Whilst on a recent trip to Florida I spent a little leisure time partaking in some fishing. Rest assured no fish were hurt in this venture and they were all safely delivered back to the lake. However, I also saw some snapping turtles and later found out that alligators had been spotted in the area. Whilst turtles could remove a finger or toe, the alligators could do much more harm, so it is likely I was in more danger than the fish.
It reminded me of a recent exploration of capability I undertook with Deloitte around their UAT management process. The alligators here were the defect false positives, lack of knowledge in systems, and ability to feedback information on the outcomes found. These are common issues when a larger business population is given the job of ensuring the quality of central IT systems before go-live.
So how was this backwater of lurking peril navigated and the prime fish caught?
The backbone of this was a simple, yet comprehensive, web solution that allowed users to be contacted via automatic e-mails to show when a validation cycle was starting. Using this link, the business users could easily see what was required to be tested and by when. The lack of knowledge issue was removed by embedding actual animations of the requirements. These had been created earlier using TestAssist that translates any application run-through into training documentation and animations.
Whilst TestAssist allows a simple web interface to view and manage the testing requirements, it also gave users the capability to record their actual test execution over multiple technologies and applications. This enabled a full audit trail to be created which shows exactly what had been done. Coupled with a triage workflow built into the system, this drastically cut the number of false positives as these could be weeded out before ever getting to a developer. Permitting feedback at two levels was another key capability, the first held information about specific areas of the system with the test run through results attached. The second was a survey with set questions that each member that had been invited to test the new system was encouraged to fill in. This gave crucial overview information to allow the managers to make the key stop/go-live decision in a timely manner.
Jonathan Pearson is a Customer Success Manager with Original Software.