OracleBIBlog Search

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Testing Project Business Requirements

We usually think of testing during the Project Development Cycle. The first instance of testing is to do some unit testing during development to insure that the system does not break when a user logons on to the system and accesses screens to enter data. A second instance of testing is usually during User Acceptance Testing (UAT) to let the user logon to the system and test the functionally of the system. If testing is developed in the environment focused on testing the actual testing begin when the Project is first undertaken. One of the first documents in the testing cycle is to develop a Test Strategy Document. This document is normally developed by the Testing Team with the help of the other Project Team Members especially the business users. Once the document is completed it should be reviewed by all the team members, and agreed to by the Project Team. The next document is the detail test plan. This is normally developed during the Requirements and Design Phases of the Project Life Cycle, and details the detailed testing needs and requirements. The next documents that are completed during the Project Life Cycle are the Test Cases. The Test Cases detail are the scenarios that the users will encounter when using the system, and provides the user the capability to respond to whether the system processes meet the expected conditions.

Requirement Testing:
One of the most often missed steps during the Project Testing Cycle is to test the System Requirements. Once the Requirements Document is completed, the next step in the process it to test the documented requirement to insure that the meet the Business Users needs. This is usually a very difficult process because many Business Users may understand part of their business process, but do not have a detailed understanding of all phases of their business processes, and the data that supports their business processes. One of the main functions of the Information Technology Department is to work with the Business Users to help them understand the business processes and the data that supports their business processes. Usually Requirements Gathering Workshops are one of the best ways to develop the Project Requirements and help educate the Business Users about their business processes the that data that supports their business processes.

The Requirements Testing Phase is an excellent to give all members the opportunity gain an understanding of the Business Requirements, and to ask detailed questions about all phases of the Project Business Requirements. This is very critical because during the Project Design Stage the design should address all the Project Business Requirements. I have seen projects where the Project Design is not compatible with the Project Requirements Documents. This can only lead to project failure.

Some of the main questions that need to be asked during the Business Intelligence Requirements Testing Phase are:

1.) Do the metrics enable the business user to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of his business processes?
2.) Do the Dimensions provide the attributes that enable business user to provide the ways to view the metrics to measure their business processes?
3.) Is the proper security established to access to the Reports and Dashboards by the appropriate business users?
4.) Is the proper data security established to permit the business users access their data and not see other users secure data?
5.) Can we look at Charts and Graphs to view tends in data?
6.) Can we easily navigate through the BI Application without having to minimize the keystrokes and scrolling?
7.) Does the data provide the information to measure progress with the Business Users Goals and Objectives?
8.) Do the information, reports, and dashboards provide the needed information to help the business users better manage their business processes?
9.) Do the information, Reports and dashboards show out of bound conditions so that the business user can respond in a timely manner to correct the situation?
10.) Can the business users use the data to further analyze out of bound conditions or look at the data from a different perspective?

Testing the Business Requirements is an important step of the Project Life Cycle. If the Business Requirements are thoroughly tested by all team members, it will lead to a more successful and rewarding development effort for the Project Team. By Testing the requirements early in the Project Life Cycle and getting agreement that they are correct, all the remaining Project Phases will be easier and lead to a better developed system that will meet the Business Users needs and Requirements.