[webproducers] Re: persuading a project manager that formal testing is important???

I've been a project manager (though primarily for websites, not software
applications).  Part of the problem is salespeople have a strong impetus to
reduce a budget (and make the sale) by cutting out things that "feel
unnecessary."  I'm not just talking about testing and QA.  I'm also talking
about the upfront analysis (needs definition, customer/business analysis,
definition of success metrics) that also determine whether a product will
ultimately be well-received by the customer.  And customers too -- I can't
tell you how many proposals I've seen where everything except the
development hours seem to be extraneous.  There is almost never enough
testing time available in our budget or schedule.  It's very frustrating to
me as a project manager, because ultimately customers don't remember the
amount of money they spent, they remember whether their product works or
not.

Now, I don't want you to think I'm just blaming the sales team or customers,
or whining that project managers never have enough resources.  I'm not.
There are project managers that don't like to test, and I think Peter is
right -- it's because they don't have the experience to understand the value
of testing.

Here's a suggestion.  When your project starts and you have a team kickoff
meeting, bring up the subject of testing.  At that point, the project
schedule is rarely set in stone. Ask (nicely) when testing will take place.
Suggest where it should be built into the project plan.  Explain how long it
will take and what report/technical spec/bug list/other documentation will
result from doing the testing.  Offer to write the test plan.  Offer to
include the test plan in the first technical spec that you deliver to the
client, so that he/she can review and sign off on it.  I'm assuming that
you're the developer on the project.  If you have a QA resource, sit with
him/her early in the project.  Figure out what you want to test and the
value it serves.  Then talk to the project manager together.  Frankly, while
many QA people used to talk to me about the value of testing, fewer
developers would.  At the beginning of your project, make a list of project
risk factors, and explain how the testing you want to do will reduce some
those risk factors.  Be as specific as you can, because that gives the
project manager a rationale for approving the extra hours in the schedule
and budget.

Hope this helps.

keren

-----Original Message-----
From: webproducers-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:webproducers-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Christie Mason
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2002 6:46 AM
To: webproducers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [webproducers] Re: persuading a project manager that formal
testing is important???



Any chance you could "sneak" it in by rapid prototyping and calling it
"needs analysis"?

Christie Mason

----- Original Message -----
From: "PeterV" <peter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <webproducers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2002 3:00 AM
Subject: [webproducers] Re: persuading a project manager that formal testing
is important???



Hi Tia,
usually experience is the main factor that makes them see the light. I've
had the same problem. The reason PM's don't like testing sometimes is that
it eats into their budget/deadlines. You have to convince them it really
saves them money/time. The best way I found to explain it is call it "risk
management". Explain the risk they run by not testing.
Cheers,
Peter

At 10:48 PM 6/26/2002 -0700, you wrote:

>hi everyone!
>
>i've worked on a number of small commercial software projects where the
>project managers treated testing as an afterthought.  does anyone know of a
>persuasive way to convince a project manager that formal testing is
>important?
>
>tia


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