The biggest reason why a test environment is important is to prevent the disruption of the production environment. It allows developers and testers to test a solution that simulates what should happen in a real-life scenario without changing any data or slow down the production system. Testing is important itself to make sure the end product works as intended without any breakage.
But creating and maintaining a test environment takes some time and resources…
That is true but creating and maintaining a test environment is a much better option than creating a product in production that could potentially bring the whole system down or a loss important data when it’s not supposed to be changed. This causes stress and urgency of fixing what caused the system to go down and the important data that is lost may not ever be recovered. More time and resources could potentially be put into data recovery and debugging the issue which disrupts the flow of user processing.
An example would be an Accounts Payable solution. Let’s say the accounts payable solution uses database calls. If a query is not thoroughly tested, this query might change or delete data in the database. If there isn’t a test environment to test the query with, real-life data would be changed which means that there may be late payments with incorrect dates in the database, and incorrect invoice amounts in the database which can cause a loss of money and company revenue overall. To fix this issue, this might mean AP employees have to stop working as the developer debugs the issue to prevent further damage and this causes further loss of revenue of employees not being able to work while the issue is being fixed. If these data that were changed were never backed-up, these data may not ever be recovered.
With a test environment, this query would have been tested thoroughly without any disruption of real-life data or employees. Testers can make sure all outlier cases are covered and make sure no data was lost or changed. Once the query is fully tested, with a good test environment, the solution can be moved to production with the expectation that everything will work as well as what was produced in the test environment.
Katherine Wu, Developer