new city. After the install was complete and the site was live, two people on the team placed "real production orders." We discovered that our order-generating system was starting with the number 1. The fact that the order number so clearly indicated how many orders had been placed in that market wasn't the kind of fact we wanted our competitors to discover so easily! A quick change to the database was made and the team placed additional production orders to ensure the order numbering had been properly corrected.
Check Any Third-Party Links
We have a couple of links that work with other companies and their Web sites. When our site goes live, I check to see if these links are working to ensure the sites are working together as defined. I check them from both inside and outside of our firewall.
Verify that Nightly or Weekly Jobs Are Ready for the Environment
Last on the list is checking any nightly or weekly jobs that need to be run in production have been modified and are in place. Typically, our DBA will check to ensure data warehousing jobs and other jobs are in place and configured correctly. Following the release, the team keeps an extra eye open for any production issues. Our technical support team-which has been told in advance of each release-also waits to hear if any issues arise. If so, the release team is immediately called into action.
Preparing a checklist in advance helps minimize time and confusion during the release cycle. This is especially helpful if you have to complete the release cycle at three or four o'clock in the morning. By planning, organizing, and maintaining a commonsense approach when searching for flaws during any step of the process, QA testers make valuable contributions to the team.