Tuesday, 19 March 2013

9 Reasons why TDM is critical to a project's success

In my previous posts, I explained about the building blocks of the concepts of Test Data Management (TDM) namely Data Subset, Data Masking, Data Archive, Test Data Refresh, Gold Copy.  Alternatively you might also want to read all articles from the table of contents.  In this post, I will try to explain why TDM is critical to a project's success.

  • Your test data determines the quality of testing
    • No matter how good your testing processes are, if the test data used is not right or of adequate quality, then the entire product's quality will be affected.
  • Your test data should be highly secure
    • It is absolutely mandatory that your test data doesn't contain data from production without being masked.  If the data is not secure enough, then there is every chance that a data breach might happen, which can cause the organization dearly.
  • Test data needs to be as close to real time as possible
    • Not only that test data needs to be of quality, it should be as close to real time data / production data as possible.  Why? Simple reason is we do not want to build a system/application/product for 6 months and fail in the production just because there was not adequate real time data to test.
  • Lowers test data creation time which results in overall test execution time
    • This is self explanatory.  This drastically reduces the overall test execution time.
  • Testers can focus on testing rather than test data creation
    • The main focus of trying to automate the test data management process is to allow the testers to focus on the actual testing than worrying about how the data is created and the technicalities surrounding it.  This allows the team to remain focused on the job at hand (The actual testing) so that it can be done more effectively.
  • Speeds up time to market of applications
    • Faster & Effective test data creation leads to faster & effective testing, which in turn leads to faster time to market for the application.  It is a cycle and hence it has a compounding effect, release on release.
  • Increases efficiency of the process by reducing data related defects
    • Due to the accuracy of the test data, data related defects will reduce enormously, thereby increasing the efficiency of the process.
  • You can manage lower volumes of test data sets more efficiently
    • Any time, managing lower volumes is better and more cost effective than managing higher data volumes.  The maintenance costs associated with higher volumes will increase over time and will affect the operational costs.
  • Process remains same even though team size increases
    • This is a critical point, you would not need to reinvent the wheel if the team is ramped up.  The same process can be followed/extended even if team size increases.

    In this post, we discussed why Test Data Management is critical to the project's success.  Quite often, test data management is not the priority for most projects.  This affects their efficiency in the longer run.  Hope this post helps in bringing out the point why it is so critical to the project.  Do you feel there are more points to add?  Please feel free to comment.  Thanks for reading.

    About the Author

    Rajaraman Raghuraman has nearly 8 years of experience in the Information Technology industry focusing on Product Development, R&D, Test Data Management and Automation Testing.  He has architected a TDM product from scratch and currently leads the TDM Product Development team in Cognizant.  He is passionate about Agile Methodologies and is a huge fan of Agile Development and Agile Testing.  He blogs at Test Data Management Blog & Agile Blog.  Connect with him on Google+


    1. Hi, Not sure if this thread is alive or not. I was searching for some information on TDM and came across this and the other article on Test Data refresh in TDM.

      These blogs are written in an easy to understand way. Thanks for this.

      My question is after the test data is refreshed from either of the types Complete, Partial or Incremental - what is the technique the test team should take to validate the data refresh has worked.
      Should we run the application regression pack? -
      Could this be a costly solution as we could be doing lots of testing, touching on the same data multiple times.
      Instead, should we look at the tables refreshed and call the functionality those tables use. Then we have to depend on the development team to tell us what are the areas to test.
      Is that a better approach?

      Or is there a widely used solution?

    2. Interesting read thank you for sharing.

    3. Hello Rajaraman,

      please go on with writing article about TDM. It's a good topic. I wrote newly some by myself, but at the moment only in German. I look forward to translate it. Nice Article.... go on in writing about test Data Management!

      Best regards

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