Organisations today are increasing their focus on Quality Assurance for obvious reasons.

Cost optimisation remains high on agenda for most and early efforts to thoroughly conduct QA checks before moving to production can help a long way.

The modern technologies and software allows for a magnitude of functionalities available as part of their product sets in the cloud or on premise. Organisations leverage these products and customise them to their requirements expecting faster time to market (TTM) as one of the several benefits. While these pre-build functionalities reduce the development time, it becomes even more important to better align the testing strategy rather than compromising the time for testing.

Office 365 is one such cloud based product from Microsoft. It represents a number of different products ( SharePoint Online, Yammer, Outlook-emails, Skype, Delve, OneDrive etc.) that together provides its users an enhanced collaborative and modern ways of effectively doing your job.

Having worked on many Office 365 implementations here are some of my high level learnings –

  • Start by taking time to understand the required outcomes as you would for any other project. A Office 365 platform can be home to various applications custom developed for your organisation ( Intranet/ Document Management/ Custom App etc.) using one or more of the base Office 365 offerings. While each application should have their own test cases and criteria’s, its very important to cover how they work together. (E.g. Customised yammer feed in your intranet)
    • The overall test methodology does not change largely
    • Define Pass/Fail criteria
    • Define milestones and success criteria’s
    • Identify roles and responsibilities
    • Outline risks, assumptions and constraints, if any
    • Define your test cases
  •  Commence you QA activities early on in the project lifecycle by developing a Traceability Matrix. This helps trace the solution design elements and test cases to the requirements. Break features in small testable components and commence the test cycle early. (DevOps is the buzz word) or try Pair Testing with the developer to make sure that there are no communication gaps and resolution of issues to be almost immediate.
  •  Identify areas to be tested and features that do not require testing
    • You may not want to invest time testing the out of the box features (e.g. uploading a document), until if they form part of a business process. In that case testing business process becomes critical ( e.g. uploading a document where the process required a meta data tag to be mandatory).
  • In case of Office 365 testing for multi-tenancy, elasticity, availability, interoperability etc. may not be required. Microsoft assures paid SLA’s to their customers. However do check for load & performance for custom applications developed by the vendor.
  • With mobile first approach, organisations are eager to develop a design that is responsive to various devices. Start by selecting appropriate device stimulators, however some of the stimulators have a different results set as compared to the actual device. And so it’s always good idea to have few devices to test the application ensuring accurate testing results.
  • Security: Test it once, test it twice!! •Considering organisation is on the journey of exposing the information on a Public Cloud security becomes critical.
    • Define the roles (Owners, Edit Permission, Read Only, No Permission) clearly
    • Outline areas that have sensitive information – No Brainer!!
    • Various use cases would require external users to access company information. Trace these and ensure the test cases cover them.
    • Request for various test users to be created and assign them different roles.
    • Populate your role matrix with all the above information and get it verified/ approved.
  • Migration forms another important factor in cloud based projects. This could include emails/.PST files, documents, rich media, web content, user profile information and many more
    • Understand the business rules identified for migration
    • It’s very important to understand the agreed migration process as this will change testing approach (Cutover Migration, Staged Migration, Hybrid Deployment). Your technical team can explain the difference.
    • Engage your end users to confirm the migration process is well understood. Also confirm a small subset of data with your selected end users to ensure the process works.
    • Ensure the Office 365 tenant has enough storage to cater for the data. (Usually the technical folks on the project are on this stuff)
    • Data migration validation can be carried out using automation or via third party data compression tools. Alternatively various third party products are available that specialize in migration to Office 365 and that provide migration reports (Sharegate, Nuix, Vypin etc.) Check with your technical team to see if they are using one of these.
  • Various third party tool are available in the market to better manage Quality Assurance process. From JIRA, Quality Centre to Team Foundation Server(TFS) or a simple a SharePoint Issues list. Get organized!!

It would be great to have your lessons learned around testing similar projects.

About Prometix: At Prometix, we design implement and support Microsoft based technology solutions that help our client’s staff to more easily use and share information as individuals and in teams. We work with our clients to establish a structure that makes information easier to create, store, find and share with others. We’ve worked hard to understand how people want to access and share information.


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