Implement testing in your enterprise with Chrome

Demián Renzulli
Demián Renzulli
Matthias Rohmer
Matthias Rohmer

Imagine your company's most important software suddenly breaks—what would happen? Orders could get lost, deadlines might be missed, but customers would definitely be complaining.

This nightmare scenario is avoidable: by implementing a continuous and rigorous testing process, that catches problems before they cause chaos. But implementing such a process in your organization is easier said than done.

This article will show you everything you need to think about when getting started with testing in your company, and how you can benefit from testing in the long-term.

Testing best practices for product teams

The first part of this article covers the process of starting to implement testing in your workflow.

Implement a testing culture in your team

Successfully introducing testing in your team requires that everyone shares a common mindset, and sees quality not as a burden, but as an investment. This is a process that, as every other cultural shift, requires time and consistency.

One thing that can help shape this culture are regular meetings to discuss defects, the impact they had, where they came from, and what it took to get them fixed. This helps to create awareness for why it's good to prevent such defects in the first place.

Having a dedicated person in the team who oversees and drives the effort can strongly increase the chance of success. Someone that defines team—or even organization-wide—guidelines, collects best practices and shares them and advocates for the effort across levels.

Another useful instrument can be to rotate the support role of your product. Getting first-hand, unfiltered insights from your customers and learning about the everyday problems they face with your product can be a valuable experience for product managers, designers, and developers.

The goal is that everyone in your team understands that quality is a feature, as important as any other functionality that you build for your product. Once everyone adopted that mindset, it's a natural progression to understand that tests are a feature as well. Because tests are what ensure the shipped quality.

A step by step testing process

Once there is alignment between the different teams involved in product development, you can further formalize the existence and usage of tests.

Make tests part of the "Definition of Done"

By adding tests as a feature requirement, you state a feature is not ready to ship until it is properly and automatically tested

Run tests regularly

Once implemented, automated tests can be your safeguard in every step of the development process. They need no human intervention, and can be run on every critical step of your development pipeline. For example:

  • On every commit.
  • On every pull request.
  • After every full release or environment change.

If you are relying on third-party services in your production environment it can even make sense to run your tests against production to ensure third-party APIs behave as expected.

Define and collect metrics

Defining a set of metrics is important in order to measure the effectiveness of your tests and the impact of testing workflows on your business. Here are some examples of metrics that you can use:

  • Releases per month: A higher number of releases per month can indicate a more agile development process. Automated testing plays a key role here by ensuring releases can proceed with confidence.
  • Bug reports: A decreasing trend in bug reports can be a positive sign that your testing (and development processes) are effective.
  • Test coverage: While never an exact metric, coverage can be a good indicator of how deeply you're testing critical use cases.

Note that these metrics are also influenced by other factors which might skew them. For example, your release count might go down in a holiday season, while bug reports go up. So don't rely on only a few and make sure to crossmap them with other data available to your team.

When you successfully implement those steps with your team, your product health will definitely benefit in the long term. But there still is more you can do!

Testing best practices for system administrators

Product teams can't work on their own. They rely on the hardware, tools and infrastructure maintained by system administrators. While system administrators usually don't directly contribute to the product development, they can still influence the development workflow for good. For example by actively managing the browser version certain user groups in the company use.

This second part of the article explains how this works, using Chrome's channels and enterprise policies.

Chrome release channels

By default Chrome auto-updates to ensure every user is running the latest, most stable and secure version of Chrome including every latest feature—the version of Chrome released on the stable channel.

As a company developing a web-based product you may want to use a browser ahead of the stable channel, to give your product teams time to adapt your product to changes to the web platform.

For this use case Chrome offers a total of four release channels, intended for different user groups.

In the case of Chrome, there are different release channels that you can use, to anticipate future browser changes and test the latest features before they are widely available:

  • Stable channel: This is where most of the users are. The stable channel automatically updates when there is a new Chrome release, which happens monthly.
  • Beta channel: This version will become stable in four to six weeks, giving you a chance to preview and test an upcoming stable release and prepare for it.
  • Dev channel: This channel gets a new version of Chrome once a week and includes all the latest fixes that will eventually move into beta. As the channel name suggests, it's in development and might therefore break unexpectedly—but it also includes the newest features, sometimes long before they make their way into stable. That makes the dev channel a great tool for prototyping and cutting-edge development.
  • Canary channel: The most experimental channel, containing every latest feature but without much testing. At least released daily.

If you want to learn more about Chrome's channels, checkout the relevant Chrome Concepts episode.

The product icons of Chrome stable, beta and dev together with their description.

Using channels in an exemplary organization

The structure of product teams varies among organizations, as there's no one size fits all approach to software development. As an example we'll assume a team with the following roles: Product Management, UX and UI, Engineering, Operations and Support.

For an organization like this, you can think about the following channel split:

  • Product Management: PMs can usually be on the stable channel, in order to use the same version as most users. Occasionally they could use the beta or dev channel if they are working on a feature that requires an API that has not been launched yet.
  • Engineering and UX: Parts of these teams can be on the dev channel, to give them access to the latest features, like View Transitions, even before they are in stable.
  • Operations: Could be on beta, to foresee breakage impacting users next.
  • Support: Can stay on the stable channel, to make sure they are interacting with the product with the same browser as most of your customers.

A diagram showing flow of channels throughout the example team

Use enterprise policies to manage channels

Rather than giving guidelines and leaving the decision about which channel to use, Chrome also offers enterprise and administration tools to actively manage which channel each user ends up using. This is useful as it immediately increases the testing surface from a few individual to a deterministic set of users, which helps identifying breakage as early as possible and in a traceable way.

If you want to use that level of control, here is the configuration we would recommend:

  • Employees (app users): To minimize the risk of disruption, most employees should be on the stable channel, which has been fully tested by the Chrome test team. Additionally, a small percentage of users (from 5 to 10%) can be on the beta channel. This channel gets a 4–6 week preview of Stable and can help admins to discover possible issues with a release, giving more time to address the issues before the release is rolled out to everyone else.
  • IT department: Members of the IT department, including system admins themselves can be on the beta or dev channel to get a 4–6 or 9–12 week preview of what's coming to the stable version of Chrome.

A diagram showing the split of channels between other employees and the IT department

Long term release channels

Product development might not go as quickly as planned and Chrome's release cadence of a month might be too high. For this use case Chrome provides an Extended stable channel that allows to get feature updates less frequently, but still receive security fixes. This channel is updated every eight weeks.

The following diagram shows how different milestones proceed through Chrome's different release channels:

A flow diagram showing the overlap of stable and extended stable versions

  • Both stable and extended stable ship the same versions for the first four weeks, after which the two diverge.
  • There is no extended beta channel; instead, the standard four week beta cycle is used to stabilize both stable and extended stable. Enterprises who choose to opt into the eight week extended stable should continue to run the beta channel as they do today in order to proactively identify issues that may impact their environments.


Testing is a crucial part of software development companies to ensure the quality of their products and also an important step for system administrators, to give employees of an organization access to high quality software and avoid disrupting business processes.

In order to succeed when implementing a testing workflow inside your organization it's important that everyone shares the common mindset that quality and therefore testing is a feature.

In this article, we have reviewed different ways to integrate testing best practices into your organization, for an in depth review of the existing testing tools check out our article Tools from Chrome for frictionless, automated testing.

For hands-on guidance to testing, from start to end, also check out our recent Learn Testing course and test automation best practices on