In our 18 years of working with SumTotal customers, one of the most troublesome yet most preventable mistakes we have seen is a failure to test regular updates.
It’s easy to overlook. You may assume that QA engineers test everything. SumTotal’s people test their updates as well as or better than anyone in the industry – but they don’t check your configuration, your processes, your security, or your integrations. It’s up to you.
If you still using manual testing methods, you may think it’s not worth the effort. That’s a lot of labor-intensive work.
Or, as has happened in two cases in organizations in which we worked in the past (on two different platforms): “Let’s let somebody else find the problems. It’s not that critical.” One case was lucky; the other wasn’t.
These four cases are a sampling of the issues that have caused customers to ask for help after they had been embarrassed:
- The waitlist function stopped working. Perhaps not too critical unless your learning is a revenue creator and your potential customers went elsewhere.
- Because of an update, rosters required additional info and the company couldn’t launch courses.
- Required reports stopped working.
- Course data was duplicated for each learner, copying both the requirements and course completion records.
How Automated Testing Reduces Workload and Costs
Automated testing has made testing much less costly and more efficient. You can now build a library of scenarios for your business processes, integrations, and security. As you run them, the testing program reports and documents failures to make it easy for you to analyze the result. You can build a complete set of testing scenarios, so your update testing requires less effort to prepare.
Gone are the days of borrowing people from every part of the organization, typing up long lists of testing scenarios, and wading through pages of Excel reports. If you keep your testing current by checking process changes, configuration, integration, and security changes as they happen, you will find your update testing to be a quick, natural process each time you do it.
Preparation and planning are the most critical activities in testing. We want to offer four recommendations to help you succeed.
Use process maps
Create and maintain a library of process maps and keep them up to date. These are not your testing scenarios. They are a communication tool you will use to work with stakeholders to review and understand workflow.
- Foster common understanding with upstream and downstream process owners on data needs and workflow sequences.
- Help your team identify pain points, bottlenecks, and potential trouble spots.
- Provide the basis for understanding the impact of new features, processes, and tools in periodic updates.
Develop triage rules
Each issue requires you to decide whether you need to correct it immediately or complete the testing and correct it before the next run. Assign responsibilities and guidelines for making that judgment.
Don’t forget negative testing
Making sure everything works the way it should be is only half of testing. The other half is testing what happens when users do things wrong. Test what happens when they don’t follow the rules.
Remember to test your popular courses with all the new browsers that are supported as part of this update. If your employees, partners, or customers experience an unexpected error, it can have a big impact on user satisfaction.
One Final Recommendation
The If you haven’t explored automated testing, we recommend you do so right away. Enjoy the peace of mind in knowing you will not have embarrassing glitches that damage your reputation.
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.