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Role of Testing in successful project implementation

Guest post by
Amit Tuteja, Senior Consultant, Oracle Practice, Enterprise Solutions, Infosys Technologies Ltd.

 

I was lucky to be part of one of the complex Oracle implementations done by Infosys Oracle Practice in Retail industry. During my work with this large retailer I got the opportunity to work on design phase and later got involved in testing phase. Most of us understand and realize the importance of Testing in any implementation but in this blog I would like to emphasize how a well planned Testing phase increased Management/ Stakeholders confidence and paved the way for a successful Implementation.

Here are some of the key things in testing that helped in making this implementation a successful one:

  • Define the Roles, Independent Testing Team: In many projects Design and development team spearheads the testing but in this case an independent Testing team with mix of Technical, functional experience  was put together to Test the product. Roles like Test Leads (for direction with regards to test scope definition and test deliverable review); Test coordinator (coordination, status reporting and planning) and Test Analysts (Test execution) were defined. An Independent group for testing ensured that the RICE passed through different set of eyes which help catch some things that might have got missed otherwise.
  • No success can be claimed unless it's measurable! Reporting: Timelines and scope of work were defined clearly and progress was maintained through Test Calendars. Weekly meetings were scheduled with Stakeholders/Management to apprise them of the Testing status. These meetings ensured issues/risks were brought out on regular basis and any concerns were resolved quickly. This regular reporting/touch base exercise with management helped Test team set the priorities in case of conflicts and helped the team stay on Track.
  • Devil is in the details, the System Test phase: This phase was the longest in duration and laid the foundation for success. The testing team read the designs and wrote Test cases at a detailed level which captured the functionality of RICE to be tested in detail. Focus was not only on testing but also on documenting what was being tested. These test cases were reviewed and approved by Test leads which instilled confidence in Leadership that Testing was being carried out thoroughly.
  • Look at the Flow, Integration cycle1 testing: The Test leads (experts of various process flows) along with Test coordinators put together most critical business processes which had to be tested thoroughly. These end to end business processes were then detailed out to form Test Sets consisting of multiple tests. Testing with data from Legacy applications kick started in this phase.
  • Connect externally, the 3PL testing: The testing of custom Interfaces with 3PLs (Third Party Logistics Providers) was treated as a separate activity as it involved co-ordination with different parties outside of the organization in different time zones. Thorough testing with 3PLs ensured that there was a seamless flow of data between the Organization and the third party vendors.
  • Involve the experts, Integration cycle2: This is when things started coming together. The end to end flows defined in IT1 were executed with data flowing between core system, legacy systems and the 3PLs. Super users were roped in this phase. Super users were the SME's who were responsible for various core areas in system/business. They looked at the End to end scenarios prepared by Test team and gave valuable inputs thus ensuring the accuracy of the flows and processes. Engaging super users early on gave enough time to make changes or cover gaps (if any). 
  • Teach the user, Training: Training was being run in parallel and the training Team was able to utilize Test sets created by the Testing Team for demonstration of critical business flows. Training team also took help from testing team for demonstration in the applications. This helped the program to gain the confidence of end user.
  • Test the Performance: Retail business is all about volume and it is very important to do the performance testing for critical Customer facing processes. A subset of testing team was engaged to do a Performance testing simulating the load which system would carry on one of busiest days.
  • Rehearse it! Integration cycle3: There is no better recipe for success than continued practice. During this phase all the critical business processes were tested in a different environment to simulate Production like environment. All the 3PLs and Legacy systems participated in this cycle and the results were captured in Quality center. The Super users reviewed and signed-off on IT3 results.
  • The Final Blow, CERT: By now the Team was confident about system's performance and behavior. Certification testing was run for all the Business critical flows and the ones' which had issues in previous cycles once again in an environment where Dress Rehearsal of Cutover activities was performed. This increased confidence of the management, stakeholders and Super users thus paving the way for a successful implementation.

Along with testing other important areas like design, development and deployment were also managed very well which lead to a successful implementation.

Comments

Indeed, quality testing plays a key role in ensuring the product is meeting the design requirements. The effective planning for the testing phase and ensuring the comprehensiveness of the testing, in the strict timelines, is a big challenge. If this challenge is stood strongly, the implementation success is inevitable.

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