This audio+presentation post discusses the Testing skill, one of the 6 Key Skills of a Functional Consultant. In particular creating Testing Requirements, the first stage of the Testing phase of an Oracle project.
We’ll also discuss how to break into functional consulting using your current skillsets, where you might fit in an Oracle project, and what you would be expected to do during this phase. I share how testing can be used to get great visibility with your client, how testing can be used to become a key consultant, or linchpin, on an Oracle project.
Please download the presentation deck and wmv here:
6 Key Skills of an Oracle Consultant
- Objectives and Requirements
- Design and Build
- Test and Transition
Based on my career, and having studied successful consultants for many years now, these are the six key skills of an Oracle Functional Consultant. These are the skills you want to demonstrate in your cv, your Linkedin profile, talk about in interviews, and with your project manager.
How to use your existing skills to break into Functional Consulting, and develop the full functional skillset from there
We created the Functional Quadrant to describe what an Oracle Functional Consultant actually does. The vertical axis describes the business skills at the top and technical skills at the bottom. The horizontal axis describes those skills that are officially carried out by the business analyst on the left, and those on the right by the systems analyst. Both Business Analyst and Systems analyst can be called Functional Consultants. In very large projects there might be people filling both roles, but the full functional skillset includes all of the above skills. For our purposes we will refer to functional consultants to represent Business/system analysts.
What this gives us really in terms of being able to break into the job of being a functional consultant; it means we can build on our current skill-sets to enter the functional quadrant from our position of strength, and previous experience.
So in Top Left you have the Business specialities using the key skills Objectives and Requirements, the bottom right you have the more technical aspects involving the skills Design and Build.
Breaking into Oracle Functional Consulting
If you are breaking into Oracle Functional Consulting from a business background, you should be emphasizing and building your Objectives and Requirements key skills, and building the remainder of the skills as you go along. Business people wanting to break into consulting should strive to become business process experts, in that way they can be a valuable liaison between business and the IT.
I myself broke into Functional Consulting from the technical side, using my experience of Design and Build to get into Functional roles, and building the rest of the 6 Key Functional Skills over time. Not many functional consultants will have technical skills and this is especially useful in projects with lots of interfaces and customizations. A functional consultant with technical skills can look at the code and is never paralyzed by a technical issue.
The Testing skill sits in the middle between business and technical, business analyst and systems analyst.
Business-oriented Functional consultants can be useful in testing as they know how to run business processes in test systems, can create test requirements, test scenarios, test data, run the tests, and decide if the test was successful or not.
Technical-oriented Functional consultants are extremely useful when testing customizations and interfaces, a feature of many projects in my career. They can deliver successful customizations and interfaces into production as they understand the technical requirements and issues that can be difficult for business-oriented Functional Consultants.
Diagram showing the primary Test deliverables on an Oracle project; these are the areas you need to concentrate on.
This workflow highlights the main work elements, work products or documents that you generate during the test and transition phases on the project. Most of the documents are linked and they’d flow through from the previous phase, which is the build phase.
As a point to note here, the boxes, the lozenges that we’ve highlighted in orange are the ones we are going to focus in the Testing Phase set of presentations. The subject of this post is the The specific subject of this call is Testing Requirements work product(TE.005 Testing Requirements).
So you can see the top left, you really look at nailing down the testing requirements and developing the testing strategy and that information flows through into the system test scenarios. Importantly as well, that’s sometimes often forgotten on projects, is the area of static test data, and in static test data in particular Oracle produced a template, a work product in Oracle Unified Method for that because it’s important you determine the static test data and it carries through to all of your test platform configurations. It means once you create this test data once and you can just repeat it for later phases of testing on same environment or different enviroments.
The other important part is acceptance test plan being the user acceptance testing plan, and that’s the thing that functional consultants always get involved with and my clients are always grateful for that kind of help in producing one of those.
So the key work products in particular in the test phase that we’ll be talking about will be testing requirements, testing strategy, the system test plan, some system test scenarios, an example of static test data, and acceptance test plan.
Key Work Products
A list of the key work products or deliverables in the Testing Phase
- TE.005 Testing Requirements – AIM equivalent TE.010
- TE.010 Testing Strategy – AIM equivalent TE.010
- TE.025 System Test Scenarios – AIM equivalent TE.040
- TE.018 Static Test Data – AIM equivalent TE.010
- TE.082 Acceptance Test Plan – AIM equivalent TE.010
TE.005 Testing Requirements – AIM equivalent TE.010
The Testing Requirements is used in the following ways:
– to reach agreement on the scope of testing and the approach to testing
– to build confidence in the development approach
– to make visible the staffing issues related to testing
The testing requirements is one of the first documents we produce really within Oracle Unified Method and it often forms part of actually a job of the project manager. The framework is created very early in a project even though it’s actually flagged here in another phase as being in the test and transition phase.
