Software quality is a vitally important consideration for anyone in the business of developing apps, regardless of whether they’re geared towards consumers or businesses.
In the US alone, the cost of poor software quality in 2020 was approximately $2.08 trillion, according to The Cost of Poor Software Quality In the US: A 2020 Report, published by Synopsys, in collaboration with the Consortium for Information & Software Quality (CISQ).
User expectations are higher than ever before, and this means that the more competitive your niche is, the more important it is that your software delivers on its promises. This is why it’s crucial to stay abreast of evolving quality methodologies such as quality engineering and make sure you’re using the best available tools for the job.
In this post, I’ll cover what quality engineering is, the difference between quality engineering (QE) and quality assurance (QA), and explore 10 top tools for quality engineering.
For each tool, I’ll provide an overview, describe its use case, and provide pricing and free trial information. I’ll also break down some of the main types of quality engineering tools and provide some examples in each category.
What Is Quality Engineering (QE)?
Quality engineering is a relatively new approach to promoting quality in software development in general and product development in particular.
With the high cost of low-quality software, many companies are starting to take a more proactive and preventative approach to quality management throughout the entire development process (from idea to launch and beyond) rather than trying to fix bad quality software after it’s been shipped.
This more holistic approach aims to be more resource-efficient, saving software developers’ time and money while ideally resulting in shorter deployment cycles.
Quality engineering includes analyzing and evaluating the processes involved in the development of software in order to continuously improve quality and efficiency, and reduce waste. This commitment to quality extends beyond the product’s launch, feeding insights gained throughout the entire product development lifecycle into updates and future products.
For more detailed information about quality engineering, read our blog, What Is Quality Engineering?
What’s the Difference Between QA and QE?
The main difference between quality assurance and quality engineering is that QA takes a corrective approach to quality control, whereas QE takes a preventative approach by applying rigorous quality checks throughout each phase of the software development lifecycle.
The problem with the traditional quality assurance model is that finding and addressing quality issues after the fact is inefficient. This is because it often requires that aspects of the product be redone, leading to delayed launches and higher costs (and, frequently, hasty fixes that don’t always address the quality issues).
For a more detailed analysis of the difference between quality engineering and quality assurance, read our blog on the topic: Quality Engineering Vs. Quality Assurance: Everything You Need To Know.
Overviews Of The 10 Best Quality Engineering Software
Here’s a brief description of each of the quality control tools to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the interface.
QA Wolf is an end-to-end testing automation solution that comes with an expert team of QA engineers to write, run, and repeat all your critical tests. It’s as much of a ‘tool’ as it is a service, taking the burden of in-house QA work off your shoulders. They are currently used by companies like Gumroad, MainStreet, Mailchimp, Replay, and Padlet.
QA Wolf does bug testing by having their team run tests, investigate failures, and then write up a bug/issue report with repro steps, a video recording, logs, and any other data you need. You can log into the platform to view progress at any time or wait for a scheduled review session.
Key features include end-to-end test coverage, a comprehensive test plan strategy, failure triaging and test maintenance, high-quality bug reports, fast parallel test run infrastructure, and an easy-to-use app for real-time status updates.
QA Wolf integrates with tools like Stripe, Salesforce, email providers, Auth0, SMS, Github, and even more options through their flexible API.
QA Wolf has a freemium version with 100 runs per month. Paid plans cost from $40/month.
LucidChart is a drag-and-drop intelligent diagramming tool that helps product development teams collaboratively visualize complex ideas like systems and processes and solve problems in context using inline feedback.
LucidChart helps to get everyone on the same page from the start of the project, reducing the pressure on QA teams by improving communication and alignment throughout the SDLC.
LucidChart pricing starts from $7.95/month for individuals and $6.67 per user per month for teams (minimum 3 users). LucidChart also offers a free trial.
Tricentis’s Continuous Testing Platform supports the entire testing lifecycle across enterprise and custom applications. Tricentis uses AI-driven data analytics to power faster, smarter testing and its platform is fully automated and codeless, making it easy and quick to set up and run automated tests, whether you’re a developer or a business leader.
