Testing, 1, 2, 3
January 1, 2003
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Testing is not only vital to the success of a software development project; it’s a vital ingredient for a successful implementation. Here are some of my thoughts on testing:
- Don’t save testing until the end. Testing is not a “back-end” task, but-rather-it needs to be fully integrated into the project plan.
- Don’t assume that—because it’s an “off-the-shelf” package-everything in an ERP has been tested. This couldn’t be truer for ERPs in general, and certainly for Lawson in particular. While we’d all love to install a fully-tested package, it’s mathematically impossible for an ERP to have been fully tested. There are simply too many variables involved for a software company to thoroughly test every possible setup combination.
- If you aren’t measuring what you’re testing, you’re wasting your time. This seems like such an obvious axiom, yet I’m always amazed when I see testing that merely “bangs on the system” and declares that the system has “passed the test”. If you’re testing inventory receipts, are you manually calculating the effect on inventory counts? If you’re testing payroll, are you reviewing YTD buckets to make sure that they are updated?
- You can’t test in a vacuum. Your system will not be operating in a “clean room” environment, why test it that way?
- Testing is a science, not an art. If you don’t have a plan or methodology for your testing, you need to get one. Better yet, you need to get a qualified tester. Developers are not good testers. Neither are accountants. Testing requires unique skills and discipline. Spend the money to get a real tester.
- Security needs to be in place while you are testing. The majority of testing is done without security in place. This provides no testing of the security which, when implemented, may have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your tests. In addition to testing application security, you also have to include environmental/platform security in your tests. If all of your tests are “inside the firewall”, and you will have extranet or VPN users, you need to test that as well.
- Treat your testing scripts as a “living investment”. You’ll be surprised at how much “re-use” you can get from your test plans. A number of my clients have told me how relieved they are that they took the time to properly test and document their systems for Y2K-now they know which vital processes need to be re-tested with each upgrade or modification.
- Finally, the test scripts give you a jumpstart on documenting your procedures. When properly written, they define your business processes, and how to accomplish them using your new system.