Solve your QA staff shortages through automated test data provision

Even though digital transformation was already visible, the pandemic has accelerated everything. There is more work than ever before. Sounds like an opportunity for the IT business? Well, a company cannot be successful if the quality of its people is not enough. Let alone when there are no people at all to do the work. And that’s exactly what’s going on. In this article we zoom in on how to cope with the shortage of QA Engineers.

Quality assurance helps you save time and money that would otherwise be spent on bug fixing and improving faulty code later in the development pipeline. Despite the important role of QA in software development, few testers are available. In fact, a recent survey by Jetbrains shows that 44% of software development teams have less than 1 QA per 10 developers. The pressure on QA is increasing by the day, causing a work environment that is tense and in which a mistake is made quickly.

    Stop wasting time

    A lot is already being invested in test automation – that’s a good development. But what strikes us is that there is still little attention for easy (automated) test data provision. Searching for test data can take up to 50% of the testers’ time. They need specific test data to cover the system under test properly, but they’re wasting valuable time searching for it in a large (copy of) production system. Next to that, they often have to wait for a DBA to deliver a database refresh; precious time lost since this can take up to days or even weeks. It’s time to stop wasting precious time.

    Be in control

    When a QA team has control over their test data, a lot of time, money and frustration is saved. A visual we often use to show the ideal test data architecture is the one below. This architecture is based on a copy production that complies with privacy laws and regulations. That means that if your data contains privacy sensitive data, this copy should be masked or scrambled.

    Test data architecture

    From this copy, multiple subsets can be extracted so that every team has their own compliant subset with exactly those test cases they need. This dataset can be manipulated and restored at any given moment, without affecting the other teams’ test data. It can also be automated so that every day a fresh dataset is ready for the test teams.

    Imagine how much time can be saved with automated test data provision. No one (DBA, manager) is disturbed anymore for a test data refresh, everyone can do their jobs and waiting times are over (the only waiting time is the technical time required to refresh a subset). Testers don’t have to go through terabytes of data searching for test cases – the subset contains exactly those cases they need. Even though we still could use some extra QA Engineers, easy and automated test data provision solves a large piece of the puzzle in the QA staff shortage.

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