Influence of stakeholders on testing

Stakeholders always play a vital role in every organization in various ways. It is highly recommended for people to know and understand different kinds of situations, which would be overcome from time to time. It is a known fact that some of the software testings require a huge amount of resources because of various reasons.

Wikipedia defines Software testing as “an investigation conducted to provide stakeholders with information about the quality of the product or service under test.”

A stakeholder is someone who has a ‘stake’ or ‘interest’ in the product being developed. The stakeholders of a project influence functionality being tested, nonfunctional aspects of the product, resources (tools & technology) used for testing, and even time and team size. Also, the marketing gets affected and some of the best digital marketing companies in India have seen this. Some things like the time and team size aside, understanding the expectations of stakeholders from any product can really help testers add value to the quality of the product.

For adequate coverage, the testing team should ‘think’ like a stakeholder while writing and executing test cases. I’ve seen issues discovered by the end-users after the product went life, which should have been caught by the team who tested requirements. One of the primary reasons for this is not ‘thinking’ as a stakeholder.

Let’s take an example to understand this. Consider a scenario where ABC company is launching a website to manage their sales orders and delivery. This website will allow customers of ABC to place orders on the website, ABC users to track deliveries of goods and payments received. The management reports section will allow senior managers to view revenue specific reports. SuperDevs company has been awarded this development project and they are further outsourcing the testing to BestTest company.

Some groups to look for while identifying stakeholders, in this case, would be

End users – People who’ll actually use this product. The customers of ABC Inc., staff, and senior management. Most often these are the people who’ll give project requirements. People from this group influence the core functionality of the product. More often than this the only stakeholder group whose needs are validated by the testing team in their testing.

Customers would need to

Search for products and place orders. Might involve logic for discount calculation, shipping charges calculation, etc.

Make payments over the internet securely. Edit details like shipping address etc., sometimes after placing the order. Track production status and delivery schedule (expected date of delivery)

Cancel an order. This might involve cancellation fees to be levied on the customer. Staff members from various departments would have different needs like. Production dept staff would need to know open orders requirement to plan production schedule

Marketing people would need to know which items are in demand and which are not, so they can create discount schemes etc to move the slow items

Customer support people would need to know the status of open orders and product details of orders that have been delivered so they can answer support queries, handle returns, etc.

Executive staff would need special reports to give them revenue details as well as forecasts about orders so they can make intelligent decisions regarding budget and strategy.

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