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The Test Environment Pizza
10
JULY, 2017
by Niall Crawford (Enov8 Director/CTO)

I had an “interesting” chat with a potential client this week. The conversation started normally with myself and my colleague going through the benefits of our Test Environment & Release Management solution, and then continuing to a “show and tell”. However, I could tell the client was somewhat distracted and had something “greater” on their mind.

So, I probed slightly & the vision became apparent:

“We want our Projects to Self-Service the Test Environments”

“OK”, I said, “can you provide me an example of which Environment?”

“Yes … A Test Environment for Payments”?

“OK”, I said, “a bit like ordering a Pepperoni Pizza online?”

“Yes, that’s right” said the client enthusiastically.

“OK! Stop the bus”, I said, “Three simple questions”“Question ONE, do you know what your Payments Environment & Systems looks like?”Answer: “Not really, we have some Spreadsheets & Wiki documents but they might be out of date”.“Question TWO, are your current Infra, Data & Applications operations documented?”Answer: “It depends on the team, I believe some do and some probably don’t”.“Question THREE, can you currently create this platform from an Automate Script?”Answer: “I think the Infrastructure guys have some Recipes & Scripts for MS SQL”.Note: The latter answer amused me as there were about 150+ components, including Mainframe.I find it somewhat crazy today, that IT Management and supposed “Subject Matter Experts” are suggesting this kind of nonsense and suggesting it seriously. I mean, sure if your environment and systems are simple enough you could offer complete automation and self-service. But they probably aren’t! Instead they probably consist of a complex web of components, relationships, processes and architectures that are poorly understood and out of date.If an organization wants to establish Self Service Test Environment Management, then I’d offer this: “Understand your ingredients & learn how to cook first”. It might sound a bit boring. But it is 101 Environments Management. You can never expect to automate or self-service that which you don’t understand.

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