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Independent Test Or Validation On It Projects
I believe that a Project Manager should establish an Independent Test Team or an individual on your Project Team with the responsibility of ensuring, through the testing process, that what you are delivering meets the requirements of the client.
I know that you can’t, on a software system, test-in quality but you sure can determine if what you are testing is quality. As I was working on projects and serving what I consider to be my apprenticeship in Project Management - too many years than I care to remember – one of the things that kept happening was that testing always got squeezed at the end of the development process. Design of the product could slip, development of the product could slip but testing couldn’t slip because senior management always wanted to meet the end date. In a lot of cases, senior management took the decision to squeeze testing and do less of it.
I always felt that this was a sure fire way of delivering a poor quality system. The attitude was ‘we’ll just put it out there and fix the problems as they occur’. The big issue with that, of course, is that, generally, the cost of fixing the delivered product or system is a lot higher than the cost of fixing the product or systems before it’s delivered – cost measured not only in money but also in reputation. In fact, as we all know, the earlier an error is found in the development cycle, the less expensive it is to fix.
Another thing I noticed about testing was that the same people that designed and developed the product or system were, in most cases, used to test the product or system. The issue with that, I’ve found, is that the developers test the system for what it will do, not necessarily what it is supposed to do. Now those two things should be the same but in most cases they are not.
So what is the solution? Well the solution to the first situation where everything on the Project can slip but testing, let’s just hope that we have a really good Project Manager who will stick to their testing ‘guns’ and make sure that testing is not squeezed. The Project Manager must be persuasive enough to convince Senior Management that testing can’t be downgraded nor can the testing activity be shortened.
The solution to the second situation is fairly simple. Establish an Independent Test Team or an individual on your Project Team with the responsibility of ensuring, through the testing process, that what you are delivering meets the requirements of the person that wants it. Ensure that they use the latest agreed version of the requirements as the basis upon which to write their test plans and scripts.
I’ve established an Independent Test Team on every Project that I have managed over the last 20 years. I would never run a Project in the future without it. I’m sold and I hope you are too.
What's your opinion?
10 more Articles by Richard
3 min. "I believe that managing a project without the team co-located , especially if part of the team is working at home, is about as difficult as herding cats."
4 min. The Project Manager must be able to have the helicopter view and understand the big picture and how his/her project fits into the overall scheme of things.
2 min. "Life is too short not to be having fun."
2 min. When I'm running a Project, I want people to continually remember that we are on this project to achieve.
2 min. "Knowing what we don't know and tracking it is the only way to ensure that eventually we know what we don't know. Understand?"
2 min. What is the one thing that most Projects lack? An abundance of time. Most Projects have a very tight schedule and anything that can be done to save time ...
2 min. One thing that I truly believe in is celebrating success on my projects. I know, a lot of projects have parties at the end of the project but I don't think that is enough.
3 min. As a Project Manager, I feel it is important to have someone or some group you can turn to when you need help to get something done either in the client’s, ...
4 min. Why do IT Teams start building before they have it locked down as to what it is they must build? Let’s take a look at a number of reasons why I think they do.