Ask any tester and they will likely tell you that far too often the bane of their job revolves around their
test environment. Test environment management, while too often
overlooked, is no small matter. It
involves guiding and managing the test environment hardware, software, databases, applications, and
test data. Tools, procedures, and various other resources are utilized for each area of management from
automation tools
, best practices procedures, hardware and software resources and of course the actual
people. It is a significant undertaking to properly manage test environments, so why should we do it?
Unreliable test environments can greatly increase operational costs
multiple levels, as well as decrease test coverage and lower the
overall quality of the end product. Poorly managed environments
lead to slowed testing and inconsistent results while inadequate test
data management leads to different, but just as prob
lematic, testing
Most test environment issues can be boiled down to the lack of a
dedicated test management team. Best practices are either non
existent or are not followed properly and there’s no one dedicated to
auditing the processes, if they
even exist. Test environments are often
fragmented due to project level releases, lack coherent
documentation, and managing them is done manually. All of these
common challenges can be remedied by proper test environment
a test environment is managed efficiently, it conveys many immediate and measurable
improvements. Release schedules can speed up, infrastructure costs decrease, and testers

as well as
the rest of the teams
see increased productivity. Test coverage is
improved and hand
hand with that
benefit is an overall enhanced level of quality.