May 22, 2017 - Four Must Have Tips for Successful Conference Room Pilots

Staff meeting-1Conference room pilot testing (CRP), can often be an overwhelming event for a client. In a typical project cycle there will be two or more CRP’s. The first CRP (CRP1) is used to demonstrate the proposed solution using generic data. The purpose in not to test data but to verify the validity of the solution. The implementation partner will drive the CRP1 session while discussing features, functionality, and the solution. CRP2 (and later CRPs) is designed to incorporate the client into the testing event. Client data will be set up in the system, tweaks coming out of CRP1 have been made and the client will get their hands on the keyboard and transacting.

For many clients, Oracle Cloud is often a new software, with new nomenclature to learn and, for some, the worry that this will eliminate their usefulness to their company. The success or failure of a CRP can be summed up in one simple Benjamin Franklin quote; “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”.

I have been running successful CRPs for almost 15 years. Over the last 15 years I have evolved my approach to managing these testing events and through that evolution I have created a formula for the execution of a successful testing event to ensure that project stays on track. Here are some simple tips and tricks to ensure a successful delivery:

1. Know Your Audience

For many clients, this will be their first foray into the Oracle ecosystem. Strive to understand their business needs as well as their process and nomenclature; this allows you to translate the overwhelming Oracle acronym data dictionary into terms they can relate to their own.

2. Understand the SOW

Make sure you know what is in scope for the project. There should never be any question as to what functionality that you are responsible for implementing. If it is not clearly spelled out in the SOW it should not be configured or tested.

3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

You should have a plan going into any session; time can be on your side if you use it wisely. A detailed agenda should be developed and distributed prior to the CRP which clearly outlines the high level agenda, expected time for each session, and a list of required participants. Scenarios should be developed and reviewed with the customer. Data to be used in those scenarios should be clearly defined and approved by the business stakeholders. Finally, a meeting that provides a clear concise explanation of what a CRP is, what the expectations of the event are, and expected outcome should be held with the client prior to the event to ensure proper expectations on all sides.

4. Dry Run

Never take for granted that just because you set something up and did preliminary testing that it will work. Ensure you test with the scenarios and data you agreed upon with the customer. You do not want to get into a session to first find out a set up was missed or you don’t have all the information you need to conduct the CRP. Perception is everything.

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