Join Haydn Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Testing project outcomes, part of Business Analysis Foundations.
- When it comes to stakeholders getting what they want, you first must ensure they have determined what it is they requested, then turn those requirements into project deliverables. This all sounds relatively easy. The stakeholders are never happy until they get what they wanted, and this is where testing comes into play. Testing is defined as a particular process or method for trying or assessing. Testing does not confirm if a product is error-free. Rather, testing provides the ability to assess if a product is working as intended based on the agreed requirements, specifications, and measurements.
The role of the business analyst during testing can vary quite a bit from organization to organization. However, there are some common themes consistent in all. First, you need to create acceptance test cases. Test cases are based on the measurable elements of the signed off requirements found in the requirements package. Acceptance test cases are written to verify the solution is functional from an end-user perspective. The idea is to write test cases to verify the solution, will try to meet the end-user needs, and collectively achieve the outcomes of the project.
Requirements do age, so if the duration of the project has been long, it's wise to verify the requirements are still valid prior to writing the test cases. If the requirements are not valid, it's very important to bring this to the attention of the project manager and sponsor for resolution. Writing good test cases means being specific, easy to understand and follow, and ensuring they test the measurable elements that will achieve the expected outcome. It is also crucial the business creates test cases for all requirements.
Another common theme in testing is executing the test cases against the created solution. The aim is to ensure the solution meets the needs of the stakeholder by focusing on the business results such as, "a report is generated," "a bill is printed," or "an order has been placed." Test case results will need to be documented with as much detail as possible, especially if a defect or error was identified. The more detail you provide regarding the testing results, the easier it will be for the solution provider to recreate and find ways to meet the expected outcomes.
Depending on the results from the test, continue to work with solution providers until such time as the stakeholders are happy that the project products meet the acceptance criteria. During this time you should also report all results back to the stakeholders and project manager. The business analyst role can be quite varied during the testing phase. You'll be busy writing test cases, ensuring the test cases are executed, answering questions from those who developed the solution, and/or verifying test case results documented by those performing the testing.
Business analysts are integral during the testing phase, as they have the entire context and understanding of the requirements while they are needed. And the testing processes are the mechanisms in which the stakeholders will measure their acceptance criteria against. The role of the business analyst during the testing phase is that of conductor and conduit of information. By working with those requesting the change, called the input people, and those creating the change, called the output people, And those who are seeking the outcomes from the project, called the customer and the sponsor.
The combination of each and every project requirement comes together in the testing stage, where they are combined and translated into project deliverables. The project has delivered and tested against stakeholders' stated expectations, and achieved the expected outcomes through delivering against these stated business outcomes and objectives. Stakeholders are likely to be happier when a business analyst can demostrate the value of the activities, processes, tools, and techniques, and achieving what the stakeholders wanted.
Keeping them engaged and updated throughout the entire project life cycle will make your life easier, and serve your projects well.
Discover where business analysis lives in the project life cycle, how to initiate a project, the best way to gather requirements, and smart strategies to monitor results and test outcomes.
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- Understanding what business analysts do
- Defining business opportunities and objectives
- Identifying stakeholders
- Gathering requirements through observation and brainstorming
- Validating requirements
- Developing project acceptance criteria
- Implementing, testing, and closing your project<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.