The Tosca automated testing module separates the automation model from the underlying application. This means that changes to the application’s source code don’t impact the test automation. This helps to accelerate software testing by removing bottlenecks.
Tricentis pricing information is unavailable. Free trials are available for the qTest and NeoLoad modules.
BugBug is a quality engineering solution that is designed to be easy to figure out without any preexisting programming knowledge. This QE platform is used by companies like Brand24, Sellizer, Holiday Park & Resort, questpass, and Innential.
BugBug bills themselves as ‘for startups’ and their generous freemium plan indeed makes them an appropriate low-cost option for small teams. They also have a scalable subscription model with custom enterprise pricing for larger companies.
Key features include the ability to create tests right within your browser without any coding; running tests either in your web browser or the cloud; the option to fix tests without re-recording; scheduling daily automated tests; and integration with your CI/CD pipelines.
BugBug integrates with GitHub, Jenkins, Travis CI, GitLab, BitBucket, and hundreds of more options using Zapier (paid plan may be required).
BugBug is free to use with a maximum of 7 days of test history and some feature limitations. Paid plans start at $49/month billed annually.
Sympli is full-featured version control and handoff tool that makes it easier for designers, product managers, and engineers to collaborate, creating better alignment between the user interface design and the back-end functionality, right from the start.
With Sympli, stakeholders can give inline feedback on shared projects regardless of whether the designs were created in Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD, or Photoshop. Sympli also integrates with Jira and Slack, streamlining developer handoffs and workflows.
Sympli’s pricing starts at $22.5 per month, which includes 5 “seats” or users. Sympli also offers a free trial.
Perforce’s suite of software development tools for enterprise teams includes a variety of solutions for planning, developing, and creating; testing and validating; and operating, managing, and scaling software.
Perforce has a range of DevOps solutions that address quality, compliance, security, speed, and collaboration throughout the entire product lifecycle from ideation to launch. This makes it an excellent choice for enterprise quality engineering.
Each Perforce tool has its own pricing model, available on request. A free trial is available.
CucumberStudio helps teams to arrive at a clear shared understanding of precisely what the product should do and co-design effective acceptance tests. CucumberStudio also allows teams to accelerate test cycles through test automation.
Thanks to its seamless Git integration, CucumberStudio serves as a single source of truth by automatically ensuring documentation is up to date, accessible, and easy to understand even for non-technical members of cross-functional teams.
CucumberStudio pricing starts from ~$33.65/per user per month (€29/u/m). CucumberStudio offers a 14-day free trial and a free open source version, CucumberOpen, is also available.
LinearB is a project board specifically designed for dev leads, providing detailed project updates in a single screen. This helps dev leads to track project progress, identify risks such as bottlenecks and high-risk code, and offer assistance where it’s needed most.
LinearB uses team-based metrics (not individual metrics) to help dev leads track quality and efficiency trends and distribute work evenly to prevent team overload or burnout.
LinearB pricing starts from $15 per dev per month and they offer a “free forever” trial for up to 8 devs (with 45 days of data retention).
SeaLights is an enterprise software risk scoring tool that enables software development teams to implement quality governance at scale.
SeaLights automatically identifies, analyzes, and flags software quality risks in real-time throughout the SDLC, empowering software teams to deliver quality at speed.
SeaLights pricing information is currently unavailable.
TestBrain is a software automation testing tool that uses machine learning to make automated and manual QA faster. It is Appsurify’s risk-based testing solution for preventative quality engineering.
TestBrain returns automation test results back on a per commit basis. It catches and corrects bugs 10x earlier by automatically selecting and executing which tests to run in the CI/CD on a per commit basis.
TestBrain plugs into existing QA practices and automatically selects and executes just the tests associated with changes on a per developer level. Rather than running 100% of tests, TestBrain runs a configurable subset of prioritized tests so QA teams don’t waste time running tests that are certain to pass. You can now test more frequently in the day, bring lengthy tests (UI, E2E, Integration, etc.) into the daily build, and provide real-time feedback to development before mistakes are shipped.
TestBrain integrates with Repositories, CI/CD Pipelines, Test Frameworks, and Cloud Testing platforms.
TestBrain costs from $29/user/month and offers a free trial.
