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The sprawling dominance of technology-driven processes in organizations today has impeccable testing and quality assurance to thank for. Quality assurance practices are necessary to employ and deploy a high-performing, glitch-free application, which can effectively result in an optimized course of action for overall improvement in the end results.
Organizations are adopting the shift-left approach and continuous testing strategy to enhance an application’s quality and reduce the possibility of failure after deployment. Software testing is a tricky process due to the involvement of several assumptions, constraints, dependencies, and critical success factors, which ultimately defines the validity of a test result. For achieving the highest accuracy, there is a need for establishing a test environment that is as close as possible to the real-life conditions. Setting up such an environment demands extensive planning, proper execution, and management.
Test Environment Management (TEM) strives to develop a stable and usable environment consisting of necessary hardware, software, databases, and networking components for execution of test scenarios and identification of bugs. TEM is a vertebral support for software testing cycles to run smoothly. However, the associated risks of low returns against high investments are hindering the widespread adoption of TEM practices. As per the EMA Test Environment Management Survey results, only 4% of large enterprises have fully integrated a TEM strategy into their application development process.
With the changing scenarios and evolving test environments, a test environment management strategy has become an indispensable need for the organization’s today. Leveraging a test environment management approach in a software development process can be significant in improving productivity, reducing costs, and accelerating the releases. Let us talk about the five ways in which organizations can overcome the TEM implementation challenges and make sure that their test environment management strategy is a complete success.
- Knowledge management and demand awareness
Before initiating the planning process, it is imperative to understand the requirements thoroughly. If the expectations are clear, the results delivered are as close to the best as possible. When the test environment management strategy is devised keeping the consumer needs in mind, the testers are able to obtain early and proactive provisioning from the test environments.
Having said that, the testers who write down the test cases should create a knowledge base constructed on the demands and incorporate it within the test case. If a test environment creator moves on and there is a change in the resource base, such knowledge repository will help the successors to easily comprehend the why, what, and how of the path taken in the setting up process. Thus, if a particular test environment has to be updated or scraped, it will be easier to do with a base in hand.
- Planning and coordination
The importance of efficient planning cannot be stressed enough for the success of a test environment management in software testing. Due to the lack of separate test assets for developing and testing teams, the test environment managers must plan, coordinate, and communicate the schedules for both the teams in advance to avoid conflicts and disagreements stemmed from shared usage. Event calendaring and runbooks should be leveraged to streamline testing activities and avoid unnecessary delays in product releases caused by improper planning.
Setting up two different test environments is not budget-friendly and put financial burden on already tight-budgeted projects. Sharing the test assets is the ideal course of action leading to effective usage, only if all the teams having access to the environment can maintain an effective communication channel and work out a way to avoid chaos.
- Standardize and automate
Defining the standards for a test environment based on the consumer needs provide a benchmark for analyzing validity of the tests performed. After setting these standards, iterative tasks and processes of build, deployment, and shakedown can be automated, thus, saving valuable time of manual resources. With a lean testing approach in a software development process, automation enables fulfilment of the CI/CD pipeline. By reducing dependency on the manual testers, automation in test environment management can be effectuated by TEM tools for CI/CD, workload automation, and configuration management.
Automated TEM tools are instrumental in decreasing the number of test environments required in a test bed. This reduces the costs incurred while improving the test environment provisioning time.
- Mask your test data
As per IDC, 37% of companies believe serious threats originate from internal sources, while 70% of successful breaches start on endpoint devices. The rising cyberattacks are poising the greatest threat to any organization in the current IoT-driven scenario. It is of utmost importance that organizations mask their data and refrain from using real user information in the testing phase.
With the help of service virtualization, ETL automation, and data fabrication, it should be made sure that the production source data is compliant with the PII standards.
- Infrastructure-as-code (IaC)
Infrastructure-as-code aids unsupervised provisioning, configuration, and decommissioning of operations environment. IaC allows organizations to automate continuous monitoring and infrastructural maintenance in terms of configuration changes, version control, writing scripts for infrastructure adjustments, and network connectivity.
IaC in test environment boosts collaboration and effective change management. By automating mundane processes of supervision and configurational adjustments, IaC eliminates the need for written documentation and saves testers a lot of their time.
A successful test environment management strategy requires transparency in the end to end testing processes. Resource management, efficient planning, process optimization, and test automation are the four key factors driving this. Employing the above-mentioned ways help organizations succeed in their test environment management strategy.
At Cigniti, we have established Software Testing Centers of Excellence around Mobile, Performance, and Security Testing. We have set up dedicated labs within the organization which our clients leverage for gaining maximum benefit from their QA investment. With Cigniti’s extensive expertise, you could Improve test effectiveness by using accurate test data, institutionalize test environment and test data management process, implement test data creation and simulation, automate test data management & protect data sensitivity. Connect with us today.