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Tool and Process for Incorporating Transplant Data from Customers into Test Environments

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000127408D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Aug-29
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Aug-29
Document File: 2 page(s) / 274K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Most software product testing environments do not include customer "reality" as part of their test processes. By customer "reality" we mean setting up a test lab to not only mimic the types of products and hardware that customers have, but also to use data obtained from customers for use during product testing (we refer to "live" customer data as "transplant data"). The types of transplant data obtained from customers is dependent upon the type of product undergoing testing. For example, if the product undergoing testing is a networking product, then being able to use live network traffic flows obtained from a customer environment and "replaying" the flows in the testing environment would provide a tremendous advantage to the test team -- there's no "second-guessing" what types of network traffic a customer has. You'll see the network traffic spikes, the different types of traffic, and likely some network traffic that has errors. Likewise, if there's any kind of database, or configuration file, or filter, or customization script, or whatever -- all these can be brought into a test lab and made use of by testers. Without the use of such "live" customer data -- data that ensures customer "reality" is a **fact** -- testers are left just guessing what kind of environment the product they're testing will be used in. Additionally, testers also have to manually configure these "guessed at" environments. The purpose of this disclosure is to describe a process and a tool that can be used to obtain customer data and automatically configure a test lab with "live" customer data.

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Tool and Process for Incorporating Transplant Data from Customers into Test Environments

The "Quality XChange" tool and associated processes greatly reduce the cost of incorporating customer data through use of automation. It makes it easier for customers to submit Transplant data from their environments, for engineers to get that data and use it in testing, and for managers and leads to analyze the activity and possibly present it to customers if desired. The general goals are outlined below:

Provide an external interface for customers to use in providing transplant data to test teams

Currently, the Tivoli Enterprise Console product's rulebases and the Tivoli Business Systems Manager's databases are most widely used transplant data items by our test teams

Provide an internal interface for testers to use in accessing a central repository of Transplant data that is available for testing

Provide an internal interface to use in nominating new opportunities for Transplant data and testing (e.g., Suppose an engineer returns from a customer visit and reports that the customer he visited is using one of our products in a rather unique environment. If so, it would be good to make sure that a follow-up is performed with that customer and, if the customer is agreeable, having him upload transplant data for use by the test team).

Reporting interface to statistics about usage and proliferation to internal leads/managers, and possibly to externals

In product design and system testing, we make extensive use of customer "personas" (personas are "characterizations" of people who will be using the product -- there might be an administrator persona, a manager persona, an executive persona, etc.) In order to get a good handle on what type(s) of people will be using this tool, we have created several personas. Here is one such persona for a customer using this tool:

Wants data from his environment reflected in pre-GA testing.

Needs understanding of how this "Transplant" data will be used.

Ideally, would like to get a report of what tests used his specific data and what problems were found, perhap only the serious problems.

Has very little time to spend helping Tivoli improve quality, but will contribute if return ca...