Best software – carefully tested
Don’t be afraid of release changes: For AlfaPeople, Ute Delkeskamp helps companies to get the latest software into their systems without stress. In the process, she relies on individual solutions, careful planning, and fast implementation. Here is her take on how to make professional testing a success.
New functions, more security, better usability: Microsoft regularly carries out release upgrades for these reasons. The cycle is about every six months. This also applies to the programmes in Microsoft Dynamics 365. Since it is not possible to skip the updates on a permanent basis, every company must install new software at some time or another. To ensure that this regular process does not become a trip hazard, consultants like Ute Delkeskamp come into play for AlfaPeople. There is no escaping the updates: you can’t skip more than two releases at a time.
As a senior business consultant, Delkeskamp and her teams help companies stay up and running before, during and after the release upgrade. Adapting to a new software version can take several weeks: “This is an effort that takes time and manpower,” Delkeskamp knows. The more recent the system, the more standard templates there are – but it gets rather challenging when customers use a lot of self-written software, workarounds, or interface programmes. If the basis changes, the extensions often don’t work at first either.
After an update, not everything is automatically old hat, but: “We can’t know beforehand exactly what will change in the workflow,” says Delkeskamp. That’s why the approach is clear: “All functions and processes must be tested before a release change.” The more individually the system is customised, the more it must be tested. Some of the testing is already automated, but many processes are still checked manually.
Testing never takes place on the live system during operation but is carried out in a sandbox environment. After the new release has been imported into the test environment, the relevant cases, the briefing, and the tester team are put together. The following points are especially important to achieve a good result in testing:
1. Adjusted technical environment
Only if the sandbox corresponds to the subsequent, live system can the tests be useful. This also includes mapping the necessary interfaces and communication with other programmes.
2. Good documentation of the test cases
It is extremely important that the test cases are described clearly and comprehensibly and that the expected results are precisely defined. This is the only way to ensure that all functions and processes are tested correctly and that any bugs can be found. The test scripts for the test cases can be created via the task recorder and used as a basis for the test tasks in DevOps. DevOps is an important tool for the testing process.
3. Well guided testers
The testers must either know their subject matter really well – or have good text scripts to fall back on. This applies to internal key users as well as external testers. Whether to use internal or external testers depends on several factors, such as the expertise available, the complexity of the system and the budget.
Once these points have been accomplished, it’s down to the nitty-gritty: only when everything has been tested thoroughly is a new release transferred to regular operation. The go-live then usually takes place on weekends or other rest periods, after which any unclear points are eliminated through follow-up checks and support. What that looks like can vary greatly: “That’s why we offer individual packages for our customers,” Ute Delkeskamp reports. In this way, she and her team are prepared for all eventualities.
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