As marketers in today’s world of technical tool abundance, we often find ourselves devising new and exciting technical solutions. It’s imperative to push the bounds of your technical systems to keep up with elevated customer experience expectations and the expectations of your C-suite.
With that creation comes customization, and often a heightened amount of complexity. As you integrate new platforms into your martech stack, a greater need arises for ongoing management and a rigorous testing protocol. Before launching new functionality, implementing enhancements or updating an existing solution, a battery of tests is necessary to ensure your team makes it through “go-live” day unscathed.
Step #1: Gather Existing Documentation
Often, once a solution has been implemented, it’s tempting to forget the original configuration. Documentation is often seen as a lost cause or a sunk cost, and revisiting the details would only open old wounds of unmet requirements or narrowed scope. Do not start your testing phase believing that you’ve covered all your bases. Now is the time dust off old flow charts and re-digest the scope of your system.
Step #2: Revisit Your Use Cases
Now that you’ve brushed up on your documentation, it’s time to collect your use cases. Whether you love them or hate them, use cases are the crux of your solution and provide the outline of your testing script.
Step #3: Select Your QA (Quality Assurance) Team
When conducting QA (Quality Assurance), the best tester that you can have is someone who knows the desired outcomes but was not involved in configuring the technical integration. The whole point of QA testing is to break the integration. If your QA team included only those who were already intimately familiar with the configuration, it could be more difficult to find potential issues. By having an unbiased tester take part in the QA process, your solution can be viewed through fresh eyes.
Step #4: Write Your Testing Script
Many solutions require technical workarounds and “system gymnastics” to meet business needs. When these custom solutions are put into play, it’s important to write a testing script. This script details the step-by-step actions to be performed by your QA team for each use case. A great script also provides the expected outcomes of each use case, allowing each QA member to check his/her own work and provide success or failure feedback.
Step #5: Create A Central Issues Log
When looking to create a document that can be updated in real time, shared across multiple internal divisions, and accessed by external vendors, a shared online file, such as a Google Sheet, is often the answer. As your testers work through the script, feedback is entered into the file, such as the use case being tested, any variables affecting the outcome, the desired outcome, the actual outcome and the individual submitting the defect.
<Click Here> to see an example of a Central Issues Log.
Step #6: Categorize Defects versus Enhancements
In my experience, nearly a quarter of the issues logged by the QA team are not defects per the original requirements, but planned enhancements to the overall solution. The delineation between the two is a critical project management function. If these issues are categorized incorrectly and not clarified quickly, it can be the difference between a go/no-go decision made by the business.
When categorizing reported “issues” as future enhancements, the most important message to relay is that while the issue is an aspect of overall functionality, it’s not critical to the initial integration and can be prioritized in the next phase of the solution’s implementation.
Step #7: Correct Existing Defects & Forward to the QA Team for Acceptance
A reliable QA process is a team effort. When done correctly, it should not be a hassle. Your solution experts and testers need to maintain a consistent loop of communication and, most important, sign off on the solution as a unit. It is this team approach that reinforces trust in the integration. Trust begets adoption.
Once all defects are resolved by your solution experts, and all resolutions are accepted by your QA team, you are ready for launch!
Thanks to the assurance of your rigorous testing phase, you are about to turn a new leaf with a defect-free, uninterrupted go-live. #goals #launchparty
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