There is a common theme when you set about testing a bit of hardware or software either for development, qualification or delivery. And it’s found best from experience rather than when people tell you it’s going to happen…because you sort of listen but then you don’t really get it.
The theme is this:
Your test campaign never ends up with the results that you thought you were going to get
Now this may seem like the most obvious thing to say. But typically, and this may be your experience right now on a project, once a test is planned and results are, let’s say, hypothesised, a whole chain of schedules and formalisation is then built into it.
And this often involves micromanagement…which results in that hypothesised result suddenly becoming written in stone.
So then when you test and find you have to change something or you find out that there is something else, something new going on, what typically happens is that the testing halts and loads of meetings take place.
Non-conformances are talked about, error flow trees discussed at length…schedules rearranged…and all the while there is that creeping sense of more micromanagement to try and achieve “perfection” in the campaign rather than adapt within reasonable limits to what’s going on right now.
After all any test campaign is about achieving results, getting some sort of data that can be fed back into the program and new directions taken. Yet by either habit, lack of focus on the priorities or insecurity due to imagined risks, a test program often becomes a pure outpouring of hidden fears.
Which you have to deal with along with getting the results you wanted in some shape or form.
When tests don’t go as planned then you should simply adapt, and implement change quickly. There is a common phrase in the business world, and it’s especially relevant to small businesses and entrepreneurs…
“Speed of implementation equals speed of success“
The faster you adapt, try something out…and if it doesn’t work you tune your test with the feedback you get…the faster you implement the sooner you get results. And progress.
It takes courage and understanding of a customers and colleagues fears to do this. And that is the grease you need to find to lubricate the wheels of progress when doing big test campaigns.
Identify what the ideal outcome is for your customers and what they are afraid will happen (or won’t happen) and prioritise these when planning changes to tests…when results don’t go as planned.
There are 2 things that happen:
- You build empathy and trust with customers because you are understanding their real needs
- You develop an air of coolness under pressure and confidence which gives you more freedom to influence the direction of what’s happening and where the re-testing goes.
Plus it means you can focus on getting results in your test campaign…and at the same time it will give the air of being exactly what the customer wants. Or perfection in their eyes.