Introduction to Spira¶
The Spira™ family of applications from Inflectra® are a powerful set of tools that help you manage your software lifecycle.
SpiraTest® is our powerful and easy to use requirements, test and defect management system, ideal for quality assurance teams.
SpiraTeam® is our integrated Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) system that manages your product's requirements, releases, test cases, issues and tasks in one unified environment.
SpiraPlan® expands on the features in SpiraTeam® to provide a complete Enterprise Agile Planning® solution that lets you manage risks, products, programs and the entire organization with ease.
Quality Assurance is a key component of the Software Development Life-Cycle (SDLC), which needs to be integrated into the planning and management of a program or product from its inception. Too often though, QA is implemented as Quality Control - whereby testing that the required functionality works as expected, is performed at the end, when it is most costly to make corrections and changes.
To manage QA across a product from day one, it is imperative that the original requirements are documented together with the use-cases that validate the desired functionality. These use-cases then form the basis of the test scripts that can be executed to validate that the functionality has been correctly built, and that the requirements have been satisfied. During the execution of these test scripts, failures may occur, which are recorded as incidents - either to be fixed or documented depending on the severity.
Typically, these activities require people to use at least three different types of software:
- Requirements Management
- Test Script Management
- Defect / Issue / Bug Tracking
However, this stove-piped approach has many limitations and drawbacks, most importantly the fact that there is no traceability between the different artifacts. How can the product manager know that all the requirements have been tested? Conversely, how can the developer know which test script was responsible for a recorded bug -- needed to accurately reproduce the issue?
As described in the Agile Manifesto, traditional waterfall software methodologies and lifecycles have failed to delivery products on-time and on-budget. In addition, many systems built this way will fail to provide the expected business value as there is no ability to quickly refine the requirements as the product progresses.
Consequently, software development has been transformed with these new ideas and concepts, with new agile methodologies such as Scrum, and Kanban becoming common. However, the traditional tools of product management - requirements specifications, high level product plans, GANTT charts, white-board schedules and top-down task management - are too cumbersome and not well suited.