Magazine to talk about Axosoft’s $1 bug tracker, passion for Scrum, and  the company’s future. Hamid has guided Axosoft to becoming the #1 Scrum software for developers by focusing on the core features Scrum teams need to ship great software on time and on budget. Read what he had to say about Scrum and Axosoft below!

scrum in 10 minutes

Learn Scrum in under 10 minutes with this video!

Q With the #1 Scrum product and video, it’s clear Axosoft is really invested in this framework. Why did you decide to go “all in” on Scrum?

A Because Scrum works. It’s that simple. Scrum helps deliver software faster and better than any methodology, which is why we have wholeheartedly embraced it. Plus, we appreciate the simplicity and adaptability of its core concepts. As the makers of a Scrum tool, we are always trying to integrate these traits into our product so we have created a straightforward, one-page interface that also allows teams to customize fields and create flexible workflows.

Q What are some of the new things Axosoft is doing to support the Scrum community?

A In addition to hosting local Scrum User Groups in our office, we’re really proud of the traction our new Scrum education site, ScrumHub.com, has gained. We believe Scrum concepts should be presented in an easy to learn way, so we’ve made a bunch of awesome free guides, webinars, videos and infographics that illustrate the fundamentals.

Q Aside from the Scrum piece, your company also recently decided to give away the Axosoft Bug Tracker. Why did you decide to do this?

A There are two big reasons why we decided to give away Axosoft Bug Tracker: First off, we wanted to improve every dev team’s ability to track defects and build better software—even when budgets are tight. The second reason is a little selfish, but we also wanted to introduce Axosoft to the world! We expect that the people who use Axosoft Bug Tracker will love it and consider checking out our other products too.

Q Axosoft has been consistently voted one of the best places to work in Arizona. How do you develop an exceptional workplace?

A I just try to create the kind of work environment I would want to work in! After all, I’m going to spend most of my life at work, so I want to surround myself with smart people who can have intelligent conversations and a little bit of fun too. That’s pretty much the foundation of every work environment decision we make, and it helps us bring on even more great people.

Q What are Axosoft’s plans for the future?

A As a company our purpose is to help dev teams ship software on time and on budget. Though that’s a really simple statement, there’s a lot we can keep doing to improve the way developers work. We will continue making enhancements to the Axosoft product suite to achieve that singular purpose. A recent example of this would be our new “Daily Scrum” feature that helps dev teams conduct daily Scrum meetings more efficiently by showing the work the team has done in the last day.