Within all Human Capital Management (HCM) solution implementations, an integral component to the success of the project is a testing strategy and a detailed work plan to execute its tasks. HCM customers should not trivialize or minimize the importance of their direct involvement in testing the HCM solution at various stages of implementation.
Generally, the HCM vendor will provide a certain level of testing within their initial configurations and other areas of setup which the customer may be less involved with. However, the onus of the software testing often rests with the customer.
Where do you begin in terms of developing a testing strategy for your new HCM solution?
Consider the following categories, and underlying checklists, of items to include among the key areas in your Testing Strategy and Planning document:
What is the Purpose for Testing Your HCM Solution?
Describe the reasons and value of your involvement in the testing process as a customer. This may include the validation of data, configurations and the correct usage of your business rules, and applying inputs which are reflective of your day-to-day usage of the new solution.
Justify the time commitment that must be taken by your testing lead, functional testers and other reviewers to ensure a thorough execution of testing throughout each phase of the project.
What is In Scope for Testing?
Review the Project Scope or Statement of Work documents provided by the HCM vendor, as well as your original functional requirements.
Identify the specific areas of configuration and functionality that must be tested, and in what order. Perhaps the Payroll module is to be implemented first, followed by Human Resources and then Scheduling in a subsequent phase.
Know what your agreed-to functional requirements are, what is in scope as well what is out-of-scope to make the best use of your testing resources and their targeted work effort.
What Types and Levels of Testing Will Be Undertaken?
Your implementation may involve several iterations of testing as recommended by your solution vendor. This may include unit testing which focuses on individual and independent areas of the system to initially validate its correct configuration and accessibility, for example.
More detailed testing, often called end-to-end testing, will cover all aspects of the employee life cycle - from hiring to termination, and may also include reporting and integrations that may have been built for you by the solution provider.
Parallel testing, to ensure that your new solution provides the same balanced outputs as your existing legacy application, is critical. If payroll is being implemented, typically a minimum of two parallel runs should be made to ensure confidence that the new solution has been correctly configured and is tested thoroughly.
Who Will Do the Testing and When Will They Do It?
Enlist a group of internal resources and subject matter experts who will be engaged with the project and have an appreciation and understanding for the value of the testing initiative.
Assign a lead person to shepherd the project. Good testers pay strong attention to detail, are good communicators, and have an eye for anomalies or errors that may be encountered throughout the testing cycles.
With your resources in place, prepare a testing schedule to ensure that your internal resources have been provided with adequate time in their day-to-day work schedules, and a working environment with minimal distractions, to participate in HCM testing.
Plan ahead to organize the time required to ensure thorough testing which aligns with the HCM project plan.
How Will You Gather and Report Defects as a Result of the Testing?
Inquire with your vendor on the availability of tools to record and report on any issues throughout the testing process.
Identify and agree to the steps with your vendor to regularly report and discuss any issues, establish the severity and risk of issues uncovered, and the steps for resolution and turnaround expectations to correct the issues, or apply fixes to the tested solution.
What are the Success Factors within Your Testing Process?
It will be important to determine what your definition of success will be following each type of testing, and within each individual phase of project.
What is your acceptability criterion in terms of configurations, inputs, processing and outputs within your new solution? Work closely with your I.T. resources as well as your solution vendor to agree on what those acceptable limits are.
Determine what the metrics will be for the quality of the overall solution including integrity and reliability of the converted data, system navigation and accessibility, overall user experience, training materials and procedural documentation written for the successful use of your new HCM solution.
Plan ahead and create a detailed strategy for executing your involvement in testing your new HCM solution. It will be time well spent and will provide you with the confidence that your new solution is functioning as expected, is delivering accurate results and is a source of reliable information from which you can make strategic human capital decisions.