integration and implementation of technology-focused business solutions

November 2018

Three hurdles in software testing

November 20th, 2018

We work with a variety of clients on software development projects-some that are relatively simple and some that are more complex. In all of those projects, there are multiple phases with the final phase being testing by our team and by the users.

Testing is a really important step, but unfortunately it’s one that a lot of clients want to skim over quickly. Sometimes they’re anxious to have their new software up and running and other times they have a lot of other things going on and struggle to find time to do the necessary testing. But regardless of the reasons, user testing isn’t a step that you should ever skip.

Here are three hurdles we often encounter with user testing of software development projects.

Not wanting to wait until it’s finished

If we’re doing software development for a client, it’s usually because they have some problem that the software we’re developing will solve. That problem might be causing them some overall headaches, which means they’re anxious to get the new software in place and start using it. That’s when clients want to rush through the testing phase (or skip it entirely) and start using the software before it’s really finished.

The problem with that? The software might not do what you actually want it to do because it hasn’t been tested. That could mean it creates even more problems than it solves, and that’s not good.

Struggling to think outside the box

Sometimes we run into the problem of users not being sure how to test the software. Maybe there’s some bad data that got imported so one of the numbers doesn’t look quite right for an order total or something like that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still test what happens if you input a new order. Did a new purchase add to the total? Did it add the right amount?

There’s a lot you can do to test a software even if the data’s not perfectly accurate yet. Bad data doesn’t typically break the software. If bad data should break it, then that’s part of what you’re testing.

Getting bogged down by little things

This somewhat relates to the outside the box thinking mentioned above, but we’ve seen a lot of scenarios where users get distracted by little things and forget to look at the big things. Maybe they’re thrown off by a field label or some of the colors used, and then they can’t see past that to really evaluate whether the software works.

Yes, the field label needs to be correct and the colors should make sense, but it’s important to recognize minor issues versus major issues in the testing phase. One of the big questions to ask during user testing is, “If the software went live today, what’s happening that would stop you from using it?”

Testing is a necessity in software development. There’s no avoiding it. If you skip testing before go live, you’re going to pay for it later in software fixes. But if you see testing as an opportunity, it can help you get the tool you need to solve a problem rather than create one.

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Three keys to managing flexible work schedules

November 6th, 2018

At LSG Solutions, we have long embraced flexible schedules and remote work for our employees. Laptops, cell phones, and other technology makes it possible for employees to work from just about anywhere as long as they have wifi access. And more and more employees are expecting flexibility in their work hours and the option of working remotely when needed.

Here are a few things we’ve learned through the years about successfully managing flexible work schedules and remote work.

Hire people you trust

When I tell people that our employees work remotely sometimes, people often ask if we’ve run into any problems with that. And we really haven’t except for one specific situation where there were some other issues going on as well.

We hire people we trust to get the job done, whether they’re in the office or not when working. If an issue does arise with an employee not getting the job done, we address that just as we would any other issue by discussing it, giving them an opportunity to improve, and then taking action if needed.

Set expectations

Most of our team has a pretty regular schedule in the office, so we know when people will be coming and going. But things come up, of course. Maybe a kid is sick or there’s some other personal issue going on that means an employee needs to be home one day instead of in the office. When that sort of thing happens, our employees know to alert us to their change in schedule. We’ve set the expectations around communicating about schedules, and our employees follow that.

Recognize the need for face-to-face communication

While our employees do sometimes work remotely, we don’t have any employees who are full-time remote. Everyone is in the office for scheduled hours every week. Yes, technology allows for a lot of communication, but face-to-face communication is still critical.

We can’t sit behind computers and communicate solely via instant messenger all day and be effective. At some point, conversations need to be had in person. We work more effectively as a team when we’re able to talk and collaborate in the office, so we make sure there’s an emphasis on that while still balancing the flexibility our employees need.

Offering a flexible schedule has been extremely successful for our company through the years. It’s not about the five o’clock whistle for our team-it’s about getting the job done. Everyone’s putting in the time and effort needed to accomplish our goals even if they’re sometimes working different hours.

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501 E. 15th St., Suite 200B
Edmond, OK 73013