Picking an ideal TMS
Best practices Management
20 mins read
April 12, 2024

How to pick an ideal TMS: Complete Guide for Testers

It’s nearly 6 PM, and another long day in the realm of QA is ending. You pack your things, ready to close your computer. You can feel the weight of the endless spreadsheets and documents pressing down on your shoulders as you prepare to leave. As you do everything manually, each task, from organising test cases to tracking requirements and managing defects, has become a huge effort. And tomorrow will be no different. And the day after. Should it go on like this? Of course not! Have you ever thought about turning this around and finally using a comprehensive Test Management System (TMS) to save your day or maybe even your mental health? Sit close: this article might just be your starting point for a change in QA.

Martin Koch
Nurlan Suleymanov

Test Management Systems and their effect on your overall testing efforts

Let’s start with the basics first. TMS are the control centres of your testing processes. They are crucial because they offer a centralised hub for managing all your testing, from planning to execution and reporting. Might sound basic, but it is not. Without TMS, you are thrown into chaos, struggling with scattered processes, misunderstandings, and increasing stress. And this is how you look like after a few years of handling your QA team manually or with a tool with basic features:

Chaotic TMS

Looks depressing, sounds depressing, and feels even more frustrating when you experience it. It is no surprise that TMSs are becoming increasingly popular, as 47% of testers have reported using at least one tool for their testing efforts. 

This means the market will even be more populated with Test Management Systems with varying features and values in a few years. Choosing a test management tool will be more challenging as the QA industry gets packed with these. But how do you make sure you’re making the right choice? How do you know your team will actually like it, and your boss will see it as a worthwhile investment? And perhaps most importantly, how do you avoid the sinking feeling of disappointment down the line, realizing you’re back to square one? So, what exactly should you be on the lookout for when choosing a test management system (TMS) that ticks all the boxes? Let’s find out together.

Factors for choosing the best TMS for your QA team

Before selecting a TMS for your QA team, it’s crucial to consider several key factors. These factors can significantly affect how well the TMS aligns with your team’s needs and contributes to your overall testing efforts. Let’s start then, shall we?

Below, we will give you the ultimate list of 8 factors to consider when choosing an ideal test management system for your QA. We’ll depict exactly how your life will look if you:

  1. Don’t use a TMS at all
  2. Use a TMS with just basic features
  3. Use an ideal TMS

Let’s start.

1. Test Case Management

An ideal TMS should provide you with smooth, painless test case management ecosystem. The choice of a TMS can make all the difference in your team’s efficiency and your confidence in the testing process. Let’s explore how life looks in three scenarios:

  1. Without a TMS: Without a TMS, you and your team struggle to keep track of test cases. They’re all over the place – in emails, spreadsheets, and documents. It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack whenever you need a test case. This chaos leads to confusion and wasted time. And guess what? You can’t afford to have important test cases slipping through the cracks, risking the quality of your work and shaking your confidence in the testing process. 
  2. With a basic TMS: Now, while things may seem a bit better with a basic TMS, there’s still a lot left to be desired. Sure, your test cases are all in one central place, but it’s imperfect. You can find what you need, but some limitations hold you back. Customising workflows or generating detailed reports? That’s still a bit of a struggle, like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It’s like having a tool that helps, but it’s not quite hitting the mark. Yes, you’re making progress, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement, and let’s face it, it can be frustrating at times. 
  3. With an ideal TMS: Now, picture bringing an ideal TMS to your team, and suddenly, life gets much easier. Your test cases aren’t just neatly organised; they’re part of a connected ecosystem, seamlessly integrated with requirements, defects, and more. No more hunting for what you need – it’s all there, ready to go. Customisable workflows? You’ve got it. Detailed reporting? Absolutely. This TMS adapts to you, not the other way around. Plus, advanced automation and reusability features like shared test steps, nested test cases, and AI-driven test case creation take your testing process to the next level. With everything running smoothly, your confidence in your team and your organisation’s testing process soars. You’re not just getting by; you’re thriving, delivering top-notch quality without breaking a sweat.

