Why testing your software is the secret ingredient to success
“Quality is the exclusion of coincidence”, a famous statement by Dutch football manager Louis van Gaal. Not only applicable to sport, but also an important management lesson for many projects. Still, many organizations are struggling with this necessary project step.
In daily operation, it appears that the test phase of a software solution is often seen as the closing item of a project, or is utilized to compensate any delay that occurred during the implementation. At the same time, it is difficult to quantify the investment in terms of time and money and to prove the added value.
When implementing a custom software solution, an extensive testing phase is crucial. All functionalities are tailor made to your business specific needs. Does this imply that standard software does not have to be tested? Not really. Because whether we’re talking about an implementation or upgrade: to optimize the software it must be tested thoroughly. However, it involves a different effort than with a custom-made solution.
Ultimately, it is about fine tuning the software with the needs and processes of your organization. Since key users are familiar with the internal processes of the organization, they play an elementary (key) role in the success of the solution. With the team, they remain responsible for the process.
There are countless theories and methods available – with their own pros and cons – for a successful test phase. But always comes down to the knowledge and expertise of the key user. They are aware of the process, know where data is being used and understand what happens in the “background” of the system. But also what consequences a minor change may bring along may, which other processes may be interfering and the tips and tricks to correct errors and imperfections. It brings a lot of advantages to carefully test during software implementations, upgrades, optimizations or support and make sure you are working with capable key users.
6 tips for a successful implementation/upgrade
Are you planning an implementation or upgrade? Then read the following best practices:
- Invest in knowledge. Create independence by building and maintaining application knowledge internally and keep it up to date.
- Test and check. The software vendor has a lot of knowledge and experience about the application and industry. However, always check and test what it suggests – not everything is directly applicable to your organization.
- Dare to change. Many processes arise from the (un)possibilities of previous applications or previous versions. Be open to the possibilities of new applications or upgrades.
- Involve colleagues. By training your colleagues as key users, you create the possibility to test processes thoroughly and detect errors faster. In addition, this “train-the-trainer” concept stimulates a better acceptance of the software within the organization.
- Plan your campaign. Avoid unnecessary loss of time and additional costs with a well thought-out implementation or upgrading process – including evaluation during the process.
- Prevent surprises. Look for the edges and exceptions of the software, and look beyond the ‘happy-flow’.