Be Prepared to Seamlessly Migrate your Testing Tools

September 22, 2015

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Balamurali R

Practice Head - Technical Testing Services

Gone are the days when testers do only manual testing using office tools and spread sheets. Testing Tools are now an integral part of software testing, they are being used across the testing lifecycle not only to automate the testing, but also for test management, defect tracking and/or for non-functional testing. These tools are meant to ease testers work and provides values like time/cost saving, improve quality of the testing activities etc. There are plenty of capable tools in the market, which organizations make use of. At times, Organizations may need to switch or migrate to other alternative tools to meet their extended requirements. However, such migrations would trigger changes in QA processes and team structure to seamlessly adopt the new tool. Organization need to invest and also re-skill testers to integrate tool into this new testing ecosystem. 

It is a major challenge, so I would like to present Three points to consider:

Product vs Process: It is quite common a few tools bought got into shelf. This is deadly, large organizations would not even notice these leaks. First thing is to see whether the Test Tool bought is smoothly complementing Processes, or at least over some period of planned time. There are chances that the tool newly bought-in requires a new or a change in workflow / process to get best out of it. A transition plan to adapt tool or a Process transformation with a newly introduced tool is key here.

Fitness vs Cost: Software testing tool migration is a tricky procedure, as it requires long term planning to ensure tool’s fitness against organization’s business and technical changes/roadmaps. Plans for migration should be charted out based on usage, timeframe, potential risks and adaptability to changing business dynamics.

Choosing a tool based on cost alone is not a good idea. Budget tools might work well you from a financial standpoint for some time but could turn to be expensive later on. Similarly, feature rich tools, tend to get underutilized reducing your ROI.   ROI depend on something like below:

  • Maintenance and Support cost
  • The end user productivity gains and user experience
  • Per unit cost like Cost per defect, test case or requirements, also cost per hour/day
  • Volume of the data it manages over time, especially for Test Management solutions
  • Benefits by integrating with other tools/solutions.

Existing vs New skill: Re-skilling team is always a top concern when migrating to a new tool. Ensure that you maximise usage of trial versions and provide adequate professional training to the team upfront. Additionally, engaging with  external teams, contractors or specialists might ease the situation while migration. Do consider the cost, timelines and budget for all these.  

However few key steps would help the tool migrations less laborious, some listed below:

  1. Ensure thorough planning, evaluate multiple options to ensure that you chose a close fit
  2. Have proof of concepts to assess the fitness of the tool
  3. Evaluate results of POC in various angles, against heterogeneous technologies / teams
  4. Budgetary Plan on the total cost of ownership (TCO), with quantitative and qualitative analytics of the outcome
  5. Ensure consents across all stakeholders, as every department’s support may require
  6. Budget the end-to-end tool migration and leverage as much external help as much possible – else this will impact team productivity
  7. Avoid the feel of big bang and panic across the organization
  8. Consider this as a separate project (as a fixed bid) and make sure risks are transferred / mitigated
  9. Implement a planned phase-off for past tools - Avoid paying for both tools
  10. Use proven automated methods, to port artefacts (like Automation scripts, defects, test cases etc) as much possible, to assure Integrity
  11. Retain the old artefacts (data or scripts) and ensure you miss nothing from the past
  12. If you are opting for a manual porting of artefacts, do spend testing the correctness on a reasonable sample set, to  detect migration issues early
  13. Avail Professional support, for adequate support and backup to the team until the processes stabilizes
  14. Ensure that the tool chosen has professional support to address any technical difficulties. Ensure external migrations teams (if any) be along in this process under their contract.
  15. If tools usage is large in terms of team size, volume of data and critical w.r.t test operations please have a phased migration plan minimizing the risks
  16. Document details – including the migration plan, milestone tracking and migration reports, to track any gaps.

These are some of the key insights I gained from the tool migration projects undertaken by Testree. Please feel free to share your feedbacks, suggestions and happy to welcome any business opportunities. More details at below links:

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