Test management is a rather generic process. The basic building blocks are the same: test cases, test suites, test cycles. How much different could it be from one team to another, or even among different companies? And yet, I have seen much effort spent developing tools in house to do this work.
Why does this happen? Why spend time and effort reinventing the wheel, when this wheel can be brought home from open source or commercial options?
And, it’s not just test management. I’ve witnessed this happening with other generic tools, such as test execution engines, bug tracking, and requirements management tools.
To me, the fact that the phenomenon happens across a wide range of tools is an indication that the reasons are predominantly non-technical. It’s not that test management is an art that is not yet fully understood by commercial tool developers and therefore has to be designed in house. There are other reasons at play that cause this seemingly redundant effort.
In this article, I propose a number of reasons that I think lead to internal tool development. While I refer to “test management tools” (TMTs), the logic applies to a number of other tool types.
"We Are Special"
The common wisdom when discussing tool selection is "Find a tool that supports your process." This is one of the main reasons why teams end up developing their own tools.