In our previous article, we introduced the 5 types of testing that every Kronos customer should know. Each of these types of Kronos testing plays an important role in an effective Quality Assurance program for your workforce management (WFM) initiative.
In this article, we’ll provide high-level guidance and best practices on the key components of effective System Integration Testing.
What is Systems Integration Testing (SIT)?
System Integration Testing (SIT) is carried out in an integrated hardware and software environment to verify the system’s behavior. SIT involves in-depth testing of the interfaces with external systems and any external hardware.
The SIT process is essential because the data flowing in and out of the modules and systems have a direct impact on how the systems will function. Without SIT, it’s just “garbage in/garbage out.”
How to Approach Kronos SIT
System Integration Testing is performed by the project team, with end-to-end system interfaces and hardware testing done in close collaboration with the following teams:
- Customer IT: helps facilitate data transfers, e.g., helping with data manipulation.
- Source System Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): from upstream systems work closely with project teams to ensure the correct use cases are identified, the exact test scenarios are entered, and an extract is triggered.
- Destination System SMEs from downstream systems help to ensure identification of the correct use cases, ensure the exported data is processed correctly, and that the extracted data is validated through processing.
SIT occurs after the unit and functional testing of individual modules. This ensures the efficient use of time and resources. It also guarantees that the system exhibits a basic level of stability and correct business logic before engaging any external teams.
Pro Tip/Recommendation: We highly recommend that you complete SIT before User Acceptance testing begins. (Note: you can make accommodations for known low to medium priority issues that will have minimal impacts for UAT participants.)
You should perform SIT in a QA environment. The testing of import interfaces requires that test data is keyed and imported from the QA environment of source systems. The testing of export interfaces requires that test data is exported to and validated in the QA environment of destination systems. To test external hardware, you should connect dedicated non-production hardware to the QA environment. And with modern systems having a greater emphasis on mobile, you should also test on various mobile platforms and configurations.
Upon completing the functional testing for each module, you must identify end-to-end business use cases and test them. This ensures that you’re passing data correctly between modules, systems, and external hardware. The process is sometimes called end-to-end testing – which includes testing the logic, mappings, and use cases for the integration.
Pro Tip/Recommendation: A single integration between two systems typically supports multiple business processes within an organization. Testing these integrations requires working with business SMEs to review each integration, understand the flow of data, and identify the business use cases that trigger the movement of data.
Key Activities of Kronos SIT
1. Test Planning
The SIT test planning process should define the high-level data flows that are in-scope, including:
- Imports: such as Employee Import; Accrual Import; Volume Import; Hours of Operation Import, and so on.
- Exports: such as payroll, daily data, or punches.
- Hardware: including clocks, POS devices, custom app integrations, and more.
- Scheduled Processes: like archiving, schedule generation, batch events, and reporting.
During the interface design sessions, you should define the requirements for each integration by identifying the source data and movement logic. However, we often find that use cases for interfaces often don’t get clearly defined as they should.
You should capture this information in a design document for each integration that includes cross-reference tables (CRTs) or existing configurations. The plan should consist of a detailed project and resource capacity planning with a timeline for dependencies, identification of upstream and downstream system SMEs, and a point of contact for the hardware design, configuration, and setup. It should also define the defect management process and how to communicate defects to external teams.
2. Test Case Writing
Project teams must work with the SMEs to identify the in-scope use cases for each module, including the data mapping requirements and CRTs. Writing detailed data mapping test cases is just as crucial as writing detailed end-to-end test cases. The documents should specify and set up test users and test data, identify shared locations, and secure credentials to exchange the data.
3. Test Execution
Test execution in SIT includes the running of all in-scope test cases as a first step. Review all failed test cases to determine their validity. Then raise any defects by following your Defect Management Process. Finally, re-execute any failed tests. It’s also essential to have daily defect review meetings to keep this process on track.
Kronos SIT Deliverables
There are five deliverables from SIT that should include:
- Project and resource project plan
- Stage-gate entrance/exit criteria to begin SIT
- Documented test cases organized by end-to-end business use cases
- Test execution plan
- Test case execution status report
Kronos SIT Best Practices
Setting and managing clear expectations is critical to SIT, in part because the testing process relies on multiple systems, external teams/departments, and SMEs. Securing the time necessary to support the development and execution of SIT should be a high priority.
Keep in mind that SIT always takes longer than expected because meeting your timeline depends on these external teams. Share your timelines and expectations early on to ensure their buy-in and support.
Avoid any misunderstandings by building common vocabulary and a shared understanding of key terminology between teams. We often find that the root of integration issues lies in our understanding of key terms such as “hire date,” “effective date,” “pay code,” “earn code,” “employment class,” “job,” “role,” and so on.
Based on our experience, inadequate SIT is one of the leading causes of issues in production. Plan for at least two SIT passes by testing 100% of test cases to alleviate or lessen any production issues.
As we outlined in our previous article, 5 types of testing that every Kronos customer should know, SIT validates the interactions between all workforce management system modules, including interfaces with any external systems and hardware.
We’ve learned that it’s crucial to engage external teams early to ensure the exchange of correct data between systems to support client-specific business processes. Testing should mirror this approach by organizing and testing the business use case supported by each integration.
We can help if you’re implementing a new Kronos workforce management system, upgrading to a new version, or releasing business-driven changes.
TestAssure is committed to providing Kronos customers with test strategy, planning, and automation to help you minimize the impact of your system changes, reduce your risks, and help you move faster with confidence.
Contact us today for a test drive.