Software Application Testing in Insurance, Part IV: Best Practices
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14 April 2009
Previous posts about testing Topic 1: Automated TestingTopic 2: Getting Test DataTopic 3: Test EnvironmentTopic 4: Best Practices in Application Testing: It's been a while since I've blogged about this subject, but I think the previous three posts could use some follow up. After talking about the need for testing, getting the test data, and setting up a test environment, we need to actually do the testing. The best practices for software application testing are not easy to set up and maintain, often requiring one or two full time IT resources with a test development specialty (often called a Software Test Engineer, or an STE). Not many technology vendors follow these best practices, let alone insurers, and the expense and effort might not be practical or possible for every insurance company. However, by understanding the best practices an insurer can at least take steps in the right direction. The ideal scenario is an automated system that is able to clean itself to a standard state before and after each test. For example, if the QA team wants to run manual tests for software application ABC, they would run a script that would:
- Drop all the tables in the database, recreate the tables in the database for ABC, and populate it with the same set of start data.
- Clear out any existing application code, then get and install the latest application code from development.
- In extreme cases, the entire test server OS will be reinstalled from scratch, though that is likely unnecessary for this level of application testing.