It’s used really to reach an agreement with the business around testing requirements, on the scope of testing and also the approach you are going to take to testing. And it also allows you to build confidence really amongst the business and the project stakeholders of what the development approach is going to be, and showing that you’ve got a real quality approach to the work products and deliverables that you are generating.
Also importantly it will make visible early on any of the staffing issues that need to be resolved prior to the testing being launched. It enables almost the project to mobilize its testing organization, and that’s one of the key items really that needs to be addressed early in the project.
On larger projects, you will have in particular a test lead or test manager and that could be a key, functional role for a functional consultant. As often, we’ve said before actually, a good way of breaking into functional consulting and also to take on if you got a, what’s the word, a managerial slant to your style, you could take on that particular role.
It’s not often a popular role on projects because it’s a very intense and pressurized time on a project, the testing cycles, and it’s also compressed into a very narrow timeframe. But conversely it has extremely high visibility, allows people to make a name for themselves on a program or a project and gain the trust of the organization with which they’re working.
Work Product document Sections to Note
So in here you’ve got kind of the introduction to the testing, you’ve got kind of general testing process as a requirements, the functional testing requirements, the known functional testing requirements and any acceptance testing requirements would get developed in here.
Functional Testing Requirements
Functional testing requirements would be literally the functions of the software that you’re implementing, so you can create journals, you can have an exchange rate applied and so on so forth.
So here we’ve identified what the testing requirements are and what specific concerns of the testing would be undertaken on the project, what they should actually apply to.
Non-Functional Testing Requirements
The non-functional testing requirements would be things around the technical items of the system so the connectivity and the recovery procedure and that kind of thing is what I would personally think of it as being non-functional.
These documents are referential and you always refer back to another document you’ve done previously. So the testing requirements would refer back to often the business and system objectives where it would outline what the objectives are of the testing.
For example the ability to trade in a new currency, the ability to receive invoices and generate invoices, bank account need to available in the currency, you can make payments, you’re going to receive payments. And so the people who then align actually, the other functional consultants of a project who might be devising what the testing scenarios would be, will refer back to these requirements, refer back to these key concerns and issues that have been raised in the testing requirements to make sure that their test scenarios are aligned with these key items that’s mentioned here.
Human Resources Requirements
This are is used to define the roles of each member of the testing organization. It is extremely useful in setting business expectation of what will be expected from them. This is why this document is often created early in the project so the business can mobilize resources to fulfill their responsibilities.
- Define Test Scenarios
- Create training on new processes
- Execute Test Scripts
- Reconcile and sign-off test data conversion results
- Execute UAT scripts
- Sign-off UAT
- Identify Training needs
- Review and Approve Test Scenarios
- Define UAT criteria
- Review System and Integration test results
- Resolve UAT issues
- Sign-off UAT
- Document test scenarios
- Develop training for new processes
- Define UAT scripts and roles
- Execute system and integration test
- Sign-off SIT
- Create UAT Environment
- Execute Regression Tests
- Sign-off Regression Test Results
- Support UAT users
- Resolve UAT issues
How Testing can be your break into Functional Consulting
One Key thing to note is that testing is, from an Oracle Unified Method perspective part of a testing job role. We have made it one of the 6 Key Skills as it can allow the Functional Consultant to become the KEY consultant on a project. The reason they become KEY is because they’re able to get involved in all areas. So they get involved in certain amount in development, quite a bit in testing, in design, in cutover et cetera. So really there is an opportunity as a functional consultant to become a real linchpin and a real go-to guy on the project by sort of developing skills that are slightly outside the pure functional skill set.
Indeed of the key things you need to be able to do as a functional consultant is to enhance your longevity on project and the variety of things that you can get involved in, and testing is a good area where you can demonstrate that as well actually.
Testing is also a good area for people from a business background to break into functional consulting because you can come from the business, be involved in testing and through the testing kind of branch out into functional skills. Because you can be involved in resolving issue, you can raise issues as a tester, you could also be involved in resolving the issues actually. So that’s a good way of developing your skill set, another avenue of breaking into a functional consultant.
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Please download the presentation deck and wmv here:
Aidan and John.
Let me know your questions in the comments below…