When I was younger, I never got the point of practice. Sure, I knew that it would get me in shape and knock of the rust off. However, I never got the idea that practice would help me perform better under pressure. Too many times I found myself over-thinking a situation because I hadn’t practiced enough to make it automatic. I finally started to realize that realistic practice in all sorts of endeavors — in particular, public speaking and presenting — helped to take the edge off along with the rust.
Lombardi’s point also applies to how we test our processes and systems. Too often I’ve seen customers and consultants assume away difficulties in their desire to save testing time and money. Even worse, this saving “spasm” usually comes towards the end of the project, just as the testing was about to get serious.
The best testing practice (so to speak) I’ve seen came at a global firm that does dirty and dangerous work. As you might imagine, that company is very conscious of safety and quality. That firm called their last round of testing not integration or user acceptance, but “business simulation.” Business simulation didn’t simply involve folks following a script. We brought the system, interfaces, and data up like go-live, then encouraged the users to go “do their jobs” and call support if something went wrong.
Sure, such an approach is expensive. But how much is that peace of mind that comes with a no-holds-barred validation that the system and its support conformed to requirements worth?
Filed under: Complexity, Implementation Costs, Program Management, Project Management, Project Success Factors, Quality Management, Risk Management, SAP | Tagged: PM Quote of the Day, Quality Assurance, Quality Control, Quality Management, Vince Lombardi |