Anyone involved in deploying a new Kronos® solution, upgrading to a new version, or rolling out additional product modules hopes the project meets all specified requirements before the go-live date. And to ensure a smooth transition, software testing must be part of the plan. There’s nothing new or unexpected about these statements, so what’s the catch?
Practice manager Kim Geller and the leader of the Kronos Solution Quality Assurance team says there is a common misconception about testing. After years of working with customers, she’s noticed that many people mistakenly have the same preconceived notion.
Testing involves more than you think
So, what’s the misconception? “People understand that testing is a necessity,” Kim says. But customers often aren’t clear about what testing involves and what’s required of them in terms of testing.
Let me anticipate a few of your questions.
- If you’re working with a solution consultant (we’ll call her Jenn), hasn’t Jenn configured everything you’ve asked for? Yes.
- Hasn’t Jenn performed her own testing? Of course.
- Shouldn’t everything be perfect from here? Well, as perfect as it can be, but this is where the misconception lies.
Even though you might work with an amazing solution consultant, it’s close to impossible to anticipate everything and configure all aspects of the solution perfectly without any tweaks or edits down the line. It’s important not to underestimate the fact that there might be details that slipped your mind or that the team didn’t identify originally. These surprises will surface, and the solution will often need to be reconfigured — which calls for more testing.
But don’t get discouraged! This is all a normal, natural part of testing. I asked Kim a few questions to help outline the things you should understand and expect about testing your Kronos solutions. Here are the highlights from our interview.
Q: What is the one most important thing customers should understand about testing?
A: They should be prepared for the process.
Customers who sit down and put an honest effort into testing are typically more successful.
Q: What do customers need to do to successfully prepare for testing?
A: Put a plan in place.
Come up with a plan that includes what needs to be tested, who from your organization will perform testing, how the testing will take place, and the tracking method used to report the results of your testing efforts. As you can imagine, this is no simple task. The good news is you don’t have set out on a testing adventure all on your own. The Kronos Solution Quality Assurance team is at your service if you choose to seek help from an experienced test consultant. Also, check out Don’t Wing it; Test Plan It!, the Kronos Testing Plan white paper, for more details on putting together a comprehensive testing plan.
Once you have developed your plan, review it with everyone — and I mean everyone. That includes your Kronos contacts, your project team, the people in your company who will perform the testing, leadership sponsors, etc. Anyone with a hand in the effort should be involved in the review process.
Q: Are there steps that people often miss when preparing for testing?
A: Yes, two! Don’t forget to consider integration testing and training your test participants.
Integration Testing: It’s easier than you’d think to overlook integration testing. For example, if you’re testing a Kronos module that will impact your payroll process, make sure to examine the effects of the module on pay data exports and pay files to ensure your employees get paid on time.
Training: Another overlooked aspect of testing is the proper training of test participants prior to diving into testing — whether that’s training led by Kronos or using the materials and documents provided by the Kronos Paragon™ methodology. In addition, ensure that the testers have business knowledge and understand your use case scenarios. They should have a solid grasp of how you want to use the system moving forward and an understanding of the business practices and rules applied in the application. People who understand your goals and your business can better identify desirable results.
Q: What pitfalls are avoided with an organized test plan?
A: Plans help to avoid obstacles that will delay your efforts.
Putting a plan in place helps you determine the right number of testers. It’s a waste of resources if you have too many, but you’ll fall behind if you don’t have enough. You’ll also save time for your testers when you think about the tools they will need to do the testing and have these tools available. It sounds silly, but I’ve come across situations where testers have not been set up in the test environment in advance or are not aware of how to log in to the system. Some didn’t even know what they should be testing. Taking care of these housekeeping items ahead of time helps get testing off to a good start.
It’s also important to ensure any source or target applications you might need are available to consume data or to provide data to Kronos during testing. This goes back to the integration testing in the previous question. If you’re testing functionality that involves gathering payroll data from another system, you’ll want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row with that solution as well.
Of course, the more organized you are, the more likely the testing is to stay on schedule. An organized plan helps you get back on track quickly when you need to change course to fix a defect.
Putting a plan in place helps you determine the right number of testers.
Q: Doesn’t the Kronos Paragon deployment methodology involve testing? When is additional testing helpful?
A: Yes, it does — but Paragon is a more independent approach to testing.
The Kronos Paragon methodology and corresponding resources help guide customers’ testing efforts. Kronos provides basic recommendations and resources so customers don’t have to start from scratch. Resources include test management software and a collaborative workspace to manage, track, and analyze testing. It offers a basic set of use cases to give you a head start toward developing your own unique test scenarios.
You will also find a Testing Plan template to document your approach to testing. A Kronos consultant will provide an overview of how to prepare for testing and will present a schedule, a list of test cases, and the process for logging defects for you to pull together into a plan. From there, customers continue and finalize the process on their own. If you don’t have the resources or time to carry out testing, you can ask your customer success manager or sales representative to put you in touch with Kronos test consultants to do the prep work on your behalf.
Paragon gets you started, but it’s up to you to take it to the finish line.
Q: Why do you think the testing process is so often underestimated?
A: People don’t always recognize that it’s not a black-and-white process.
Forgetting to account for something or deciding to make a change halfway through testing might seem simple, but what’s so often overlooked is how any change will impact the solution and the test timeline. You must test again to ensure accurate functionality with each element that you change. It’s not black and white. There’s always a bit of gray area to work through before you reach the final, polished product.
For more on testing, contact Kim through Kronos Community or speak to your customer success manager or sales representative about connecting with the Solution Quality Assurance team.