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6 Weeks After – All Calm and Serene (?!?)

  • 28/06/2013
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

What started out 10 weeks ago has evolved, and it is time to end the story. The journey has been an interesting and sometimes confusing one, but this is “not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. It is the end of the beginning”. Plans are in place for further functional deliveries to add to the information in the Data Warehouse. That story is for another time, but this part concludes, with a significant software implementation at the end of June, partly beginning to incrementally deliver the next stages …………..

When I started writing this ‘story’, some 10 weeks ago, I had no idea where it would lead. Initially a week in arrears, there was a real prospect that the proposed go-Live date would not hold – writing a week behind allowed for contingencies, certainly in the early weeks. However, now code has entered into the PROD environment, and some subsequent fixes have been applied as time has progressed. Initial difficulties have been overcome, existing code has been amended, partly to accommodate future deliveries (i.e. those adding new functionality after the delivery described in the main in these articles – that of 14th May 2013).

A planned release in mid-June was slightly delayed, but still occurred within June – 27th June to be precise, so just made it within the calendar month – and this both fixed and was seen to fix a number of items. This is just as well as the number of unresolved items had been creeping up. As at this point in time, many of the items outstanding have a little ‘story’, but the current PROD and future PROD items, a third of the total, will be implemented in the next 4 weeks. The figures are now beginning to look healthy!

pm table 5_494x200

It is progressing, and almost time to say that this delivery has been complete. However, one of the real difficulties with a Data Warehouse is that the information is now made available, quite often data that was not previously readily to hand. A cracking definition of a Data Warehouse is “a data repository that enables the user base to ask the kind of questions that they did not know they needed to ask” (with the definition kindly provided by Brett Gonzales). The more that is available, the more interesting questions that are actually asked, and the more that it found could be asked (if slightly different or more data items were available). So requests to add a new measure, amend the data presentation or combine information will often follow.

“The user base is always right” is an interesting concept to live by, and this has a special addendum that should always be applied: “The user base is always right – even when they are wrong!” Some of the ‘defects’ raised were because there was a change of mind from business users. In one instance, they changed their mind about the names of two input files, and then changed it back to the original. The key factor is that real and perceived difficulties have for the most part been addressed, and the delivered solution gives real tangible business benefit. Some of this is only applicable once a year, but when the information to produce business trends is required, it is now available, in a common format for the five discrete market sectors. At “the touch of a button”.

So, it only remains to combine the ‘previous’ and ‘current’ from the defect list and label as ‘previous’, rename ‘future’ as ‘current’, and add new columns for ‘future and the whole process starts again. It is truly groundhog day!

Thanks for travelling with me on this journey. There was a brief period of time in the main go-Live week that I wondered how I was going to share really bad news with you. In the end it was not necessary. But I think you will agree, it has been an interesting journey.


peter morgan_120x90Peter Morgan is a testing professional who has been involved in the ICT industry for more than 30 years, and worked in the freelance marketplace for much of that time. His time has sometimes moved from testing to ‘development’, but he would add “always using the mindset of a tester”. He is passionate about testing and a firm advocate of testing qualifications. An enthusiastic speaker and author, Peter tries to base his output on hands-on experience, attempting to relate fine sounding ideas back to how it will affect Joe or Jane Tester in their everyday working lives in the war of attrition that we call software testing.

Peter is also one of the 2013 EuroSTAR Community Leaders.


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