The Significance of Visibility in Large Organizations

Oct 2, 2023

In large organizations, a lack of visibility can lead to costly incidents and inefficiencies in production. This blog delves into the importance of visibility in addressing these issues, drawing from real-life incidents and practical recommendations.

The Incident: A Costly Setback

Picture an 8,000+ person company conducting a pilot project with Plutora. During this pilot, a production incident occurred, resulting in a rollback of a critical software update. Hundreds of employees were left without access to essential services for several hours, and the communication surrounding the mishap only added to the confusion. To make matters worse, further planned downtime was announced, and the update still needed weeks of testing before delivery. The company candidly admitted that had Plutora been fully implemented, this incident could have been prevented.

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This scenario is not unique. Large organizations often face communication barriers due to the use of disparate tools that lack integration. The core problem is the absence of a centralized source of truth for the Environment Schedule, which typically resides in an Excel spreadsheet circulated via email or stored in cloud services. In the best-case scenario, it might be uploaded to SharePoint. This lack of a centralized system impedes collaboration, making it impossible to maintain a real-time overview of who is testing what on which environment.

The Consequences of a Lack of Visibility

Without a central system of record, an organization takes on avoidable risks. Can you confidently assert that the next critical software update will seamlessly integrate with your entire software stack? Are you sure that finance, operations, and HR won't be adversely affected when the update goes live? The truth is, you can't. Rigorous testing is essential, and planning is paramount.

Environment Managers bear the brunt of these challenges. According to Gartner, approximately 30% of software testing costs are squandered on testing against misconfigured environments, necessitating test reruns. While completely eliminating this 30% waste may not be immediate, reducing it can significantly bolster team capacity, especially for QA teams tasked with testing each new application version.

The Main Benefit of Addressing Visibility: Avoiding Defects and Boosting Efficiency

The repercussions of major defects entering production are severe. They result in substantial financial losses, tarnish the organization's reputation, and demand additional resources for development and testing. The longer it takes to identify and rectify defects, the more costly they become. Moreover, defects that compromise data integrity or security necessitate extensive efforts to restore and secure affected systems.

Practical Recommendations to Improve Visibility and Efficiency

To confront these challenges head-on, we recommend implementing the following strategies:

  • Embrace Automated CI/CD Testing Processes: Integrate automated testing at every phase, ensuring that each stage is satisfactorily completed before proceeding.

  • Conduct Thorough Code Reviews: Foster a culture of peer code reviews to catch potential defects early and promote knowledge sharing.

  • Leverage Automated Testing Tools: Automate repetitive tests to identify issues that manual testing might overlook.

  • Document Dependencies: Clearly document dependencies like hardware, software, network configurations, and data between different test environments to enhance accuracy and efficiency.

  • Utilize Documented Specifications for Environment Setup: Coordinate test environment setups using documented data to proactively resolve issues and improve communication and collaboration among teams.

  • Implement a Robust Change Management Process: Ensure that only thoroughly tested and approved changes are deployed to production.

  • Promote a Culture of Quality: Instill a quality-oriented mindset throughout the Software Development Life Cycle, with every team member responsible for identifying and rectifying defects before they reach production.

The Crucial Role of Scheduling

A well-structured test environment schedule is not a mere formality but a vital element of successful software testing. It acts as a unifying force, ensuring coordinated efforts and minimizing bottlenecks. The risk of misalignment and wasted effort grows exponentially without such a schedule.

The Finish Line

In conclusion, a robust test environment schedule is not just a nicety but an indispensable aspect of successful software testing. It safeguards the quality of the end product, keeps project timelines on track, and fosters effective collaboration. Reflect on your experiences and recognize the pivotal role of test environment scheduling in your testing endeavors; it might be the linchpin to enhancing efficiency and achieving better results in your software development process.

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Deliver Better Software Faster with Plutora