Testing. Doesn’t that word bring about so much excitement and enthusiasm from you? Chances are, probably not. Not many of us enjoy testing, but it is the one activity that pretty much guarantees a successful implementation. How do I know this? Because in support, it’s often those areas that are not thoroughly tested that become the first areas to have issues. It’s such a shame because it’s completely preventable, yet the time and effort during an implementation is mostly spent on the design and build of the functionality, not actually making sure it work across multiple scenarios.
Let’s look at testing in a whole other context. When I was little, I was highly involved in our church productions. I was often selected to sing a solo or duet with my sister. One of the activities we always had at the dress rehearsal was the sound check. I was asked to come to the stage and sing into the microphone. I didn’t fully understand why this was so important. I mean, a mic is a mic, right? It should always be working. If it worked for the soloist before me, why wouldn’t it work for me? Of course, as soon as I belted out my first note, the feedback rang with such a perpetually high squeal that I shot away from the microphone. The choir behind me, the stage crew and others in the pews all sneered, held their ears and stared at me. The sound engineers frantically adjusted their dials. After the initial shock, I was asked to repeat in the microphone, “testing, testing, 1, 2, 3.” I’ll never forget that moment. Turns out that what worked for the previous soloist didn’t work for me at all. The sound engineers took notes to ensure that they adjusted the settings for my voice. Same equipment, but different results for each singer.
Sounds kind of like systems doesn’t it? We are all using Microsoft Dynamics NAV, but we all have our own ways of using it. The same base functionality is not quite used in the same way for your business than it would for mine. Software engineers, like BDO Solutions consultants and developers help us adjust code and change settings in order for the system to respond the way we need it to. Can you imagine if I skipped the sound check before my performance? The audience would have been appalled by the feedback squeal, as I’m sure you may have experienced once or twice yourself as a member of an audience. It is for this reason that the testing is required for all performances that involve systems.
Best practices across many different industries require that we test because there is always a possibility of it failing the first time. In addition, the best testers are those that know the requirements and expectations of every task the system should perform. That means, the more effective testers are the users. Encourage your users to get their hands dirty and process some tasks that they currently do every day. Teach them early, so that they can rehearse before their performance at go-live. With each practice, the faults and missed requirements of the system will surface allowing time for corrections to be made before the big performance.
If you’re inspired to test so that your go-live performance can be a successful one, below are some tips:
First, define what you are testing:
- Define tasks and define your scenarios and use cases
- Ensure your test cases consist of:
- Input data
- Test situation or conditions
- Expected results
- Include reproduction steps for pass and/or fail scenarios
Secondly, create a test script per task tested:
- Include a screen shot of the database and the company that the testing has occurred in
- Include multiple scenarios and what conditions or steps changed for each
- For each scenario include a test rating: Pass, Conditional Pass or Fail status
Finally, a picture says a thousand words! Save yourself the work by using technology tools you already have to take screen shots and create videos with:
- Windows Snipping Tool (search “snipp” in your programs search bar on your Windows “Start” icon)
- Record Snag IT videos or take screen shots and edit them
- Record your reproduction steps: PSR – Problem Steps Recorder, this program is included in every windows operating system (search “PSR” in your programs search bar on your Windows “Start” icon)
Testing is no longer a bore when you think of it in the right context. If go-live is your big debut, and “the show must go on”, then testing is the way to ensure your performance occurs just as rehearsed and you receive a standing ovation.