Getting Started with Zephyr for JIRA in 5 Easy Steps

Jun 9, 2016 3:50:51 PM / by Jack Ozment

Jack Ozment

The lack of built-in test support for JIRA can feel like a strange omission. Luckily, there are multiple JIRA plugins that add testing support to JIRA, the most popular of which is Zephyr. However, JIRA and Zephyr are extremely flexible tools, and getting their full value requires a team understanding of testing practice, and integrating those practices into JIRA.

Zephyr is extremely simple to install – as a JIRA administrator, you navigate to Add-ons from the JIRA Administration drop down, search for Zephyr for JIRA – Test Management, and choose Free Trial. Then, enable the Zephyr Test issue type for use in your projects.



Here at AgileTrailblazers, we go through the following steps to make sure that stories are appropriately tested, the testing is reflected with Zephyr tests, and then those tests are added to a Regression Test Cycle.

1. At the beginning of each Sprint, we create a Regression Test Cycle for that Sprint. This cycle is a clone of the previous Sprint’s regression test cycle (with any additional tests added from the last Sprint’s stories)


2. Before development begins on a Story, we have a meeting between a Developer, a Tester, and the Product Owner (PO). During this meeting, the Tester and Developer discuss what kind of testing is required for this Story to be considered done. The Product Owner does not necessarily need to attend, but these meetings can (and should) result in questions for the PO about specific requirements. This meeting results in a list of Test Scenarios.

  • In this meeting, we also discuss the potential for automated testing of the Story. If a Test Scenario can be automated, we will create a Zephyr test case but mark it as Automated with a label.


3. The Tester creates Zephyr Tests for each of the Test Scenarios. These tests should be linked to the associated JIRA Story. We use a custom issue relationship called “Tests / Is Tested by” to demonstrate the relationship between Stories and Tests.

  • In many cases, a Story requires updating Tests for an older Story, such as a Story for enhancing an existing feature. In these cases, the Tester should amend the older Story's Tests to comply with the enhancement, and link the Test to both stories.

4. Once the Story is ready for testing, the Tester executes all of the tests linked to the Story. If the tests passed, the Story is complete. If the Tester also does exploratory testing that wasn’t covered in the initial Test Scenario meeting, they can record those as Zephyr tests as well.


5. Finally, near the end the Sprint, the Tester evaluates which tests need to be added to the Regression Test Cycle. These tests will be executed every Sprint, so it’s important to evaluate which tests have the most value. The Story will always be linked to all of the tests, so if deeper testing is required for an older story, you can always create a separate Test cycle that includes all of the tests for that Story.

  • It will always be tempting to leave complex test cases out of the Regression Test Cycle. Resist this urge! You should always be careful with what tests you decide to leave out of Regression. If Regression testing begins to take too long due to overly complicated test cases or their sheer number, it’s time to shore up your Test Automation.

Zephyr can seem daunting at first. It’s easy to end up in a state where all of your tests are just piled in the corner, never to be executed. However, with coordination between the Tester, Developer, and PO, Zephyr tests can make testing much easier to execute and track.

Contact us for more information or to get a demo on Zephyr with JIRA cloud. 

Learn More about Zephyr

AgileTrailblazers is a Zephyr Partner and Atlassian Expert.  To learn more check out our Agile Testing Training courses. At AgileTrailblazers – WE GET AGILE®.





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Topics: JIRA, Agile Testing, Scrum, Zephyr, Test Management, Atlassian, Modernized Technology

Written by Jack Ozment

Jack is a Quality Analyst at Cirruslabs, LLC. He started as a Quality Assurance Engineer at konciergeMD and Accolade, Inc., developing automated test scripts as well as manual testing. Jack specializes in web QA with Selenium IDE, Webdriver, and Grid, enabling him to easily run a suite of tests against multiple operating systems and browsers simultaneously. Additionally, Jack is proficient at manual testing and test case management with Jira and Zephyr. Diligent and creative with an eye for usability, Jack takes pride in ensuring that an application is not only functional but also efficient and intuitive. He graduated from Temple University with a B.M. in Jazz Performance and a Minor in Computer Science, and has developed with Java, jQuery, and HTML/CSS, as well as the HubSpot Website CMS.

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