I took my car to the mechanic recently, and on the wall of the shop I saw a sign that said, ‘We can do two of three things!” On it, there was a graphic of a pyramid with three levels: ‘Low Price’, ‘Short Time’, and ‘Quality’. Then the message, ‘We can do two of these but not three’. Clearly, the idea was that you could have, for instance, a low price and a quick turnaround time, but not good quality.
I think often it’s the same with Integration work. We have these same three parameters when we are working on a project, and we can adjust which parameter takes priority, depending on what our clients prefer to have. Of course, they want all three, but, like the mechanic told me they can’t have all three.
I was presenting Figaf’s integration regression testing tool (IRT) for SAP PI/PRO and one thing that came up was risk of the project. The thing is, the mechanic’s pyramid is missing the ability to adjust for the very important element of risk. Risk is different from quality — quality is what you get after the project is complete, while risk is a factor you want to mitigate. When we are working on a project, we have risk we want to minimize. In an integration project a risk could be that our mappings will not work with the partners and we need to test more with them. Or that the new technology we try to use does not work. We ask ourselves questions like, how can we complete the project on time? Will it work when we go into production? How many variables are we testing?
I think that a lot of the time, as Integration professionals, we don’t put enough energy into minimizing risk. If you pick up any project management book, one of the big topics it covers is risk. The goal is to teach project managers to ask how they can mitigate and measure the risk they are taking with a given project. Measuring the risk gives the project manager lots of important information that will allow him to lower the risk so that it will be easier to include all the components of a project in less time, with fewer problems and higher quality.
Our SAP regression tool helps achieve all three of the factors in the pyramid by mitigating the risk. First, IRT enables you to set up a certain set of test cases. This reduces risk by ensuring that you’ve run the same test cases every time, and that they’ve passed without any problems. Second, better and more consistent testing raises the quality of the project overall, giving your client a better final product. Then of course, streamlining the testing process reduces the time spent, and allows delivery of the project to the client that much sooner. This is a big deal since most integration professionals work and bill on an hourly basis. And finally, of course, fewer billable hours means a reduced cost to the client.
So, I just wanted to remind you that whenever you are doing integration work, there is a tool that will help you mitigate the risk you’re taking with the project to help you deliver on time and within budget, while still meeting the requirements of your project.
You can check out the Figaf integration regression tool at: http://figaf.com/irt
P.s. We are now going to do a demo of the tool for the client, so they must have linked it.