“I would much rather use software specifically built for test case management than just a bunch of test cases written in Excel. I experienced that a long time ago and it was horrible. Many modern teams / QA prefer a dedicated tool.”

HappyHourHusker Posted in Quality Assurance Reddit thread, 3 months ago

Speaking of an ideal TMS with top-notch test case management, have you heard of aqua cloud? It is up there in the best test case management software debate. Why? Because with aqua, testing becomes effortless. It uses AI to speed up testing, instantly generating test cases from requirements and prioritising them for you. You can easily track requirement coverage and maintain complicated item relations, all while configuring workflows to ensure a smooth testing process. Plus, aqua’s nested test cases feature lets you reuse common test steps efficiently. It’s everything you need for seamless testing, all in one place. Dive into the aqua AI testing tool today and revolutionise your testing experience.

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2. Test Execution Tracking

Let’s continue with our list. Test execution tracking is the second factor you should consider when evaluating your options. Here are three different scenarios.

  1. Without a TMS: Without a TMS, keeping track of test execution is like navigating darkness. Your team struggles to maintain visibility over which tests have been executed, which are pending, and which need rerun. The lack of a centralised system leads to confusion, delays, and potentially overlooked test cases, jeopardising the reliability of your testing efforts and eroding your confidence in the overall process. 
  2. With a basic TMS: With a basic TMS in place, test execution tracking sees some improvement. The system logs and updates test statuses, providing a central hub for monitoring progress. However, there are limitations in the depth of tracking and reporting capabilities. Generating comprehensive reports or gaining insights into test execution trends may still require manual effort or external tools, leaving room for inefficiencies and missed opportunities for optimisation.
  3. With an ideal TMS: With the ideal TMS, test execution tracking becomes a seamless and transparent process. Your team gains real-time visibility into the status of each test, from execution to completion. Detailed reports and analytics provide valuable insights into testing progress identifying bottlenecks, trends, and areas for improvement. With this level of clarity and control, you can confidently monitor test execution, make informed decisions, and ensure testing efforts align with project objectives and timelines.

3. Defect Management

Moving along our list, defect management is the third factor to consider in your TMS evaluation. Let’s explore how this aspect impacts your testing process and the differences between managing defects. 

  1. Without a TMS: Without a TMS, dealing with defects is chaotic, risky, and bound to end in disaster. Your team struggles to keep track of reported defects, assign them to the appropriate team members, and ensure timely resolution. With no centralised system, important defects may slip through the cracks, leading to quality issues and customer dissatisfaction. 
  2. With a basic TMS: Defect management sees some improvement with a basic TMS. Defects are logged and tracked within the system, providing a central repository for monitoring progress. However, there may be limitations in customisation and integration with other tools. Custom workflows or advanced defect analytics may be out of reach, leaving room for inefficiencies and missed opportunities for optimisation.
  3. With an ideal TMS: With the ideal TMS, defect management becomes a streamlined and systematic process. Defects are easily captured, categorised, prioritised and connected to your test cases and even requirements, ensuring you can easily trace any dependency and address critical issues promptly. Customisable workflows allow you to tailor defect resolution processes to your team’s needs, while robust integration capabilities enable seamless collaboration with other tools and teams. With comprehensive defect analytics and reporting, you gain valuable insights into defect trends and patterns, empowering you to make data-driven decisions and continuously improve your testing process.

