Can You Skip System Integration Testing, Management Support in Enterprise IT Projects
System Integration Testing and Management Support for Enterprise IT Projects
We can easily relate how indispensable are
- Technical leadership
- Project management processes and
- Lean project management approach along with
- Project governance and clear decision making hierarchy
for better management of enterprise IT projects. If you need a right a drive/push for all things mentioned above and it is not feasible without a strong higher management support.
Strong Management Support for Enterprise IT Projects
No, we are not talking about whether top management is finding value in the whole initiative or not. Of course top management is the most important stakeholders who would approve budget, allocate funds for the enterprise IT project. The question is, whether the organization’s executive management can drive the whole project. Driving the project not in execution terms but to let all involved stakeholders understand importance of the project for organization’s success, prepare employees and other stakeholders to embrace change, to let the conviction percolate from the top.
If you look at some the research reports, you would quickly notice projects failure is also attributed to lack of management support.
What are the points that higher management should consider?
- Emphasize importance of successfully-delivering-enterprise-IT-Project to all employees, vendors, customers, etc and get their buy-in. Everyone should know that top-management means business and how serious it is about this project
- Whenever necessarily, executive management should be ready to roll up its sleeves to help PMO, project leadership and technical leadership to address critical issues
- Foresee potential risks and make necessary provisions to mitigate those risks
- Conflict resolution – step-in to resolve conflicts if issues are escalated
- Regular review of projects, components
Regular Stakeholder Involvement in Enterprise IT Project
Though we briefly look at stakeholder’s involvement in enterprise IT projects in earlier post. When we speak of stakeholder, in this context it is about customer, end user. We are no longer into 5/10-year product plan era. That kind of macro-level planning is not quite useful these days. That invariably means that if we have to take into account what-is-happening-today or what-should-happen-next-year, we will have to work closely with customers as well as end users.
There is no point in delivering something that is of no or miniscule value to customer. As I said earlier, nobody likes bad surprises. How would customer react to end-result of all-hard-work that is not helping him/her do the desired job? That’s the reason, why regular customer involvement and regular feedback is crucial for success of enterprise IT projects. And that’s the reason, why lean/iterative project delivery makes lot sense today.
What should you consider for customer/stakeholder involvement?
- Clearly ask for what kind of customer-role you expect for regular interaction (at working-committee level as well as for review purpose)
- What should be the modalities of regular customer interaction: project deliverable frequency, User Acceptance Testing (UAT), feedback mechanism
- How should customer feedback be processed (change request, issues, requirement change, etc) and let stakeholders clearly know what they can expect after receiving their feedback, conflict-resolution & escalation mechanism
- Remember, the whole objective behind regular customer involvement and seeking feedback is to deliver value to customer without de-valuing your expertise or efforts.
Rigorous System Integration Testing for Enterprise IT Projects
Enterprise IT projects involves lots of integration of software components, transformation of existing legacy systems. Such technological project requires careful designing of individual software component, migration of data, and user-experience to newer systems, managing & controlling information flow from/to individual components. All of these means, the system testing is highly essential. One should not rely on development teams themselves to test their or somebody else’s software component. There has to be quality assurance team to test individual component but it is all the more important to have system integration testing.
Software products delivered without thorough integration testing are most likely to fail when customer will start testing it or using it. And having worked in software industry for more than a decade, I have seen that even best software from top technology firms will have bugs/issues. But those issues/bugs have been be rectified and resolved. It just needs thorough testing. And it is really important in case of enterprise IT projects because if project-delivery does not meet quality criteria, there is chance that customer will reject the software system thereby possibly raising a-question-mark on survival of a business.
Essentially, you can not leave testing of deliverable of enterprise IT projects to customers/ end users. They will typically do high-level use-case testing. Your organization has to carefully plan, devise processes for rigorous system integration testing.
Things you will have to consider for rigorous system integration testing
- Make provision of efforts, budget, resources for system integration testing before it gets into UAT (user acceptance testing) phase
- Decide stage gate & acceptance criterion for quality assurance and get approval from component leaders, technical leadership, project leadership as well as customers
- Ensure quality assurance team is well aware of business cases, it should be given training by business analysts and not development team
- Ensure system integration testing is distinctly done from individual component testing
- The component QA team and system integration testing team will consist of skilled and experienced system-testing professionals and you are not compromising on quality assurance for cost
Enterprise IT project is not simple affairs to deal with. Though it is a complex endeavor organizations have to undertake such projects to remain a viable business today. To increase the chances enterprise IT project success necessitate organizations to carefully build teams, train them and lay down project management processes to ensure project teams have the required skills and knowledge to succeed. Let me summarize the major points to help you ensure successful management & delivery of enterprise IT projects.
- Clear requirements, careful planning and budgeting will breakdown the complexity
- Having well defined key roles, team composition with right people will win half the battle
- Sound processes means people impact, changing requirements, risks is taken care of
- Clearly defined decision making structure and project governance will avoid bureaucratic delays and chaos
- Conflict resolution is key and building the spirit of working-together is important
- Customer involvement and feedback are not optional
You will also be benefited greatly with project management software for IT teams.
Additional readings about project management, leadership
- Case Study: What Happens When Project Team Has Dual Reporting
- Avoid These 10 Most Common Mistakes That Leads to Project Failure
- Back2Basics: Ultimate Project Management Guide: Project Planning
- Ultimate Guide to Select The Right Project Management Software
- 8 Reasons to Decide Whether Your Organization Needs Project Management Office
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