About a week ago I was approached by a guy from Zephyr company which develops
The World's Most Flexible Test Management System.
Apparently they stumbled upon this blog (which is about testing) and since they just release a new version of their software tool they thought it might be a good idea to let me review it and say a few words about it. Well since they asked so nicely, I took some time and looked into it. a moment of honesty, everything that follows is based on a very short and initial impression that I got from seeing their demo and browsing through there site. but anyway...
On the good side I must admit that on the visual side they look very good. The general look and feel of the tool are good and the ability to change skins (which I did find a little out of place) also has some added value.
2 things that I found worthy, is the inherent support for a distributed team, including an option of hosting the actual data on their servers which can be accessed through the web. The other is the extensive report system they seem to have. I was impressed both by the amount of out of the box reports, and by the technique in which one can dive deep from one report to another getting more and more details on the project.
First there's the price, 65$ per person per month seems a little too pricey for my taste. Second, it seems to me that the Zephyr system tries a little too much to be a little of everything. Besides managing tests plan and test schedule it has a built it IM system and a place to store users information (which looked to me like some sort of address book). Last I didn't see any place for customizing Zephyr, it might be there but I couldn't see it mentioned anywhere.
And the Irrelevant
The really sad news for me was that yet again the Zephyr tool is clearly an "old school" product. It reflects no Agile concept whatsoever, on the contrary it generally encourage a command and control kind of system. It is build around a lead which defines the work and assign task to all other testers, the tasks are then put on a timeline (which looks a lot like a GANTT chart to me). If you ever thought about managing a testing using Agile concepts this tool is not for you.
In short Not that I have anything against the tool, but if you approach a blogger which is run by an AGILE consultant, do try to at least look a bit agile. Asking him to review a "waterfoolish" tool can be a bit out of context.