10 Best Quality Engineering Software Summary
Freemium version (100 runs/month)
|$40/month||Check out QA Wolf|
|$7.95/month for individuals and $6.67/user/month for teams (minimum 3 users)||Check out LucidChart|
|Starts at $29.00/month||Check out Tricentis Tosca|
14 day free trail
|from $49/month||Check out BugBug|
|$22.5/month||Check out Sympli|
|Check out Perforce Suite|
14 Days Free Trial
|$33.65/per user per month (€29/u/m)||Check out CucumberStudio|
“free forever” trial for up to 8 devs (with 45 days of data retention).
|$15/dev/month||Check out LinearB|
|Check out SeaLights|
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Types of Quality Engineering Tools
Let’s take a look at some of the different types categories of QE tools and how each of them addresses the needs of your product and team. I’ve linked out to further reading material where applicable.
DevOps tools seek to remove siloes in product development, encouraging collaboration between teams across the application lifecycle. This cross-functional collaboration is crucial to quality engineering methodologies as improved communication leads to better alignment and fewer errors and do-overs.
Testing tools enable quality engineering by allowing stakeholders to design and deploy tests throughout the application lifecycle, accelerating development while promoting quality. Tools such as testing automation and continuous testing tools flag risks early so that fixes can be deployed well in advance of the product going live.
- Test Management Tools
- Incident Management Tools
- Bug & Defect Tracking Software
- QA Test Automation Software
- Load Testing Tools
- Mobile Testing Tools
Analysis & Analytics
Analytics tools facilitate quality engineering by collecting and analyzing data to identify patterns and track metrics such as performance and efficiency. When paired with AI and machine learning, data analytics tools can have powerful capabilities for flagging risks and flaws as well as making predictive suggestions or even automatically implementing solutions.
- Process Modelling
- UML Modelling
- Requirements Management
- Web Analytics
- SQL Analytics
- Big Data Analytics Tools
- Machine Learning Solutions
Managed infrastructure services are increasingly popular as they help to ensure that applications have sufficient back-end capabilities to perform, sync, and scale as required, with minimal latency and downtime––and minimal maintenance required.
- Cloud Service Management
- Database/Data Management
- Server Monitoring & Management Tools
- Mobile Network Emulation (like Android Emulation)
Development tools range from project and ticket management tools like Jira to code repository management tools, design, and modeling tools, code compilers, code editors, to testing and analysis tools––essentially anything that helps developers to design, build, test, and deploy quality software.
Collaboration & Productivity
Collaboration and productivity tools power quality engineering by facilitating effective project management, scheduling, work division, and communication. This helps to ensure that projects run on schedule and on-spec and give project managers greater visibility into team health as well as risks that may impact timelines.
- Note Taking/Collaboration
- Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)
- Agile Management
- Instant Messaging/Meetings/Collaboration
- Mind Mapping Tools
Security tools or DevSecOps tools enable teams to embed security compliance protocols and vulnerability management throughout the software development lifecycle. Automation plays an important role in enforcing security standards and testing for and detecting vulnerabilities.
- Penetration Testing Tools
- Application Security Testing
Cloud-based services such as APIs make it easier (and faster) to roll out high-quality features or deploy tests without having to build everything from scratch. Whether it’s outsourcing your helpdesk or integrating a plug-and-play chat feature into your app, there are thousands of SaaS products available that can significantly improve your application quality and user experience without adding to your team’s workload.
- Cloud Testing Service
- Help desk/service management
Utility software encompasses a wide range of tools designed to help analyze, configure, optimize or maintain computers to ensure optimal operation. Utility tools like remote desktop clients help to test how your software performs on different devices and operating systems and can be invaluable in troubleshooting and addressing mismatches between software requirements and system capabilities.
- Remote Desktop Client
- Natural Language Processing (NLP)
- Terminal Emulator
What do you think of these quality engineering tools?
Have you tried out these tools? Did they work for you? Do you have a useful tool that we missed? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!
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If learning from an internationally renowned, award-winning software engineering consultant, author, and coach is your thing, here’s an article you should definitely check out: LEADERSHIP IN TEST: MANAGING PERFORMANCE TESTING.
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