Microsoft refreshes its newest operating system twice a year – much more often than earlier versions. Therefore IT specialists and business users will have to spend more time testing connected software. How can they limit the extra effort?
In order to update the new operating system, companies must test all technical interfaces and dependent applications before the system can go live. The application landscapes of large organizations are complex – and so it is not unusual that thousands of applications have to be tested. In the past, this was a temporary effort which IT and users had to go through only every few years. It’s no surprise that they are not enthusiastic about the new procedure.
What can be done to cope with the extra work in a reliable manner – while reducing the effort in the long run?
1. Expand resources to deliver. Due to more frequent releases, not only the testing hours per year are skyrocketing. There is also a higher pressure on managers who work at project interfaces: release, test and rollout management must align their tasks very closely in order to provide the latest version within limited time. In most cases, the test team will need additional resources if the company wants to prevent delays as the next release will follow very soon.
2. Spare the testers’ nerve. Regular Windows tests will put a greater strain on the business departments. At the same time, there will be updates of other existing applications. There are good reasons to combine the test phases so that you won’t bother the users more than once.
3. We have prepared something. When a company launches Windows 10, the last operating system upgrade probably lies several years back. At best, the test routine was well documented at the time, but it is certainly outdated. Test managers and the business departments should reprocess all testing steps per application and document them in tools such as ALM.NET, Octane or Jira. When the next release comes up, testers will be able to pull the step-by-step instructions from the drawer.
4. Machine for routine. Many standard testing steps can be automated. But not every company is already using appropriate tools. It can be overwhelming for the project to introduce test machines parallel to the new operating system. Moreover, the investment will take some time to pay off. Nevertheless, automation should be considered in the medium term to unburden the users from repetitive testing.
5. It’s okay to postpone. Imagine a company has planned its transition to Windows 10 very thoroughly, but it gets apparent that they will be running short on resources? Then it can make sense to prioritize critical business applications. Software that is indispensable for day-to-day business is given preference. Less vital programs can be adapted later if necessary.
Over time, the whole process will become leaner by itself. After all, the application landscape will be precisely documented and should be up to date. With every release, experience will grow; test managers can learn a lot from failure. And you should not underestimate psychological aspects: Today companies are experiencing a lot of nervousness, but this will calm down once the staff has gone through the initial big transition and has mastered the challenge.
Two top graduates happily received the Münster Study Award Business Chemistry at the end of 2021: Kathrin Kirchhoff and Maria Nero. Their master’s theses focus on cell proteins, 3D printing and venture capital – underscoring once again the great variety of topics in business chemistry.
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