QWE2000 Session 4A

Mr. Steve Littlejohn [UK]
(SIM Group Limited.)

"Test Environment Management -- A Forgotten Basic"

Key Points

Presentation Abstract

This presentation is drawn from an extensive knowledge and background in test environment use and requirements. All to often these valuable test assets are ignored, abused or blamed for the poor quality of testing undertaken. This is not limited to a particular platform or type of system, it is a problem over all testing from Legacy to E-commerce. The presentation is based upon customer experiences and uses detailed examples to show how the test environments directly affect the effectiveness of testing and testing practices. It also explains how this could have been prevented and how to implement test environment management.

Beginning with actual examples of the issues with test environments and their affect on testing, the case for test environment management will be built. Otherwise good solid testing practices have failed against the need for a test environment to test in. Plans, scripts and data all tend to be managed and knonwn, test environments are seen as the painful part of testing.

Legacy systems were problematic in terms of test environments and downsizing became fashionable for many reasons. However, in the next examples this is shown not to have improved the test environemnt situation but added extra complexity to the environment requirements. The recent rise in E-commerce has added to the burden of test environments.

Version Control is placed over times in environments, but not necessarily on the test environment objects. Configuration management requirements are highlighted by detailed examples explaining why this is a necessity for test environments.

Data requirements are also largely ignored until the test cases demand that data is made available. A search for data ensues or a creation process takes place - all of which takes it's toll on the test environment. The data issues are explored with detailed examples to illustrate how this vital component is underused.

To implement or renew test environmen management a course of action needs to be in place. This is a suggested solution in order to achieve managed, controllable test environments.

About the Speaker

Steve Littlejohn has been involved in the IT Industry for about 20 years. He has worked in most IT roles from operations through to project management via programming, analysis and design before specialising in testing for the past eight years. With SIM Group he is a Senior Consultant and has worked on testing projects for a variety of clients within many industry sectors. He has a special interest in the techniques of test environment management and automation and their use with automated testing.