Testing Makes Perfect
Successful application upgrade testing combines
leadership, preparation, and the best people.
People say “practice makes perfect,” but in the enterprise application and enter-
prise resource planning (ERP) world, a more
appropriate statement might be “testing
A recent OAUG ResearchLine report1
about enterprise application/ERP suite
upgrade strategies indicates that proper
testing is of great importance. The report,
based on the results of a research study
conducted with members of the Oracle
Applications Users Group (OAUG), mea-
sured how respondents perceive the
business opportunity and the process for
moving to the latest release of an enterprise
application suite. The testing process was
identified by a majority of respondents ( 63
percent) as a key risk area, leading the list in
terms of ERP upgrade challenges.
While there are a number of diverse software development methodologies, testing
is one of the most critical. Here are three key
ways to make your organization’s application
upgrade testing experience as smooth and
as “perfect” as possible.
LEADERSHIP MUS T EDUCATE
The first strategy for ensuring a smooth-to-perfect testing experience starts with leadership. The leadership team should educate
users on the overall testing process, the
various types of testing, when each type
occurs, and how users are involved. Users are
in the best position to determine if a system
is going to meet their requirements when it
is turned over to them, and it is the leadership team’s responsibility to make sure users
know what is expected of them during the
For example, users involved in testing
should not just run a process or report to
see that it has been executed; they should
instead review the results and make sure the
results are exactly what was expected.
In addition to using correct testing processes, users should be educated and prepared to do negative testing. Negative testing
helps to ensure that the system prevents or
traps errors or properly unwinds transactions
that are being reversed or canceled.
With their big-picture vantage point,
project leaders are in the best position to
engage users, establish expectations and
objectives, and direct testing efforts.
In addition to leadership, preparation is key
to a successful testing experience. Proper
preparation includes training and educating
the users on the appropriate way to go about
testing and how to log, report, and track
errors. Users should be instructed on how to
communicate perceived issues by including
screen shots or other documentation with
the issue being logged. Those tasked with
issue resolution must understand why the
test case failed so they can work on a proper
fix. The testing team should understand
who is responsible for tracking the issue and
ensuring that the issue is fixed.
Additionally, testing teams should be provided with proper test cases, test scripts, and
test data. A systematic effort that includes a
repeatable approach allows testing teams to
approach the job in the same way each time
patching and upgrades occur.
GE T TING THE BEST
After focused leadership is in place and nec-
essary preparation is done, a third strategy
for successful testing is to make sure the
best people are involved in the hands-on
testing process. Some people naturally make
better testers than others. These are the
people who can anticipate how the system
may break or how someone may try to use it,
and they have an innate sense of the overall
processes and functions of the software.
These team members will understand if
a system as built or configured is actually
meeting business requirements. Sometimes
these people may be wearing multiple hats
within the organization, or they may have
gained their special insight from working
in a wide variety of roles within a business.
People with an audit background frequently
make great additions to a testing team.
Mark C. Clark is president of OAUG and has
been an active member since 1992. As a senior
partner at O2Works, Clark is currently engaged
with customers worldwide in their Oracle
E-Business Suite Release 12 and 12. 1 efforts.
EXPLORE the survey