Of recent times, we’ve spoken with some consultants and smaller companies in terms of their testing requirements. For context, this refers to projects both inside and outside of the Dynamics domain.
In the Dynamics scenarios, both projects have test resource in place already, however, don’t feel they are maximising their return on investment (ROI) when it comes to testing. From experience, we gauge that, potentially, there’s a disconnect in the communication.
How do we resolve this?
As Test Manager, listen to your project counterparts in their explanations of how they operate and what they need to be successful in their roles. Then, clearly communicate what you need from your project counterparts. As a Project Manager, work to integrate your team and their ways of working.
Another key challenge in projects is that, on occasion, requirements aren’t outlined properly by the business or equally, aren’t captured soundly by the Business Analysts (BA). This can mean scope creep, therefore, delays and ultimately, lead to frustration and other stress-inducing emotions. A BA’s role is crucial in the infancy of the project as it carves the landscape for everything that follows.
What to do if you don’t feel requirements are captured correctly? Go back to the drawing board.
How does this impact testing?
Quite simply, if the requirements aren’t sound, the Test Team are unlikely to be adding the same level of value they would if the requirements were correct. Sure, they’ll likely uncover some defects but are the defects found in the components of the system that will cause the most damage to the business? Probably not.
Another fundamental when it comes to extorting value from your Test Team is to enable them. Ask these questions:
- Do they understand the assignment?
- Do they have everything they need to be successful?
- Are they trained adequately?
- Are they supported?
It’s a natural part of leadership that people work more efficiently and effectively when they feel trusted to do the job, so eradicate the micro-managing and enable your team by entrusting them with responsibility. The results of such leadership will speak for itself.
When it comes to testing, particularly the user acceptance phase, we’ve all experienced a reluctance from certain users at some point in our experience. Those reasons are often understandable:
- Comfortable doing their job and resistant to a change in process and system
- Don’t have the time to commit to testing
- Overworked in their day-to-day role and don’t want the added pressure
- Lacking confidence in their own tech ability
As Test Managers, particularly as external resource, we can really cajole by sharing the benefits of their input and involvement as end users. What we really need is buy-in from their line managers to truly get the most from their efforts. After all, the users are really the ones whose feedback truly steers the project to success – at least from a testing capacity.
Finally, the keystone to any project success is collaboration. We’ve seen so many good consultants and people work in siloed fashion, and struggle to direct the project because project management didn’t combine everyone’s skill-sets. As with any team sport, collaboration is instrumental to success.
Consider how bringing together your Test Team and your Functional, Development and Business Analysis representatives early enough will benefit your implementation goals. Seeing the requirements being pulled together and even having Test Team members sit in on such meetings can really help your project’s level of success. It’s important to convey that everyone has a responsibility when it comes to testing, it’s not just limited to the Test Manager and their team. Work with each other to reduce knowledge and time deficits across the board.
After reading this, your consideration should be: based on our expenditure towards testing, what’s our ROI and how can we work more diligently to improve our chances of overall success?
Takeaways when it comes to maximising your ROI on testing:
- Communicate effectively across teams
- Outline your requirements clearly
- Enable your Test Team
- Encourage buy-in from the rest of the business
- Collaborate; testing is everyone’s responsibility