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Plutora Blog - Test Case Management

Why Treating Test Management and Test Environment Management Separately is Killing Your Efficiency

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Imagine that you have hundreds of development, testing, and operations teams spread across the globe that rely on each other to execute software testing. You have 245 test environments and you release to pre-production several times a day and deploy to production once a week. How do you manage all the software tests, test data, and test environments?

Traditionally, the answer would be to fill out spreadsheets or siloed tools, send emails, and hope that everything and everyone is ready at each stage of the software testing lifecycle (STLC).

But this often doesn’t work well. Requirements change and not everyone gets notified or reads email updates. Test environments aren’t ready or available when they need to be. Further, a host of other challenges stand in the way of efficient software testing.

Why Manage Across the Entire Software Testing Lifecycle?

software-test-life-cycle

Four of the top challenges in application development, according to Capgemini’s World Quality Report, are:

  • 43% – Too much design complexity
  • 42% – Difficulty integrating applications with the existing application ecosystem
  • 42% – Lack of access to dev and test environments
  • 39% – Manual environment management and deployment

These three application development challenges are all either made worse or better by how you manage your STLC. Many organizations have integrated testing and agile development to solve these challenges, but according to the same report these agile organizations are facing the following challenges:

  • 44% – Early involvement of testing team in inception phase or sprint planning
  • 44% – Difficulty in identifying the right areas on which test should focus
  • 43% – Lack of appropriate test environment and data
  • 41% – Inability to apply test automation at appropriate levels
  • 40% – Difficulty to re-use and repeat tests across sprints/iterations

Even if mature agile organizations have solved all of the problems above, they continue to be plagued by challenges managing their test environments. Those challenges include:

  • 48% – Having to maintain multiple versions of test environments
  • 46% – Lack of facilities to book and manage their own environments
  • 46% – Lack of visibility to test environment availability and demand
  • 46% – Lack of the right tools for testing has jumped again
  • 46% – Lack of availability of right test environment at the right time
  • 45% – Inability to manage excess needs for test environments

The simple fact is that the manual processes, spreadsheets, and legacy tools that we use to be able to depend on cannot keep up with the accelerated delivery pace of Agile and DevOps.

Why Legacy Tools Can’t Keep Up? 

Legacy testing software compounds many of the challenges above. They don’t fully integrate with the Agile and DevOps tools such as JIRA, CA Agile Central (formerly Rally), Selenium etc. This makes it even more difficult to involve testing teams in the inception phase or sprint planning.

Most legacy testing tools do not support cross-platform or cross-browser testing. This makes it extremely difficult to ensure that your applications will provide a good experience to your customers and makes testing take longer.

Even when legacy tools are updated with new features to help them be more agile, it is very difficult to go through the upgrade process. This tends to keep most organizations from upgrading to the latest release. So, legacy tools are already slow to incorporate the innovation needed as Agile and DevOps evolve, and most organizations don’t have access to the latest features.

Just as Agile development teams use modern agile project management tools to manage the entire development lifecycle and DevOps delivery teams use fully integrated automation tools to optimize the delivery pipeline, testing teams must use tools to manage the entire software testing lifecycle and fully integrated tools to automate test environment management.

This means using enterprise testing software that combines test management with test environment management and fully integrates with the Agile and DevOps tools your teams use. An increasingly growing number of forward thinking enterprise organizations have done just that and the results have been nothing short of stunning.

The Results

Here are a few examples of how companies are benefiting from combining test management software with test environment management software.

Improved Quality & Predictability

United Energy and Multinet Gas (UE & MG) can now continuously synchronize code and configuration between production and test environments through their Plutora integrations.

“We now have improved the use of time and resources within the IT department,” says Bharat Anand, Projects and Portfolio Release Manager at United Energy and Multinet Gas. “By improving our efficiency and productivity with Plutora, we have removed the dependence on spreadsheets and improved our quality and predictability.”

Greater Visibility, Transparency, & Control

BT Financial Group has been able to achieve a Return on Investment (ROI) of $464,512 (1,222%) and a payback period of less than two months.

BT Financial Group has now improved the use of its IT Department’s time and resources, and reduced dependency on key personnel, which has led to fewer outages and project delays.

“Plutora allows us to have greater visibility, transparency, and control of environment composition that ensures the right configuration has been applied to environments at the right time,” says Marc Dovico, Senior Project Manager at BT Financial Group. “We now have better insight into our IT projects’ team of release and test environment managers.”

How Plutora Helps Manage the Entire Software Testing Lifecycle

Plutora has combined test management software with test environment management software that has pre-built integrations to the tools your development and operations teams use to provide a single centralized solution for managing the entire STLC. Here is how Plutora helps you at each phase of the lifecycle.

Requirement Analysis

Plutora’s test management software, Stryka, automatically imports software requirements from development tools such as JIRA. When those requirements change, they are instantly updated in Stryka.

Stryka has a pre-built Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) which can be viewed across teams (both agile and traditional), projects, and features. The RTM gets populated automatically as requirements are imported into Stryka, ensuring that you don’t miss any test gaps.

Test Planning

Stryka enables you to plan, assign, and schedule tests with ease. You can provide stakeholders reports so they are always aware of when testing will be executed.

Test Case Development

The Test Designer in Stryka ensures comprehensive test coverage through a mix of functional, agile, and automated tests. Testers can easily create tests or import existing test assets from automated test suites. Stryka’s test designer clearly links business requirements, test plans, and test cases.

Test Environment Setup

Plutora’s Test Environment Manager (TEMS) provides comprehensive pre-production environment management. TEMS supports intake requests, environment change requests, environment allocations, conflict detection, and impact analysis.

Test Execution

Stryka streamlines manual and automated test execution, which enables testers and developers to cover more test cases faster. Sharing test artifacts and status across Stryka helps teams cuts cost and improve quality.

The defects manager helps teams identify, manage, and track the defects found during test execution. Testers can easily categorize and raise defects with rich contextual information to ensure rapid resolution by the appropriate teams.

Test Cycle Closure

The reporting in Stryka provides insights into software quality and delivery pipelines through metrics, graphs, reports, and leaderboards. Stryka’s unique correlation engine links upstream and downstream disciplines to help teams continually improve.

Conclusion

Software testing in the enterprise is becoming increasingly complex as organizations continue to accelerate the pace of delivery.

Of course, you can use spreadsheets or legacy tools, but you’ll undoubtedly have challenges at some point.

Even if you somehow manage to meet all the deadlines, team members will still have some dependencies that will impede progress.

The best way to handle enterprise testing is to use a platform that was built to manage enterprise testing in today’s Agile and DevOps environment.

An enterprise testing platform will not only reduce your risk, but also accelerate testing, not to mention that it improves quality and compliance.

To learn more about Plutora, check out this webinar: Stryka: The Next-Generation Test Management Tool.

Dalibor Siroky Dalibor Siroky

Dalibor is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Plutora. He has 15 years of leadership, consulting, enterprise product, and operations experience across Australia, Asia and Europe. He has proven ability to build high performance teams, turn around situations, develop innovative products, and create lasting value. Prior to Plutora, Dalibor was founder and managing director of Finotaur, a leading provider of independent management consulting services. Before that he served as CIO of financial advisory software at Macquarie Bank, head of solution architecture at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Dalibor got his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Follow him on Twitter @DaliborSiroky.

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