As of writing I am managing the testing of a large enterprise IT program, where we are implementing a new commercial enterprise solution (COTS).
Over the last many months there have been requirement workshops upon requirement workshop to write down what the new system should be able to do for the various business units. We have had many representatives from the business units as part of the workshops and now have about 1000 specific business requirements that needs to be tested.
Some requirements are closed questions, others are more open-ended or similarly require some thinking. Currently the ratio is that 70% is done by test automation and 30% is for a few of the subject matter experts to test. Management was happy with this, as this made the project faster, the solution more robust and the project less reliant on taking the business people away from their “real work”.
The other day I reached out by mail to more of the business people involved in the workshops to let them know that testing had started, and that they would be able to access the solution under test when it had been “hardened”. But so far, only a few “track leads” would be involved.
The feedback surprised me, as my message was both good and bad. Good in the sense that they would not be involved so much, but also bad that they would not be involved so much. One wrote back to me:
- There is still a risk that the solution will not be as the workshops intended, as the requirements and solution might not capture precisely, what was agreed during the workshops
- Having been part of the workshop, we are held responsible by our coworkers as to how well the new system supports the business
- Why don’t the project want our involvement on this?
... but that was “just feelings”, he wrote in the end. And indeed it is – No matter how it looks at first, it’s always a people problem and even if we have a successful test automation effort – we can still fail to appreciate the experts knowledge and by that fail to solve the business problems.
More about “Leading when the experts test” at ConTest NYC 2019.