Test Data Management - An Integral Part of Testing-as-a-service

While availing Testing-as-a-Service [TaaS], benefits like Cost Reduction and Revenue Optimization seemed obvious but did you double check if the package is inclusive of Test Data Management? With Big Data the buzzword these days, we often sideline the test data management, in fact, experts believe that an effective Test Data Management could increase the quality of the product.

CloudQA being the pioneers in offering Testing-as-a-Service [TaaS] stress on why Test Data Management is an integral part of your Testing-as-a-Service [TaaS]

Test Data Management Tools

Boost TaaS with Test Data Management[TDM]

Before moving on “How to prepare/manage your test data” let’s look at the challenges faced by a QA/tester in test data management.

The Challenges faced by a QA/tester in test data management

What Test data  is needed?

What is test data? For a numeric field fill in the value as 12345 and for a string ABCDE. Most of the test results do show such kind of screenshot where data was put in randomly. While testers argue that they were not performing data testing hence data could be random, experts believe each test case to mimic the real-life scenario. Simply, many testers are unclear on the experimental data to be used for a scenario in many cases.

Test Data Need Better Simulation, Masking, and Periodic Refresh

Put yourself in a financial trader/broker shoes, would he be able to make decisions based on simulated data? Or when the feed is delayed by 30 secs? That’s what happens for a tester/QA who tries to test a real-life scenario but fails may be because data is just the sample data or few weeks old or is given to you with a delay. Most of the testing teams would agree, that test data is close to real but NOT REAL!

Database Structuring, Relations, Keys, and linking is ambiguous to testers

A tester is well-aware of the full functionality, environment needs but very few know how and which tables get updated when hitting the submit button. What are the primary or unique keys in a table that could not be overridden? What’s linking of the data? Does submission of a record update multiple tables or just one? Ignorant on these issues, testers often override the data from backend to test a scenario or delete data leading in data getting corrupted.

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Best Practices for Test Data Management[TDM]

With “Known Problem Area” let’s look at the Best Practices to structure the test data in a systematic way that enhances productivity and boost the quality of the product.

Know Your Data

Know your data, whether it is a numeric field or alphanumeric in nature, which tables it gets stored. When it moves to the upstream system, does it change its name or nature? What are its limitations, what are the rules? Know all about your data.

Masking the Sensitive Data

While real data could be fun to test, it also comes with responsibility. Hence many corporates and enterprises to maintain compliance and regulations need to mask sensitive information. Just for example if your system gets the data with a delay of 30 secs, and a trader has placed a buy order of large quantity it would be wise to mask the orderid, stock and quantity to ensure confidentiality of the order.

No Data Manipulation

Avoid altering data from the backend to test a specific scenario. That may result in a specific test as pass but may corrupt the database with interlinking or relational tables.

Automate Comparison

Quick automation to compare the expected and actual results could be a faster way to point out inconsistencies and data anomalies.

Schedule a Periodic Refresh of Test Data

Make sure to establish a process and get a regular refresh of test data, which leads to enhanced testing efficiencies and streamlined testing process. Test Data management is integral to TaaS as with Test Data Management, increase testing speed by up to 25% and cut the cost to 5-10%. The perfect balance of Quality vs. Cost. Isn’t it?

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