Without even working in the software industry you will be well aware of the Windows Operating System. It’s been around for decades and is the world's most widely-used operating system, with many laptops being sold with Windows OS already installed. I grew up with Windows XP and at the time I did not understand how the software worked, I just believed that this was the way all laptops worked - just because.
I now have a different perspective on this, in my current role as a test analyst - having recently been required to help a ROQ client on an enterprise-scale Windows 10 upgrade. As the sole tester on the project, the idea of independently testing 900 applications to ensure that each of them worked as intended on the new platform was a daunting task – especially given that all of the information on each of the applications was kept in a spreadsheet. These complexities meant that testing would be no easy feat!
Of course, testing every intricate detail of every application, given the time and resource constraints, would be impossible. On the other hand, taking a highly risk-based approach by ensuring each application opens on Windows 10 without crashing, would not suffice either (we talk about some of the risks you need to consider in our recent article - Navigating the Risks of Windows 10 Upgrades). The project came to the decision that a mixture of testing would be the best way forward. The business-critical applications would be User Acceptance Tested by the business users who used it the most and the other applications would be package tested by myself. This involved ensuring that the applications could be opened, uninstalled, and repaired, along with minimal functionality such as printing, or sending an email, dependent on the application.
This proved to be a great approach to use for this client - the employees using the software on a daily basis would know more than I would be able to learn in the available time, and any problems could be raised quickly without affecting the entire firm. To ensure that I could perform my role effectively, I communicated well with all of the key stakeholders from each of the different business departments and developed great working relationships from the outset - quickly establishing myself within the team.
Retrospectively, there were some things that could have been done differently, such as storing the information on the application in a better way, or having an extra test resource on hand to ensure the departments were documenting as thoroughly as they were testing. Having documented knowledge would help to save time, and therefore costs, in the future. In addition, it was often difficult to get hold of key stakeholders which created bottlenecks. To gain the information needed, contact details of the key stakeholders should have been updated more frequently and made more accessible to the team, and regular meetings to discuss key issues would have alleviated any delays.
Upgrading to the latest version of Windows is one of the best and most important things a company can do. Not only does it provide new features and security enhancements, it keeps the business current, by enforcing all software built in the past, or currently being built to improve and keep up to date. The Windows 10 project I worked on was definitely an eye opener but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
We will be talking more about this in our upcoming webinar Navigating the Challenges and Ensuring Success of Upgrading to Windows 10
Grace Byers – Senior Test Analyst