A good testing plan needs a few basic building blocks; otherwise, transformations can have unexpected issues at go-live. Testing best practices for transformations have building blocks to help avoid testing shortcomings around data, systems, processes, and people.
It is not glamorous, testing needs to focus on the basics when it comes to transformation projects. No surprises during go-live are the desired outcomes of testing a transformation project.
Basic Building Blocks:
Data representative of production
Transformation projects need a solid depth and breadth of data. The optimal approach is to use copies of production data for test cycles. This supports a complete data set for tests with a mix of various data states (e.g. open, closed items). Data volumes similar to production support realistic metrics for the actual go-live (e.g. durations, performance tuning). The goal is simple, practice and test what you will actually transform in production.
System that supports technical aspects of a transformation
Transformations are best supported by a test system with a similar code base and data dictionary objects as production. More specifically, these test systems need a cycle with the ability to perform integrated tests. In addition, keeping track of other functional / technical items in the promote to production landscape. Avoid promoting untested objects. Once again it is about the simple goal of practicing and testing what you will do in production.
Understand processes that are impacted
Business processes need a testing focus during a transformation. It is a mistake to validate only programmatically or manually the changed objects (e.g. ABC is now XYZ), only check total record counts or summations. A process needs to be validated end to end. With transformations, it is testing the actual process that occurs in production.
Involve the business people that understand the processes
People that understand the events and processes that occur in the production environment are critical to your transformation success. It is not just the daily transactions actions but also the periodic events that can be a weekly, monthly, quarterly or year-end that need inspection.
Little things can lead to bigger things. If a change is made to logic, or mappings during a transformation it needs to be retested. It is just that simple.
Process should be repeatable, focused and documented
Testing should be a well-documented and cataloged set of tasks. They should be easily repeated. Scripts are focused on content areas. It is more than doing the verifications, and totals check. Specific processes are documented and tested from both a reporting and transaction processing perspective during a transformation project.
We have had over a dozen years of transformation project experience and these testing building blocks have been present with successful transformations. Projects that stay disciplined using best practices have successful go-lives.
An outside review of your approach by our team of experts will help with your transformation project success.