Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Operational Acceptance Testing and Release Management

Before releasing things into the “wild” I’d like to think we’ve done some planning, risk assessment, backup contingency/recovery plan, hopefully some availability and capacity management to test reliability, also may be some training would be nice and most importantly does it pass the customer and user acceptance as fit for use and fit for purpose to meet business needs.

Wouldn’t it be nice to do these things even before release? Do a bit of forward thinking and actually liaise with stakeholders and the business to make sure the “system” works. Project Teams may even be able to reach up and get their dusty PRINCE2 manual of the shelf too.

Another thing that would be very helpful would be some communication, a dialog between the business and IT might be beneficial for delivering things they what and are practical and usable. Dare I even say “add value”?

In a nutshell quality management, monitoring, software testing will help you deliver customer acceptance and customer joy. Managing complex system is made easier by mapping the inter-dependencies between people, processes, products and partners. That’s what makes any system distribute quality and value.

Before and after release monitor metrics than identify service improvements for Version 2 and repeat OAT again. Remember costs don’t stop at the end of the project – ongoing support and operational cost need to be factored in.

Unless you want to keep trying to fit squares in to round holes I suggest Operational Acceptance Testing is factored in to your Release Management or you may find the whole project drops in to a hole.


Rob said...

Thanks for calling out this issue. There is a whole activity or function or ITIL-would-say process that gets neglected: Operational Readiness.

It operates from Architecture to Design to Build to Test to Release to Evaluation, a holistic approach to making sure the cats are alive and healthy when we in Operations get them.

Operational Readiness is not a big job, but it benefits from some conscious attention and formalisation. I've done an assessment checklist and a framework or specification of the function.

Without it we get Dead Cat Syndrome: dead cats chucked over the wall from Solutions to Operations.

I'll be speaking on this at the Pink Elephant conf in Vegas in a couple of weeks. Or I've written on it here

ITIL Manager said...

Hi Rob, Thanks for the comment. Sometimes it feels like we use the Wright Cycle: Guess-Do-Crash-Fix.

Wish I could attend the event in Vegas. Are Operational Acceptance is a lot like gamabling too :-)

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