aqua vs Testrail — which is the best solution for regulated industries

Part of the reason test management tools are popular is undoubtedly simplification find improvement of Quality Assurance. The massive scope of constantly growing software development forces managers to seek out the best tools on the market if they are interested in riding the prospering IT business train.

Part of the reason test management tools are popular is undoubtedly simplification find improvement of Quality Assurance. The massive scope of constantly growing software development forces managers to seek out the best tools on the market if they are interested in riding the prospering IT business train.

Two test management tools based on testers’ insights can be considered quality assurance sharks in the marketplace. They provide the most comprehensive and evolving array of testing and ALM services — aqua ALM and Testrail.

To illustrate the differences and similarities between these test management tools, we’ve compiled a comparison without bias towards one tool or another.

A general overview of Testrail and aqua ALM

TestRail was developed as a web-based test management tool by Gurock. It’s widely utilised by testers and developers to manage and organise their quality assurance efforts. Testrail focused on accessible communication and expediting the development of tasks across the QA team and other stakeholders.

aqua ALM is both a cloud and on-premise test management tool that provides ALM features throughout the entire software development cycle. Testers, developers, QA leads, project managers and executives regularly use aqua ALM. It has the leading position in strictly regulated industries as its functionality meets all the necessary requirements to meet regulatory demands. The andagon corporation developed aqua and is also famous for its product testing and high expertise in quality assurance.

Each of these tools can support all types of software testing. Moreover, we can integrate them with test automation tools while also utilizing manual testing. The good thing, they aren’t limited to their integrations with other defect management tools. Their lightweight UI is very attractive to testers, and after brief onboarding procedures, you can quickly master the full functionality of both solutions.

Even their license pricing seems similar. However, some significant features still make these tools distinct and for different purposes.

Agile board

The most crucial factor for a fast-changing development environment is the ability to implement the most useful development methodology. And it’s still Agile!

Testrail presents two features to adapt to this methodology — Test Runs and Milestones. A test run is used to group test cases for execution, whereas a milestone is used to group test runs for specific purposes, such as a software release. Some of the testers adapt the Milestone feature to frame a sprint which is not too efficient because of the lack of parameters provided in this tab.

testrail milestones

Testrail Test Runs and Milestones

aqua ALM is a more advanced solution tool for implementing Agile methodology — customisable Workflow, Backlog, Scrum board, Gantt charts and Burndown points.

Workflow can be customised and adjusted as needed. Backlog is an excellent assistant to Workflow. You can see a backlog of all requirements and defects for each project. It has all the necessary item attributes to give an instant overview and help you properly set priorities. You can also create a sprint, set a date, and define the goal of the sprint in the description field. aqua’s Gantt charts help map out your sprint tasks and dependencies on a visual timeline. Use Burndown points to see real-time totals of work pending for each team’s sprint, and the amount of work can be measured as remaining effort hours.

aqua ALM

Testrail

Test runs

+

+

Milestones

-

+

Gantt charts

+

-

Burndown points

+

-

Workflow

+

+

Backlog

+

-

Sprints

+

-

Scrum board

+

-

ALM

aqua provides users with the Application Lifecycle Management functionality empowering software development and quality assurance departments to perform all necessary activities in bond. Testrail is designed as a test case management solution that can be used by developers and testers as well but unfortunately doesn’t fall under the criteria of ALM and doesn’t allow to perform the full development cycle.

aqua project plan

aqua project plan

Reporting

Reporting is still a business-driven feature that helps teams navigate whether they are using the right testing strategy and meeting all requirements from the start. There are many arguments about what this feature should be — “click and ready” or “customisable and comprehensive”. Based on the latest research of MIT and IBM, it’s better to spend more time on detailed and precise reporting.

Considering this, Testrail definitely needs some improvements. It’s easy to navigate, and you can roll out a report about testing results with a couple of clicks, but unfortunately, it is not that comprehensive. In addition, a variety of formats are limited — HTML and PDF, which doesn’t always respond to stakeholders’ requests.

