In fact, two test management companies, QMetry and Zephyr, have dived whole hog into the JIRA platform to fill what they’ve both identified as a gap in the Atlassian world’s life cycle.
“JIRA was taking the shape of a platform,” said Samir Shah, CEO of Zephyr. “The ecosystem around their plug-ins was expanding because it was great for building little doodads that were plug-ins to the main product. What we saw missing in the Atlassian product line was core testing that needed to happen in a structured way, while they have all the pieces in place to dream it, design it, build it, ship it.”
Shah said he saw demand in the marketplace for test management solutions inside the JIRA platform. For the “build it” part, there are a slew of development tools that create ways to manage the entire development process, to get requirements, and to move things along. “What ended up happening with our customers, when it came time to do testing, they’d step out of JIRA, record their tests, and come back to JIRA,” he said. “For large enterprises, for companies that had JIRA, it was essentially a lot of people saying ‘Why should we even have jumped out of JIRA?’ ”
Shah then pushed his board and team to focus exclusively on JIRA as its platform of deployment and use. He said that, so far, this decision has been lucrative and allowed the company to continue growing.
QMetry has followed much the same path. The company offers its own take on Web-based test management, and Michael Wellborn, business development manager at QMetry, said this year’s sales targets are well over double the targets for 2011. The recent addition of RESTful item targeting in JIRA allowed QMetry to integrate even further into the issue-tracking system, and to tie test failures and successes to individual bugs.
Of course, there are many gaps that are filled by other JIRA-related tools, both from Atlassian and from third parties. There is burn-down chart plotting from GreenHopper, and Visio-like functionality of Creately. Atlassian’s new marketplace has something for just about everyone involved in the development process.
Software vendors aren’t the only ones hanging their futures on Atlassian’s rising star. Howard Tiersky, president of contract application development firm Moving Interactive, said that his teams open up JIRA and Confluence to the teams that contract their work. This allows their customers to have direct access to requirements and issues, and even gives them the ability to take a picture of the interface, draw a circle around an item, and visually describe a change, all within Atlassian’s ecosystem.
Tiersky said that opening his company’s issue tracker and wiki to clients has allowed them to “become part of our agile process. Clients would go, ‘Holy cow! This is much better! Can you help us become more like you?’ As a result, we’ve become kind of a consultant to our clients as to how to improve their agile practices.”