Effectively answering each of these questions will determine many of the core elements that a test strategy should address for a customer.
- What types of testing need to take place?
- Who are the testers?
- Where do the testers perform there testing?
- When should testing occur?
The questions should be answered individually for each project, major change, release cycle, continuous improvement etc and a key point I would like to stress is that an overarching strategy does not need to be a 200 page document going into all the intricacies of each of these questions, but could be something as straight forward as a flowchart or diagram can allow you broadcast your intentions and turn the strategy into a test culture.
Test practices are generally different for each customer. Some tend to wing it and put their business at risk by solving post go-live defects in their stride (not Best Practice), others have rigorous change management processes that promote change to a production system monthly or quarterly and scrutinizing every detail along the way, while many customers will be somewhere in the middle with ‘reasonable’ change and test management practices depending on the rate of change and the maturity demand management model itself.
With this in mind, testing has become a more expensive task in recent times. This is primarily due to the growing complexity of our business processes resulting from enhanced functionality, systems integration, new infrastructure technologies and the growing SaaS market handling only some parts of business scenarios.
Fortunately, with this shift, the testing technology has been maturing with the times and now securely falls under the ever-growing banner of ALM (Application Lifecycle Management). SAP is not alone in maturing its practice and offerings. Both Microsoft and HP (among others) are maturing their own tools that appeal to customers trying to reduce the cost of operation.
SAP’s flagship tool for ALM is Solution Manager 7.1 (currently) with SP10 on the way shortly (SP09 will not be GA, I believe). SAP is also allowing customers to license many elements of the HP product suite in their current license model making way for maturing test practices using a more advanced toolset. The most powerful model currently, in my opinion, is a combination of SAP tools (Solution Manager + SAP Test Acceleration and Optimization) and HP tools, however SAP don’t release the latest HP tools until they have given each the SAP stamp of approval, so testing evangelists will find themselves drooling over the latest HP product set that is not available on the service marketplace.
It would be a pipedream to think that test strategies should be tool agnostic but the strategies are more and more becoming dependent on the tools available. Fortunately, Solution Manager 7.1 give customers a good head start in managing the test cases and business process hierarchies. It is also wise to utilize the 2 free QTP licenses with your Enterprise Support agreement if possible to explore the possibilities of automation.