I am looking for tips on production validation. I work for a large insurance company and we are having trouble getting our heads around how to do production validation. Some of our releases have features that may take 1 - 2 months before it is used in productions...any tips?
Just insure you do not create any new users or accounts which can not be removed or delete any data. This can cause real issues down the road. Also for time related tests, don't forget, you can change the time/date on the client box. Sometimes that can help with testing timed functions. There is also the testing of the client app on various types of machines and browsers which also could cause user issues. This is usually best done by 3rd party test groups who have the facilities to do so.
To me Production Validation is almost the same as User Acceptance Testing, which I have done as a Verification step after releasing to Production.
If you are trying to mimic the Production Environment in order to validate against, you may or may not be able to do this depending on the systems you have in Production. The best option is to get architecturally as close as possible to Production and test against that. If you can get an exact mirror, great, but don't expect it if your production environment grows past a certain point.