Test Environment

The project manager, together with the testing manager, shall ensure that a suitable testing infrastructure is established and set up prior to any testing taking place. This could imply separate funding for hardware for the project, an additional requirement that should not be overlooked during the planning phase. The necessary software test tools should also be obtained and be available before testing commences. The testing resources should be tested in all the necessary test tools before testing commences. Testing on a project is estimated to cost up to 25 percent of the total budget. The key to any testing effort is creating a suitable test environment in which testing can occur. The project manager should be fully aware that certain test and staging environments will probably be necessary and that these will need to be set up. These test environments involve obtaining and deploying sufficient hardware and software. If this has not been included in the project plan, then it may be too late to compensate for what may be a serious delay on the overall project time line. The testing of any IT project needs to be performed in separate staging environments (see Figure 6.2). They are

• The development environment (where development takes place)

• The test environment (where the solution is tested)

• A fully functional production environment (the final location)

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Figure 6.2: IT staging environments

Remember that the test environment is the first formal test environment. Characteristics of that environment should include some preparation and planning that are based upon the type of system to be tested. The project manager must include this into the overall planning when the project plan is being created. There are several considerations that need to be taken into account:

• An appropriate number of properly configured workstations

• Complete network connectivity and communication between components of the system

• The correct routers/switches/hubs

• Sufficient disk space to house the application, tools (e.g., editors, debuggers, file compares, query facilities), test data, and test results

• Appropriate memory configurations

• Simulation of production databases.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TESTING

Without a well-thought testing effort, the project will undoubtedly fail overall and will impact the entire operational performance of the solution. With a poorly tested solution, the support and maintenance cost will escalate exponentially, and the reliability of the solution will be poor. Therefore, project managers need to realize that the testing effort is a necessity, not merely as an ad hoc task that is the last hurdle before deployment.

The project manager should pay specific attention to developing a complete testing plan and schedule. At this stage, the project manager should have realized that this effort would have to be accommodated within the project budget, as many of the testing resources will be designing, testing, and validating the solution throughout the entire project life cycle—and this consumes work-hours and resources. The testing effort begins at the initial project phase (i.e., preparing test plans) and continues throughout until the closure phase.

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