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 a high-quality testing service used to outsource quality engineering tasks. Their service includes an expert team of QA engineers to write, run, and repeat all your critical tests. They are used by companies like Gumroad, MainStreet, Mailchimp, Replay, and Padlet.
QA Wolf does quality engineering (QE) 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 services include building a test plan for you, end-to-end test coverage, 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's software is built on Microsoft Playwright, which is a common product chosen for open-source developments. This gives clients the freedom to carry all their existing tests and data with them should they ever want to bring their testing in-house on the test suite of their choice.
QA Wolf integrates with tools like Stripe, Salesforce, email providers, Auth0, SMS, Github, and even more options through their flexible API.
QA Wolf offers customized pricing upon request with a two-month, risk-free pilot.
Appsurify’s TestBrain is a risk-based testing solution that delivers test results on a per-change basis. It's one of the best quality engineering software tools in the market for experienced testing teams who want to build more efficiencies into their test automations, providing features that help QA teams streamline their software testing environment, accelerate CI pipeline builds, achieve Shift Left testing, and reduce overall costs.
Appsurify has two main subscription plans available: Plus and Professional. Appsurify Plus is tailored for small businesses and startups, and it starts at $59 per seat/month with a 60-day free trial. The Professional plan best suits the QA automation testing requirements of midsize teams and large enterprises. SaaS and on-premise license options are available, but the latter is only bundled with the Professional plan.
Both subscription packages come with a variety of features such as risk-based automated testing, auto-creation and auto-mapping, advanced reporting, advanced analytics, risk alerts and flaky failure prevention. Both plans support various test types, including UI testing, E2E, integration testing, unit testing and more. The features exclusive to the Professional package are prioritized manual testing, full onboarding and priority support, although standard support and initial setup onboarding are included in the Plus package.
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.
The Inflectra suite is a whole application management and testing product ecosystem, with tools geared towards product managers, developers, and testers to promote quality engineering throughout the software development lifecycle.
Inflectra gives product managers a bird’s eye view of projects, enabling them to track project burndown, review test coverage, and allocate resources where it’s most needed.
For developers, it’s a great tool to centralize everything because it supports effortless IDE integration, source code management, bug and user story tracking, CI management, and automation.
For software testers, Inflectra’s tools facilitate manual testing, testing automation, exploratory testing, and team management.
Inflectra’s pricing varies by tool or bundle and the number of monthly users. Users receive a discount on bundled products. Inflectra does not offer a free trial.
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.
Apexon is a quality engineering service that aims to help you and your team prepare for new requirements and expectations resulting from digital advancement. Apexon strives to equip you with tools and methodologies to help you navigate the transformation within digital strategies.Apexon provides an abundance of features such as test automation services, which allow you to create and run your own tests. The tool has framework implementation and automated regression testing as a part of their end to end test automation services so you can easily integrate their services within your workflow. Apexon also offers data engineering and service visualization, providing you every opportunity to ensure your application lifecycle is fully covered.Apexon provides customized pricing upon request.
Katalium is a test automation framework that makes it easier to automate software testing using TestNG, Selenium, and other popular open-source test automation frameworks within Visual Studio Code.
To put it simply, Katalium gives software testers a blueprint for test automation projects, minimizing the learning curve to enable teams to ship higher quality products in less time.
Katalium is an open-source project by Katalon, which offers a robust suite of enterprise software testing automation and TestOps tools.
Katalium is open source and available free of charge.
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.
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).
10 Best Quality Engineering Software Summary
Two-month, risk-free pilot
|Pricing upon request||Visit Website|
60-day free trial
|Starts at $29.00/month||Visit Website|
14 day free trail
|from $49/month||Visit Website|
14 Days Free Trial
|$33.65/per user per month (€29/u/m)||Visit Website|
|Customized pricing upon request||Visit Website|
|Pricing is available upon request.||Visit Website|
“free forever” trial for up to 8 devs (with 45 days of data retention).
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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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