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4. Integration Capabilities

Continuing our exploration of crucial factors, let’s focus on integration capabilities. Understanding how well a TMS integrates with your existing tools and processes is essential for seamless collaboration and efficient workflow management. Here is how it works for you in 3 different scenarios: 

  1. Without a TMS: Without a TMS, integrating testing processes with other tools and systems feels like trying to use a Mac program on a Windows computer. Your team struggles with manual data entry and coordination between disparate tools, leading to inefficiencies and potential data discrepancies. Lack of integration hampers communication and collaboration across teams, hindering productivity and compromising the quality of your testing efforts. 
  2. With a basic TMS: Integration capabilities may be available but are limited in scope. While some level of integration exists, it may require manual effort or lack seamless synchronisation with other tools. This can result in data silos and disjointed workflows, diminishing the efficiency gains expected from implementing a TMS. Integration challenges, albeit to a lesser extent than without a TMS, impact overall productivity and collaboration.
  3. With an ideal TMS: With the ideal TMS like aqua cloud, integration capabilities are robust and seamless. The TMS is a central hub for integrating testing processes with various tools and systems, including development platforms, issue-tracking systems, and project management tools. Automated data exchange and synchronisation ensure real-time team collaboration and communication, enhancing productivity and efficiency. With comprehensive integration capabilities, you can streamline workflows, eliminate data silos, and foster seamless collaboration across your organisation, maximising the value and effectiveness of your testing process.

5. Customisation and Flexibility

Moving forward in examining key factors for TMS evaluation, it’s time to mention customisation and flexibility. Understanding the extent to which a TMS allows customisation and adapts to your specific project needs is vital for optimising your testing processes. Your life as a QA manager will look like this in different scenarios:

  1. Without a TMS: Tailoring testing processes to suit your project requirements feels like attempting to build a house without any blueprints. Your team struggles to implement standardised workflows, adapt to evolving project needs, and ensure consistency across testing activities. Lack of customisation options hampers productivity and limits your ability to address unique project challenges effectively. 
  2. With a basic TMS: With a basic Test Management System (TMS) in place, customisation and flexibility are available to some extent but may be limited in scope. While basic customisation options exist, such as configuring fields or workflows, they may not fully address your project-specific requirements. Adapting the TMS to accommodate evolving project needs may require additional effort or workaround solutions, resulting in inefficiencies and compromises in testing processes. 
  3. With an ideal TMS: With the ideal Test Management System (TMS), customisation and flexibility are at your fingertips, empowering you to tailor testing processes to your exact project requirements. The TMS offers extensive customisation options, allowing you to configure workflows, fields, and dashboards to match your unique project workflows and terminology. With flexible customisation capabilities, you can seamlessly adapt the TMS to evolving project needs, ensuring consistency and efficiency across testing activities. Additionally, advanced features such as customisable reporting and analytics enable you to gain deeper insights into testing performance and make data-driven decisions to optimise your testing processes further.

6. Reporting and Analytics

Reporting and analytics are the backbone of QA. How else can you show the effectiveness of your testing efforts and make informed decisions for continuous improvement? Let’s look at the differences if you choose 3 different pathways: 

  1. Without a TMS: Without a TMS, gaining insights into testing performance feels like navigating through a dense fog without a compass. Your team struggles to generate meaningful reports, analyse testing data, and identify trends or patterns. Lack of visibility into testing metrics and performance metrics hinders your ability to assess testing progress accurately and make informed decisions, resulting in inefficiencies and missed opportunities for improvement. 
  2. With a basic TMS: With a basic TMS, reporting and analytics capabilities may be available but lack depth or sophistication. Basic reporting functionalities allow you to generate standard reports on test execution status or defect metrics, but advanced analytics features are limited. Analysing testing data to identify trends or patterns requires manual effort or external tools, reducing efficiency and delaying decision-making processes.
  3. With the ideal TMS: If you choose a comprehensive TMS, reporting and analytics capabilities are robust and comprehensive. The TMS provides a wide range of customisable reports and dashboards, allowing you to track key testing metrics, monitor testing progress, and gain insights into testing performance. Moreover, an ideal TMS offers pro-level features like setting KPIs and alerts within its reporting capabilities, enabling proactive monitoring and informed decision-making. Advanced analytics features enable you to analyse testing data, identify trends, and uncover root causes of issues, facilitating data-driven decision-making and continuous improvement. Additionally, the ideal TMS can integrate a video screenshot tool, enhancing your ability to capture and document testing processes effectively.

