Ravi Kumar

The Deming Prize from Japan is the highest honour in Total Quality Management in the world. Japanese products are known for their superior quality, but it wasn’t always the case. In the 1950s fresh out of defeat in the World War 2, Japan was desperately trying to shift manufacturing from military to civilian products for trade. However the poor quality of the products deterred international buyers. Enter W. Edwards Deming who realised companies should invest in quality assurance (QA) methods that reduce the workload and save costs. This marked the beginning of the iteration development in manufacturing and has now progressed into software development. Emphasis for success is in doing short sprints and controlling the quality at every iteration.

Quality assurance is often seen as a dry topic. The software industry is no different. We understand its importance but wished we never have to deal with it ourselves. Developers love to work on design, write beautiful code that will change the course of humanity; but are also required to spent effort on time consuming tasks such as testing and bug fixing. Microsoft with its mission of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, is building tools to improve the experience of developers at every step of the cycle. Azure DevOps (henceforth ADO) covers all major aspects of development lifecycle in a single offering that encapsulates planning, design, documentation, quality assurance to CI/CD release pipelines. Azure Test Plans allows customers to create and run manual and exploratory tests without ever leaving the ADO boundaries.

One solution for all your DevOps needs:

Manual testing remains relevant in today’s software development lifecycle as it is less costly to implement and provides quicker feedback. An important starting point can be user stories which reside in a Kanban board similar to Azure Boards within ADO. Users can create test cases, note defects, and report bugs directly against these user stories hence removing effort duplication and maintaining traceability of the items. Teams can define and track their requirements, deploy the corresponding code and test it within ADO; whereby it can be used as a single source of truth by all major stakeholders.

Business teams create functional requirements and developers link these requirements to user stories and deploy the code into Azure Repos using a CI/CD pipeline in Azure Pipelines. With QA teams manually testing the product as a final step before rollout means all stakeholders use the ADO project as a single source of truth.

Deep Dive into Azure Test Plans:

Azure Test Plans offers incredibly impactful features for the testers that enable them to go beyond marking a test case as pass or failed. With the Run Test option, users can additionally capture screenshots, recordings, and provide comments when a case fails. Managers can then view these results in the form of interactive charts and graphs to gauge the overall performance of their team.

Customers drive the maximum benefit of Azure Test Plans when they use the entire ADO ecosystem; but Azure Test Plans is sold as a separate offering for stand-alone customers as well. Many customers generally maintain their test cases in a spreadsheet and need a simple process to migrate these into Azure Test Plans. The ‘Grid View’ functionality allows users to simply paste their existing test cases from a spreadsheet in Azure Test Plans and bulk create corresponding test cases with a single click. Additionally, Azure Test Plans also provides a Comma-Separated Values (CSV) import functionality.

View all your Test Plans in one place and sort them by various filters.Capture details of each Test case and mark them as Pass/Fail.
View all your Test Plans in one place and sort them by various filters.Capture details of each Test case and mark them as Pass/Fail.

Testing becomes a team sport with exploratory testing whereby multiple stakeholders can collaborate on the end product to discover and solve issues faster. Azure Test Plans also offers this capability through extensions available on all major browsers including Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Customers can report bugs directly from these extensions that can later be viewed in a single dashboard along with relevant metrics related to the test session.


Manual and exploratory testing compliment automated testing features of ADO to encapsulate total quality management. Azure Test Plans along with automated test offerings from ADO such as code coverage runs during pipeline deployments ensure customers can safely build high quality products through iteration development much like the way Japanese modelled their industrial revolution in the second half of the 20th century.

Want to learn more? See our documented best practices, videos, and other learning materials for Azure Test Plans. Or dive deep into Azure Test Plans.