Beyond the Document Paradigm – part 3

May 13th, 2015 by inflectra

In this conclusion we shall see that migration to a test management or requirements management tool can be easier than it might seem initially.

To Recap

In parts 1 & 2, we looked at the pitfalls associated with moving requirements or test information stored in a document to a record-oriented, specialized tool. The potential problems highlighted were:

  • Overlooking context and background,
  • Being hung-up on report formats,
  • Imposing excessive Configuration Management on record based data, and
  • Using an old process for a new tool.

Importing Data

In this conclusion we shall see that migration to a test management or requirements management tool can be easier than it might seem initially.

Inflectra offers a flexible combination of tools for test management, quality assurance, requirements management, defect tracking, scheduling, planning and resource tracking. SpiraTest®, SpiraPlan® and SpiraTeam®, (the latter being a combination of SpiraTest and SpiraPlan capabilities) all offer simple and effective ways to import data from a multitude of other formats including MS-Word and MS-Excel. Simple add-on installers can be downloaded to let the user manage the migration from Word or Excel directly.


MS-Word is probably the most popular requirements management tool being used today. The problem, of course, is that it’s probably the worst requirements management tool being used today.

As a Word processor, MS-Word probably has few equals, but requirements management and test management are about more than just word manipulation and so Inflectra offers flexible methods of extracting requirements and test cases from MS-Word. Migration capabilities include:

  • Selected data only – only import the sections of the document that you want;
  • Create a requirements hierarchy – use styles to indicate the level of the requirement in the hierarchy;
  • Import images - images become attachments within the Spira products; and
  • Test case import – test cases can be created from text or tables in MS-Word, with styles or table columns indicating the fields to which data should be assigned.


Data in a spreadsheet is more easily delineated, allowing for a more powerful import. MS-Excel importer capabilities include:

  • Bi-directional import/export – move data in either direction;
  • Updating – data moving to Spira products can be either new, or an update to existing data, supporting a round-trip option, e.g. export test sets, capture test results in MS-Excel, return results as a set to your Spira product;
  • Hierarchy creation – using any indentation found in the name field, the importer can create a hierarchy of artifacts;
  • Custom fields – data migration supports movement of pre-defined as well as custom attributes;

Of course, it is easier to start with specialized tools in the first place, but not everyone has that luxury. For those who have adopted a specialized tool and are faced with the data migration task, success requires an awareness of the pitfalls and the assistance of strong tool support.

You may also be interested in:
Documenting Requirements in Agile Projects
How to Choose a Test Management Tool

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