Why do I say that ‘testing equals your reputation’, because it does.
As a project manager it is your responsibility to ensure that what you are changing (and we are specifically talking about system changes here) are fully operational at the end of the project, to meet the agreed and defined terms of the business needs.
Why then would you make these changes without testing them? Your own personal reputation, and that of the business is on the line. If you don’t test, and the changes fail, then not only do you (as the project manager) look bad, but the business does also. This is even more of an issue where there are external customers involved and impacted by the system changes.
The time that it takes to test, and test properly, is well worth every cent that is spent, because of the cost of the damages to your businesses reputation if things don’t work. I would actually say that the cost is even less than the cost to your organisations reputation if you don’t test and things don’t work.
Take the time to perform System Integration Testing, Regression Testing, Performance and Volume Testing and especially User Acceptance Testing. Every aspect of these testing regimes can and will highlight things that you didn’t expect. And, if they don’t, then fantastic. You know that your development team has done an amazing job, your Business Analyst has done an even more spectacular job, because all of the design and system changes have been spelt out and developed exactly as they should be, without any gotchas.
Be sure that you have traceability between your Business Requirements and your testing. This is the only way that you know that what has been developed matches the businesses changing needs.
And, don’t be afraid to pilot something to test if the change is going to work. A prime example of this is the work needed for a large and complex full rollout to a group of external clients. Set up a pilot site or pilot group. Get them on board, test the change with them and I mean fully road test, end to end, the change. This is sure to highlight areas that aren’t working the way that you expected. Fix them, ensure that you have a robust process in place BEFORE you go to full rollout. Remember my opening statement – If you don’t it is your (and the organisations) reputation that is on the line.
The time spent on testing is time gained reputationally, and it could mean the difference between having your customers business longer term or not.
Written by Karen Munro
* Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net