What makes a good Test Environment Manager?
by Daniel de Oliveira
In today’s application-based world, companies are releasing more applications than ever before.
Software delivery life cycles are becoming more complicated. As a result, large companies require hundreds and even thousands of test environments to cope with the number of applications they support. Within these changing circumstances, a test environment management strategy has become a must for a modern organization. And using a test environment management tool during software development can significantly increase productivity, reduce costs, and speed up releases.
This post highlights the criteria for a good test environment manager. First, I will differentiate between a test environment and test environment management. After that, I will highlight the challenges and best practices for test environment management. And finally, I will recommend a powerful tool for test environment management.
Ready? Let’s start.
Table of Contents
Here’s a summary of the topics we’ll be covering:
- What Is a Test Environment?
- What Does a Test Environment Manager Do?
- Challenges in Test Environment Management
- Align With Production
- Who is responsible for Test Environment Setup? Understand the Process and Purpose
- Proper Monitoring and Planning of the Environment Usage
What Is a Test Environment?
A test environment is a solution that optimizes the use of test resources. It allows developers to quickly and efficiently create, manage, and scale test cases. To implement the test environment, it is essential to specify the necessary parameters. The system will automatically select the required space in which you can test the written application. After testing, this environment will be deleted.
What Does a Test Environment Manager Do
Test environment management aims to provide a robust and convenient environment where testers can run their scripts and reproduce errors. Test environment management (TEM) is the foundation for smooth software testing cycles.
A test environment manager is the person responsible for managing and maintaining test environments. Their attributions include:
- the setup and configuration of test environments
- verifying that test environments meet the expected criteria and requirements
- managing the day-to-day tasks related to the maintaining of the test environment
Challenges in Test Environment Management
As I have mentioned, developers use test environments to pretest the application, reproduce the errors found, and debug them. Because of this, many organizations place high hopes on the test environment, which requires special attention. Analysis of the work with the test environment shows that developers spend about 40 percent of their time setting up and managing this environment. The following is a list of the main challenges in managing a test environment:
- Creating a testing environment for current and subsequent project needs.
- Compliance with production and forecast requirements.
- Creating a test environment with different assets.
- Creating an efficient process for allocating resources and standards.
- Responding quickly to various environmental problems.
A specific person or group should be responsible for the formation of the test environment. Otherwise, chaos may arise and make it even more challenging to maintain the environment.
Companies invest heavily in creating test environments. They hope the final product will hit the market earlier and be of decent quality. Therefore, a tester is expected to study existing successful practices and correctly calculate the return on investment.
The following are some of the best practices for test environment management.
Align With Production
Preconfigured assets will need to appropriately fit current production environments with minimal distortion and variation. However, many companies lack an effective process for managing test environments, which leads to manufacturing errors, crashes, lost service-level agreements, and poor-quality end products. For example, your software may charge your customers twice per transaction due to a credit card processor error. And there’s no excuse if this happens because you didn’t configure the test environment properly during testing.
Who Is Responsible for Test Environment Setup? Understand the Process and Purpose
All code updates must follow a specific process. Chances are, you don’t have to worry about this as determining this process will probably be someone else’s job. However, updating the code is not as simple as moving the code from development to the quality assurance (QA) team to production. All environments must be updated to keep everything up to date. Also, you will need to determine if the environments will be used for multiple projects. If multiple projects do not have the same completion date, you will need to figure out how efforts can be evaluated together.
Proper Monitoring and Planning of the Environment Usage
If many clients share your test environment, you must make sure the test runs do not collide. It is better to have a centralized location for recording and scheduling test runs. This schedule will be used to ensure timely updating of test data.
There are certain key features that every powerful test management tool should offer developers. Here are five of them:
1) Optimized Tracking Functions
Complex multistage processes require the organization of a system capable of monitoring various moving parts. Therefore, it is vital that you monitor each stage of the test life cycle to ensure smooth project development. The test dashboard, which tracks test cases, is extremely useful for current and future projects. Test management tools with a digestible interface make it easy to spot conflicting test requirements.
2) Integration Automation
Test automation has become invaluable to software development processes. The ability to automatically test cases, either on a predefined cycle or as needed, saves development teams significant time, effort, and money, which means a shorter time to market. That is why automation is such an essential component of the best test management software. The ability of test management to work seamlessly with automation tools and widespread software development packages can create or break a test management strategy.
3) Real-Time Reporting
Keeping records or creating evidence-based documentation in real time simplifies monitoring. And you must maintain a trace log for each test cycle for a stable transition from one sprint to another. Keeping records on the test dashboard helps the current sprint and allows the team to spot any incompatible requirements. It also helps increase the quality assurance team’s flexibility, allowing it to respond quickly to developers’ requests and expand the team’s interactive capabilities.
4) Reduce Data Duplication
A test management tool can minimize data duplication that generally occurs when you manage requirements, tests, or defects in a sandbox. This ensures that everyone—from business analysts to developers, testers, and quality assurance managers—has a unique view of the progress. This gives team members a comprehensive understanding of requirements, testing, and defects while providing adequate coverage. Test management systems can help provide the appropriate API and functional GUI requirements.
5) Error Detection Is Easy
The manual process of testing is time-consuming because the tester will have to go through the codes one after the other until he detects an error. Therefore, a quality test management tool makes it easier to identify significant bugs in the project. Most importantly, the test management software saves time by avoiding unnecessary test cases and by providing features that make it easy to identify, document, and track errors.
Enov8 Test Management Environment Software Solutions
Enov8 is enterprise IT management software that allows you to visualize and manage your IT and test environments in depth while saving costs and increasing productivity throughout the life cycle of a software version. It also offers a complete environment and launch image that supports team collaboration and provides organizations with the information they need today to promote competitive innovation. With Enov8, organizations can improve the visibility of their complex IT structures, automate life cycle operations, streamline delivery, reduce spend, uplift both compliance and security, manage complex IT systems and end-to-end IT structures, manage the use of a test environment to reduce IT costs, and eliminate chaotic and non-repetitive operations.
Click here to get access to a shared Enov8 sandpit environment today.
If you want to improve software and hardware products, it is vitally important that you ignore obsolete documented-oriented test management practices. Effective test management includes all the various functions necessary to perform accurate and practical tests, including creating, improving, planning, executing, and reporting. And it takes into account how to integrate the tests fit into the rest of the development.
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