7. Collaboration and communication

You work in a team. Collaboration should be one of your priorities. If the communication is somehow damaged, the work is affected, and it will take long to recover from it. How? Let’s look at the possible outcomes: 

  1. Without a TMS: Collaboration among team members feels like navigating a labyrinth without a map. Communication channels are disjointed, with crucial information scattered across emails, chat threads, and documents. The lack of a centralised platform for collaboration leads to miscommunication, duplication of efforts, and delays in decision-making, hampering productivity and team cohesion. 
  2. With a basic TMS: Collaboration and communication are improving. The TMS provides basic collaboration tools such as shared workspaces, comments, and notifications, allowing team members to collaborate more effectively. However, there may be limitations in integration with other communication tools or customisation options, resulting in fragmented communication and workflow inefficiencies.
  3. With an ideal TMS: Collaboration and communication are seamlessly integrated into the testing process. The TMS serves as a centralised platform for team collaboration, providing robust communication tools, shared workspaces, and real-time notifications. Advanced integration capabilities enable seamless communication with other tools and systems, fostering collaboration across teams and departments. With comprehensive collaboration and communication features, team members can collaborate efficiently, share knowledge, and make informed decisions, driving productivity and ensuring alignment in testing activities.

8. Usage of AI

AI is the future of almost everything. If you don’t use AI in QA, you are already falling behind. It might sound harsh, but these are how the possible outcomes will look to you depending on your choice:


  1. Without a TMS: Without an AI-powered TMS, testing processes rely heavily on manual efforts akin to attempting to scale a mountain without proper gear. Your team faces challenges in test case creation, execution, and analysis, resulting in inefficiencies, delays, and potential oversights. Lack of automation harms productivity and limits your ability to keep pace with the demands of agile development cycles, hindering overall testing effectiveness. 
  2. With a basic TMS: With a basic TMS offering limited AI capabilities, automation in testing sees some improvement. The TMS includes basic AI-driven features such as test case generation or predictive analytics, streamlining certain aspects of the testing process. However, there are limitations in the depth and scope of AI integration, resulting in partial automation and missed opportunities for optimisation.
  3. With an ideal AI-powered TMS: Automation becomes the cornerstone of your testing processes, propelling your QA efforts to new heights of efficiency and effectiveness. Best test management tools automate repetitive tasks, accelerate test case creation and execution, and provide predictive insights into testing outcomes. From intelligent test case prioritisation to automated defect detection and resolution, AI-powered TMS solutions optimise testing workflows, minimise manual intervention, and enhance testing accuracy and reliability. With AI as a driving force, your QA team can adapt to evolving project requirements, scale testing efforts seamlessly, and deliver high-quality software products with confidence in the future of QA.


And here comes aqua cloud – not just the best test case management tool, but also the industry’s first AI-powered test management solution. With aqua’s AI Copilot, streamline your workflow and revolutionise your testing processes effortlessly. Translate ideas into comprehensive documents, create test cases from requirements, and easily update tests. Interact directly with our QA-tuned chatbot for validation and inspiration, unlocking unimaginable efficiencies. aqua is setting the standard for pioneering AI integration in the industry. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to elevate your QA game with the best test management software– embrace the future of testing today.

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What a journey, huh? After choosing an all-around QA tool with AI capabilities, your life as a manager will look like this:

life with a TMS

Conclusion: after you choose an ideal TMS

It’s nearly 6 PM, and as another productive day in the realm of QA draws to a close, you find yourself wrapping up your tasks with a sense of satisfaction. With your ideal TMS seamlessly integrated into your workflow, the weight of endless spreadsheets and documents no longer looms overhead. From organising test cases to tracking requirements and managing defects, each task is effortlessly handled by your TMS, freeing up valuable time and mental energy. As you shut down your computer, you feel a sense of relief and anticipation for tomorrow’s challenges, knowing that with your comprehensive TMS by your side, each day brings new opportunities for efficiency and success.

This might be you. The only thing separating you from this work life is just a few clicks. Contact us and let us take away the pain of testing from you.

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