Testrail report summary

Testrail Report manager

aqua ALM has a reporting designer. At first glance, it seems to be a monster without the possibility of navigating through it. However, once you compose your report, you will see how well it covers every aspect of your testing and software development. You can include any metrics to be visible in your reporting, make it adjustable to specific stakeholder requests, or compare details which aren’t available for other test management tools. So in this way, it’s easy to learn and use aqua ALM; you’ll be a master in no time, with little or no training required. Moreover, this is a powerful tool with advanced features for customizable reports.

aqua ALM available report formats

aqua ALM available report formats

Administration control

It’s an interesting fact that many know, but it seems impossible to find its origin — human error is responsible for 80% of cloud data leakage. The person in charge generally uses either real data for testing or simply forgets to log out of the system before completing the work. This was one of the reasons why regulators and companies began paying attention to administrative control. This helps improve security protection at no additional cost.

Suppose an employee left the company but still has access to data in the system. While you wait for the system administrator to revoke user rights (which can take several days), your test management tool administrator can simply change their role and close access to projects within a couple of clicks.

In this regard, aqua ALM is a real pro. Developers have tried to anticipate these scenarios and ensure that roles and permissions are fully customizable. This helps control whether the team has access to specific projects and, when necessary, gives them full or partial access.

aqua ALM permissions

aqua ALM Permission control

Testrail also seems to have similar functionality. But at a closer look and with some user feedback, it’s just general roles and permissions to make sure that the project has been assigned to the right employee. It doesn’t meet the regulatory requirements for traceability, making this tool unusable for some industries like government, fintech, etc.

Testrails users and roles

Testrail Users and Roles

Test cases

Some users don’t like how Testrail performs test case management. Not being able to label test cases and dependencies also jeopardises smooth testing without losing track of your work. But the most unsatisfactory in concentrated on importing of test cases:

photo

“I think importing test cases from excel can be made a little easier with better mapping and easy uploads.”

- Verified Reviewer
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“It bugs me that every time you close a test run the test case id numbers have a huge spike, a case we created today had the id number of over 11 million even though we have less than 50,000 cases total in our library. I also do not like the way you add and remove tests from a run. It is a bit awkward and hard to see exactly what tests you're adding and removing.”

- Jason B., Quality Engineering Manager
photo

“Trying to do something simple like import test case steps from a .csv is not so easy. You can import a suite but that is not ideal. Trying to duplicate cases can be tedious, let's say you have a lot of cases, trying to copy-paste them into various projects is a lot of hassle, it is surprising they have not addressed issues like this after so many years.”

- Neil D., Sr QA Analyst

aqua executes these features pretty well. Dependencies show you the entire “family” and their relationships; you can link defects to any system as well as link requirements.

Not to seem biased, but at this point, we’ve tried to identify any “bad words” about aqua’s test cases, but it looks like users are mostly satisfied with how it performs. You can find more reviews about aqua ALM on Capterra.

Conclusion

When you first interact with these two test management tools, it seems they are almost identical. Both of them are very popular and highly rated in the market. Prices are pretty affordable for enterprises of any size. However, there is still a significant difference when deciding on which tool to choose. The main difference between these two tools is that aqua is an ALM system while Testrail is a test management tool. aqua ALM allows you to create the entire software development cycle: creating requirements, test cases and defects.

Testrail’s main advantage is professional bug tracking that’s why it is highly appreciated by QA teams which didn’t implement advanced development yet such as the agile, DevOps deployment, and rapid application development methodologies. At the same time, aqua ALM is in big favour of all strictly regulated industries due to their fantastic traceability, security guarantees and ability to use by C-level management but not only the IT departments.

To sum it up, both of these tools are really helpful in test management making your development better and faster. But even though they are similar they are still so different.

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