The significance of test environment management is undeniable, yet, many organizations fail to manage their environments in a way they should. Management problems can be combated with healthy practices. The use of good test management tools also can be very useful to put such practices in place. First, we must identify where our trouble spots lie. When we have those, we can implement the following practices.
Package and Publish Environments, Not Just Your Code
Entire test environments, including lookup data and all, can be packaged to mitigate the costs of poorly managed infrastructure. These packages can then be published to multiple clients.
For instance, an XYZ e-commerce company may be adding a new webpage to sell bikes online. Once their development team writes the code for the new webpage, the code is packaged and released into the test environments. This component(s) may have to be tested by multiple test teams across different environments, before it is approved for deployment in production, for usage by customers or end-users.
To ensure that the product is efficiently tested, test teams need to have the testing environments/infrastructure and other testing components pre-configured well in advance of the code release to test teams.
Align with Production
Further, these pre-configured assets will have to align correctly with the live environments/production, with minimal variations and distortions. Many companies fail to manage test environments effectively which leads to production failures or bugs, missed SLA’s and poor quality of end products.
It’s a situation to worry about if your software changes your customers twice in a transaction because of a bug in the credit card processor. And there is no excuse if the reason was your inability to configure the test environment to like production during testing.
Track and Schedule Environment Usage
If multiple clients share test environments, you need a way to keep them bumping into each other.
It’s good to have a centralized place to schedule and book test runs. This scheduling can be used to ensure timely refreshment of test data. It helps ensure that the environment is automatically in its configured state by the target date.
Make Everything Self-Service
Teams are given constrained autonomy by directors by using budgets. Within their budget, a team lead can acquire resources required for the job. Similarly, we can make our scheduling and published environment self-service. This avoids bottlenecks and gives teams the ability to make the right configurations and bookings for their needs.
Practice Makes Perfect
With modern test management tools, we can bring better practices and avoid the problems of misconfigured, manually-managed test environments. We can treat test environments as code by publishing to the clients, aligning them to productions and controlling their configurations. Centralized scheduling can also be embraced to ensure that the clients have the required resources without a chain of hard-to-follow emails. With practices like these, incredible gains and cost savings can be observed.
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