Can You Afford Not to Train?
I have heard these lines more than once about the cost of training: “Can we afford to train or can we afford not to train our employees?” Here is an example about the costs of not training:
A common situation during the deployment project definition of new software:
- Vendor’s consultants do not understand the client’s business processes.
- Persons making the definitions for the client are not familiar with the software used.
The main reason for this is that there has not been enough training before starting the definition phase. There might have been some introductions, but not tangible enough ones.
“After a big IT-project, people usually say the same thing: “If I’d understood this in the beginning.”
The cost of not training
Here are a few examples of what kind of problems are encountered if the project team is not trained:
- Vendor’s consultants complain about the client, not understanding. They want to specify the current system to the new software.
- The client complains that the vendor’s consultants do not understand their business. Also, the software is not working as it should be.
- There are unnecessary change requests made because the different logic of the new software is confusing to the client.
- The wrong decisions are made because the consequences of those decisions are not When we get to the testing phase, there will be big repairs.
“Everyone wants to do good work. When they are trained properly, they have a chance at that.”
Trainings in Project
Training the project team is often considered expensive. When training is requested, the reporter will present a few thousand cost estimates, which will be ruled out by the steering group. Or the result is a couple of unclear sessions, the result of which is only wasted time.
Projecttop process guides you to train the right people at the right time. The needs and budget of the training are already defined in the planning phase. So, it is possible to take note of the budget and this avoids a very expensive saving.
Who should we train and when?
The test manager should specify the need for training in the development project. Why that is: if the project group is not trained, testing is the one area that suffers most:
- Unnecessary change requests
- Testing is going nowhere
- The quality of testing is not good
- The quality of the basic information is not adequate
- Motivation takes a big hit
Another reason, why the person responsible for the training and the test manager should be working together, is joint resources. Often the persons from the business who were the best at testing were the best at training too. To avoid overlapping resource reservations, making the plan should be a joint effort. The goals are, after all, shared too.
What can we teach to acceptance testers when time is limited?
When starting the acceptance testing, the introduction to testing should be done lightly. Persons involved usually know their business processes, but preparedness for testing varies. Some of them have tested before, some never. Here are a few comments I’ve had during the years:
- “It’s off-the-shelf software, why do we need testing?”
- “They said to come and find all bugs from that system!”
- “You estimate that there are 157 observations to be found? Why don’t you fix those first? We can test it when it’s ready!”
- “Well I’m so busy at work, I don’t have time to sit around here.”
“Every new person should get a basic knowledge of the system first, before starting testing.”
When time is limited, and there are a lot of things to do, there are some things what the training for future testers should, at least, include:
- Motivate to test – Tell them why we are testing
- How to test and what techniques to use
- Technical part of testing + testing tools
- How to report defects
- Prioritizing defects and handling them
- The process of change requests