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.
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).
The focus on prevention over patches has given rise to an abundance of tools that facilitate quality engineering, ranging from collaboration and productivity tools to DevOps solutions, testing software, analytics tools, security solutions, and many more.
Here’s a shortlist of the best software to help with your quality engineering process:
QADeputy – Best quality assurance tool for managing product testing
Sympli – Best tool for collaboration between designers and developers
SeaLights – Best enterprise quality governance and software risk scoring
LinearB – Best software quality engineering tool for managing team health
LucidChart – Best for collaborative system planning and analysis
Katalium – Best open-source testing automation tool
Tricentis – Best continuous testing automation platform for enterprise
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.
1. QADeputy – Best quality assurance tool for managing product testing
QADeputy is a powerful testing tool that helps quality engineers to manage their test cases, suites, runs and reporting. This facilitates real-time reporting and improves communication among stakeholders throughout the product development lifecycle.
QADeputy increases QA productivity by centralizing test management. It also easily integrates with plenty of automation and bug-tracking tools.
QADeputy pricing starts at $18/month/user, billed annually. A free trial is available.
2. Sympli – Best tool for collaboration between designers and developers
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.
4. LinearB – Best software quality engineering tool for managing team health
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).
5. LucidChart – Best for collaborative system planning and analysis
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.
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.
7. CucumberStudio – Best collaboration tool for behavior-driven development
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.
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.
10. Tricentis – Best continuous testing automation platform for enterprise
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)
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)
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!
If you found this guide useful, consider subscribing to The QA Lead newsletter for the latest insights from top thinkers in the quality software niche.