Monday, June 30, 2008

Severance pay part... damn, forget it!

"User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a process to obtain confirmation by a Subject Matter Expert (SME), preferably the owner or client of the object under test, through trial or review, that the modification or addition meets mutually agreed-upon requirements" (quote from Wikipedia).

The point is: sometimes the SME is the only one who can actually validate a piece of software: this is particularly true when the domain is very complicated, as in the case of severance pay, and it is very difficult for the developer to distinguish "good" results from "bad" ones. Frameworks like Fit can help both the SME and the developers, but it is essential than the SME gives all her availability and willingness: no framework or process can substitute for domain knowledge.

If the SME denies her time it is impossibile for the developer to ensure that everything is working fine: it is not acceptable for a SME to say "value X must change from 4298.91 to 4523.62, you can figure out the rest ("the rest" being another 20 or 30 values intertwined in almost mysterious ways) as I have other things to do".

This obviously makes the customer unhappy, as she has to pay for a huge amount of time which is necessary to the team to "figure out the rest", where a tenth of the time would probabily more then enough to a SME. A good solution is a honest conversation with the customer, in which we can suggest different solutions - e.g. another SME with more time available for testing or a requalifying of the priorities of the current one.

No comments: