Introduction to SAP S/4HANA Test Lifecycle
SAP provides a vanilla version of S/4HANA to its customers (with only standard business processes configured). Although this is powerful, it may not be useful for the enterprise customers unless and until it is configured and customized as per their business processes, legal policies, and the technical requirements. SAP has the world’s biggest repository of business processes. However, all the business requirements of a customer cannot be mapped with SAP’s business process. Hence, customization in business processes is inevitable for any SAP S/4HANA migration project.
Customized business processes must undergo rigorous testing as it is developed in the customer namespace. The testing of business processes is mandatory in all the following situations:
- New feature addition to the S/4HANA system
- Bug fixes
- SAP kernel updates
- Support packages and stack updates
- OSS notes implementation
Test Lifecycle Management
As per the SAP Activate Methodology, the test lifecycle consists of three phases:
- Test Planning
- Test Preparation and Execution
- Test Validation
To minimize the number of issues during or after Go-Live, it is critical to manage the quality of the solution. As part of any scheduled maintenance event, it is necessary to consider and plan the testing cycles required to mitigate production support issues. In this stage the following key elements of the test planning must be documented:
Project Testing Objectives & Assumptions
- Unit Testing is complete before Integration Testing
- Unit Testing is only required for delta functionality
- Test Scope
Types of Testing
- Unit Testing
- Business Process (String) Testing
- Integration testing
- Data Conversion Testing
- User Acceptance Testing
- Description on how different test types relate to each other, e.g. how a successful unit test is a prerequisite for doing a string test or how a migration test results might lead into a pre-requisite for a user acceptance testing
- Testing Deliverables
- Test processes per phase, test environment, test tools
- Test Automation
- Testing Tools - which tools will be used to perform different tests (e.g. KTern, SAP Solution Manager)
- Description of how defects will be documented (e.g. Test Workbench in SAP Solution Manager)
Roles and Responsibilities
- Description of required test roles and responsibilities
- Test lead and responsibilities of individual project team members related to testing
Test Preparation and Execution
As determined in the evaluation of the existing test materials and documented within the testing plan, additional assets may need to be developed to support the execution of the testing cycles. Develop the missing test materials and test scripts in accordance with the detailed test plan.
The small change in a small component of S/4HANA can have a large impact on businesses - positive or negative but negative most of the times.
SAP S/4HANA - the product with enormous innovations
The digital transformation journey starts with the digital core, SAP S/4HANA - the intelligent ERP powered by SAP Leonardo Platform and SAP HANA. SAP also wants to transform its existing huge customer base to SAP S/4HANA by 2025. Many enterprises run on SAP ECC (Enterprise Central Component) customized completely or partially to suite their existing and changing business processes.
Within in each implemented solution scope, the following steps need to be executed:
- Extend best-practice test cases
- Develop delta process test cases
- Finalize integration and user-acceptance test cases and plan
- Prepare approval procedure
- Prepare tool adaption and delta user acceptance test training
- Prepare a test environment with the required test data as defined in the activity Test Planning. Once the tests have been planned and test data is available on the test systems, testing can begin.
The typical process for the Realize phase is as follows:
- Software developers perform unit tests in the DEV system. Depending on the type and scope of the test cycle, various functional tests are performed.
- Manual testers are provided with the tester handout document and receive details regarding their test package by e-mail.
- Automated tests are scheduled or started directly.
- Every test that is executed is logged and documented with test notes and a test status is set manually or automatically.
- If the system responds in an unexpected way during manual testing, for example, if an error message appears, the tester records the incident in the corresponding ITSM system, attaching screenshots, log messages, and so on. Usually, this also must be done manually even for automated tests.
- The incident is sent to the persons responsible for analysis and categorization of defects, who then corrects the defect in the development system.
- The correction is transported to the test system according to the existing arrangements and timelines, where it is then retested.
Given the complexity and heterogeneity of modern software solutions, SAP recommends performing the activity Integration Validation, especially for important business processes. This involves gathering and subsequently evaluating a substantial amount of data from the software applications that are active while a given business process is being executed. This type of validation also allows you to identify the hidden warnings and error messages that frequently occur at the interfaces between applications. Furthermore, the operations team should monitor the testing system as if it were production, in order to gain early visibility and hands-on experience to possible production issues.
If large-scale changes are made or new software solutions are implemented, load tests should be performed before these are used in production. These tests simulate a situation in which the expected load (known number of users and background load in a load-peak situation) is simulated. In doing so, the system behaviour while handling large data volumes can be inspected. Throughout the entire test cycle, test coordinators must monitor the test status and progress, as well as the processing status of incidents that have been reported. The quality of test data and test scripts directly affect the stability of the production system following the Go-Live of the change event. Consider an array of representative variances when preparing for the execution of the regression test cycle. It is important to execute realistic data sets that represent production operations of critical business processes.
The steps involved in the Test Validation Phase are:
- Prepare User Acceptance Test plan: Update the existing integration test cases, end-to-end customer business process scenarios, based on the learnings from previous test phase. UA test plans and test case documentations are stored in Solution Manager.
- Prepare and document User Acceptance Test Case #1 – n: The purpose of this task is to document the UA test case outlined in the UA test plan. This activity also contains aligned setup of relevant test data that will be commonly used.
- Execute User Acceptance Test Case #1 – n: Perform the test according to previously defined plan. During the test all issues must be logged and documented in the system for traceability purposes.
- Perform defect resolution for User Acceptance Test: Resolve any issue identified during testing. It is crucial that these issues are re-tested by the users that reported them (or designated re-testers) and that they are confirmed.
- Obtain User Acceptance Test Sign Off: Obtain customer approval (sign-off) of the User Acceptance Test.
Testing is a time-consuming process, but make sure that you do not cut corners. Quality time spent on testing can go a long way in saving you from unforeseen glitches. What other testing steps have you used? Share your suggestions with us!
Intrigued to learn more about KTern’s Test Management Suite? Schedule a guided demo to receive a 30-minute express session on KTern, its role & value in SAP S/4HANA conversion, and a walkthrough of the product.