There just HAS to be a better, cost-effective way to manage this!

Picture this;  You are a QA Manager or Lead sitting at your desk looking at a stack of Excel test cases stapled to Word requirements documents (or is it the other way around?) and wondering how you will have time to build the reports requested by management, development, the PM…  and so on.  And you think to yourself – there just HAS to be a better, cost-effective way to manage all this. 
We were in the same boat a little more than a year ago and we reached out to SmartBear Software for a solution called, “Software Planner”.  We were already using their test automation tool, “TestComplete” and were absolutely sold on what it could do for us and for our clients, so it seemed the simplest choice.  It was also the right choice.

We opted to use their hosted version and were up and running in 2 days at an unbelievably low cost (in the hundreds of dollars, rather than hundreds of thousands of dollars).  No muss, no fuss, no wrangling with the network folks for server space – completely pain-free.

Our interest was in the basics:  requirements, test cases, defects and a way to link them all together and were very happy with the way in which SoftwarePlanner manages all that.  It’s customizable (through custom fields, security settings, etc.) and accessible over the Internet, which makes it ideal for our company of nearly 30 people who are dispersed around the city. 
AND, it generates colorful reports on the fly – (well, there is sometimes a 30-60 second lag time) – both the canned reports, and some Excel reports that are easily customizable.  Oh, I should mention that these reports can be setup to automatically email themselves to key stakeholders at intervals of your choosing – daily, for example.

I should mention that it also comes with Project Management tools, contact management, a collaboration area – even a newsletter-type welcome page than can be customized by you. 

Since then we’ve participated in a client site installation of Software Planner as well.  Even more features, more flexibility, more robust reporting.  Software Planner takes care of the installation for you, too, which makes this another painless solution. 

SmartBear is a growing company.  They recently acquired SoapUI and we are looking forward to how that web services testing tool will be rolled into the package of other products. 

And support?  You’re wondering about support for this tool, right?  Do you have to talk to someone on another continent whose answer is always, “You are doing this right”.  No.  Their support people are helpful and intent on answering your questions and making certain that you understand the solution they are offering.  Rock Star level.  SmartBear  is Rock Star Support ALL the time.

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