In HR software implementations, testing is too often an afterthought. Shiny new processes and configurations get attention, and tedious grunt work gets treated, well… like tedious grunt work.
But testing is one of the most important functions, not only in your implementation but ongoing system management. The stakes can be high — from inaccurate regulatory reporting to a damaged company reputation.
You should include testing in project costs for the initial implementation and operating costs for the life of the software. After user acceptance testing (UAT), you will need to conduct regression testing for every software update. You should also perform weekly testing after system fixes and to test for security errors.
Fortunately, automated testing can be very cost-effective, and it has several advantages:
- It reduces the cost of labor-intensive manual testing.
- It eliminates the human error inherent in tedious, repetitive tasks.
- Many automated tasks, such as weekly security testing, can run unattended overnight.
- You can save and replicate test scenarios for automating periodic tasks like regression testing of software updates.
- By eliminating almost all repetitive testing, it enables your testing team to focus on critical test management tasks.
Automated testing is not always the best approach. In many cases manual testing is more desirable and in some cases necessary.
Exploratory Testing. Manual testing is required when you are designing new processes and workflows. Hands-on testing validates workflow decisions.
Configuration Testing. Initial testing by the people who make configuration decisions gives them a first-hand look at the impact of their decisions and provides an essential training ground for the core team.
Scenario Scripting. Creating a new automated script requires a detailed step-by-step manual testing the entire process. Even though many testing tools give you the capability to record a test scenario and convert it to a script, that shortcut can lead you astray. What’s missing in a recorded script is validation. The process must check whether each sub-process stores the correct values in the right place. Use a recording only as a starting point for creating your test scripts.
Usability Testing. The purpose of usability testing is to ensure that the software is intuitive and efficient from the perspective of the user. The feedback you get from users will be invaluable in improving the user experience, and they may have suggestions for improvement that will make your processes more efficient. Involving people from your organization in usability testing also creates an opportunity for you to co-opt them as evangelists in your change management efforts.
Both manual and automated testing have an essential place in your testing strategy. Let machines handle the routine work so your people can focus on critical thinking and design.
Chasma Place is an independent source for solutions that will help you keep pace with changes in the way your people work without ripping and replacing your existing systems.