Test Data Management



Many business applications can only be tested if their databases have adequate data. This is especially challenging in late test stages and if the data is sensitive. Regulations or the need to protect intellectual property might hinder copying (certain) data from production to development and test environments.

I spoke on many conferences on these topics (Swiss Testing Day 2010 and 2013 in Zurich, Testing & Finance 2012 in London, Iqnite Germany 2013 in Düsseldorf, German Tessting Night 2013 in Munich, Software Quality Days 2013 in Vienna). For those looking for more information, the following papers might be helpful:

  1. The Test Data Challenge for Database-Driven Applications (testing experience) is a good introduction into test data management. It is relatively short and explains why some random values in database tables do not work. More important, it provides concrete criteria for evaluating the quality level of a given test data set.
  2. Test Data Management in Practice (Software Quality Days). This is my most comprehensive article why to invest into test data management, who to organize the test data based on types, and how to support the processes by extending HP Quality Center/ALM. The article focuses on the needs in later test stages in medium and large IT organizations and has a clear practical focus. There is also an article in German (Test Data Management – Investieren oder ignorieren), which is an excerpt of the business case discussion.
  3. The Test Data Challenge for Database-Driven Applications (2nd DB Test Workshop). This article discusses the various options how to provide test data and compares them. The paper has a technical perspective and focuses on test stages from unit to system test and has some more theoretical sections.
  4. White-Box Testing for Database-driven Applications (3rd DB Test Workshop) . This paper discusses more theoretical aspects and elaborates the specifics for testing applications which incorporate databases.

In the following, some videos about test data management. The first one provides – in just 6 minutes – a high level introduction.

Another highlight is this video on whether or not centralising test data management makes sense for an IT organisation.

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