Performing a Systems Test

The key to IT project rollouts is the amount of testing that you do. Some projects require the use of a dedicated testing department to thoroughly test the resulting code. Other projects don 't mandate the efforts of a testing unit, but still require that someone liberally test the code for bugs.

But systems testing goes beyond software development. Systems testing reaches into every facet of IT project rollout and management.

Suppose your project involves replacing an aging infrastructure with a brand new system. You' l l be replacing cabling, switches, WAN gear, the works. As installers take new devices out of the box, you' l l want them to test the devices to make sure they ' re working correctly (unit testing). The way that you do this testing needs to be determined by the subject matter experts (SMEs) who are doing the work. But you need, at any rate, to assure that all devices are working. You' l l test each component of the new system to make sure it's working. If new fiber-optic runs are required, the vendor that's installing the fiber for you will run a test on the cable to make sure it's operational (that you can "light it up").

After the system has been completely assembled, you'll perform a test of the system as a whole. You want to find the slow spots, the incongruous links between systems, the pieces of code that aren't working as planned, and the hardware that isn't functioning correctly (or as planned).

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