In light of the new reality brought upon by Covid-19 as uncertainty looms, business continuity is crucial as customers are counting on companies to deliver high-quality products and services without any setbacks. Supply chain and ERP reliability is a significant component of overall enterprise performance.
The challenges of navigating an ongoing global emergency with priorities and directives quickly shifting are sending project management teams scrambling to stay focused. ERP testing is crucial to keep operations streamlined and prevent miscalculations. But to operate a successful testing project requires a number of factors to align in order to properly work, including leveraging the right tools and methodologies that synchronise together, alignment across business and IT units and collaboration among employees in remote settings.
Successful testing projects are those where test managers can effectively track and monitor testers’ activity in real-time, enable effortless collaboration and simplify defect management. All of these success factors are much harder to achieve and while testing projects are managed remotely and in distributed teams.
The challenges of navigating an ongoing, global emergency are impacting everyone. For IT and business leaders, how do you stay focused on a cross-organisational testing project to meet deadlines when working remotely while competing with shifting priorities and directives? We’ve learned several successful strategies from our work with hundreds of companies, who have successfully implemented remote ERP testing. The three principles include:
Enabling effective collaboration
A critical element to successful testing is effective communication. Testers have to know what to test, when to test, how, and with which data.
Developers have to quickly understand what defect is assigned to them; they need to effortlessly understand the root cause and steps to reproduce it and engage testers in discussion. Test managers need to share progress and receive real-time feedback from testers. They must be able to schedule reminders, communicate with project team members and do more to get their project moving forward.
And while standard remote technology communication tools like Zoom and Skype are easy to use, they are not testing tools. When cross-functional or cross-department testing is required, collaborative testing tools can provide automated handover between testers and streamline feedback. Additionally, a project manager can schedule and monitor the workflow on a dashboard and the system notifies key users when it’s their turn to test.
In fact, leaders should view remote test management like being a remote air traffic controller – where automatic notifications let users know they should start testing or defect has been resolved and a warning alert should pop up if something cannot be tested.
Another aspect of efficient, collaborative testing is to easily have access to test evidence, which provides granular detail to improve defect understanding and streamline the time spent on testing, all while improving collaboration between testers and developers. Using a collaborative tool enabling self-generated test evidence reduces the back and forth between testers when the same data must be used.
Release and change managers require precision to better plan and change content during the release cycle. By implementing automated processes and test evidence, teams can get consistent, reliable, real-time feedback to ensure they can quickly resolve issues and put their attention toward other needs.
Adopt a holistic view of the entire test cycle
Holistic visibility in business testing is extremely complex to capture, if not impossible, without the right tools and solutions in place. And doing this remotely adds another layer of complexity to the mix.
For example, having a holistic defect management approach can significantly reduce global test efforts. Being able to identify defects early in the test cycle and quickly relate them to any future or current tests saves valuable time from running tests that are bound to fail.
For example, bug inflation is always a challenge, but when working remotely, it can be a serious drain on resources. Testers may report the same issue multiple times. And this has a snowball effect. Developers may not know who reported the defect in the first place or could struggle to reproduce the issue altogether.
Having a central defect management system can also accelerate the review and execution process overall – saving valuable time for the technical team. Features like system-wide defect management give the test manager the ability to define the level of influence of open defects on remaining test activities - improving efficiency and removing a recurrent bottleneck. The dashboard also can help reduce risk and make informed decisions prior to the go-live stage.
Choosing the right tools
Far too many companies employ tools that focus solely on the technical side of testing rather than leveraging solutions that enable business users or domain experts to perform tasks to facilitate business process testing. This can often create a disconnect between IT and business users.
For ERP testing, the focus must shift toward business process testing and tools designed with non-technical users in mind. The right solutions also allow testing to take place centrally - despite being remote - with automated processes and test evidence. This ensures that teams get reliable feedback, and can quickly resolve any issues and deploy software releases.
Business users don’t have time to learn complex tools and read lengthy manuals because they are immersed in their daily activities. The right tool will be intuitive, with a focus on a dedicated SaaS solution that is installation-free and easy to onboard. It should also have an easy-use interface designed for the business user that can help them replicate their part in any tested business process and then they can pass the baton to the next user.
For leaders navigating this uncharted territory, the task of testing may seem arduous but is not impossible. In fact, leaders should view remote test management like being a remote air traffic controller – where automatic notifications let users know they should start testing or defect has been resolved and a warning alert should pop up if something cannot be tested.
With the right tools, remote ERP testing can be quite successful with collaboration from across the enterprise while scaling lessons learned to streamline unnecessary testing while also being accessible to non-technical users to help sustain operations in this shifting business ecosystem.
Benjamin Alimi, Senior product manager, Panaya