Development

Using Excel for test cases, and alternatives

As observed, many projects are using Excel as the tool to manage test cases and test results, as well as other assets. Admittedly, Excel can work out if these testing assets are properly organized and maintained. However, from a teamwork perspective, Excel can be difficult to work with in this particular area.

The fundamental thing that makes Excel difficult is that Excel may not provide effective means to allow a group of people to work on the same Excel file. The only way for a team to work on the same Excel document is to set up a reasonable process and ensure people strictly follow the process. However, the risks of doing that are obvious. One of the major risks is that the version of the Excel file tends to be out of control. Another risk is that the cost of resolving the conflicts (which are caused by changing the same content by different people) will be huge. The situation gets worse when Excel is used in a multi-shoring team.

Another reason for not using Excel is that the effort of doing statistics in Excel is huge. People need to develop many functions to ensure the data can be automatically collected and summarized. However, any incidental change of these functions will break the statistics.
Therefore, I suggest using a centralized management system, such as Jira and VSTFS, to manage project assets.

Thoughts on “Using Excel for test cases, and alternatives”

  1. Thanks to the cloud technology, “online spreadsheets” also provide us an alternative. These apps can support concurrent team working and sharing(you are able to see what others are doing with the document), permissions, version history, and change notification. Such apps include : Google Doc or Zoho Sheet (if Google does not work for you due to the GFW).

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Diego Zhong

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