There are so many products, processes and services that are simply not well-designed and do not quite work as they should. Some are not even fit for purpose. This could be anything from a small electrical item such as a kettle that leaks to a major software system that cost millions but fails to resolve the problems it was designed for. The effects of such badly tested end-products can be anything from frustrating to catastrophic for a business.
Such situations could be the result of a lack of testing or, in some cases, testing was performed but did not test what it should have, or the testing procedure did not adequately follow up on problems.
Regardless of why these things happen, every good project plan should make user acceptance testing an integral part of the project. Regular, robust tests using relevant test cases should be built into the project plan and schedule to avoid costly mistakes that are only discovered towards the end of the project lifecycle. Of course, it is not always possible to test all components fully in isolation but, wherever possible this should be done.
Here are some ways to make sure your project doesn’t suffer from inadequate testing.
1. Avoid expensive mistakes
Delivering a project on time and on budget benefits no one if the end product is fundamentally flawed. Testing at various stages of the project provides the opportunity to uncover flaws before they become a major problem so build in structured testing points in the schedule to ensure you are staying on track as the project progresses.
2. Make testing part of the project routine
Leaving all testing until the end of the project will result in a long and arduous testing phase, where the sheer volume of items to be tested can result in parts not being tested at all or faults being missed. For instance, when developing a new software package, you can test certain modules as they are completed to ensure they work effectively. Of course, the package needs to be tested as a whole when it is all complete but by testing individual modules, you can be confident about certain elements and reduce the burden of testing at the end of the project.
Make every project team member responsible for testing what they produce for the project as it is delivered. Then testing will become a matter of routine.
3. Show stakeholders meaningful progress
Involving stakeholders and clients in the testing phase of your product, by showing them test results, can elicit useful feedback that will ensure the end product meets their requirements and is fit for purpose. Many people find it easier to comment on something they can see than on something abstract. There is a reason why many software companies offer trusted customers “Beta” versions to try out before a major release.
By including testing as a routine part of the project management process, you can ensure you not only deliver what is required on time and within budget, but that it is truly fit for purpose.