Implement Proven Testing Practices and Techniques for Large-Scale Global SAP Rollouts

  • by Jose Fajardo, President, SAPTESTING.NET
  • August 13, 2009
Learn how to avoid mistakes that plague many SAP implementations associated with flawed testing approaches. Take away valuable information that you can use as a baseline for either enhancing the status quo at your respective projects or for avoiding potential mistakes before testing is initiated.
Key Concept

Initial implementations and major system upgrades usually include several different types of testing. Unit testing is the lowest level of testing, occurring at the transaction code level. This type of testing verifies transaction functionality and the master data. Scenario testing verifies smaller processes within an individual module and may be tested with interfaced or converted data. This type of testing can also include role-based testing if end-user roles are defined. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) allows end users to evaluate the system and training materials prior to deploying the application. You can incorporate feedback from UAT as enhancements or fixes for future system releases. Other common types of testing include development, integration, regression, and performance testing.

In an SAP ERP global rollout, an implementation team creates an initial template for one division and uses it as the standard for other divisions. Companies conduct testing activities related to test planning, test execution, test reporting, and defect management on the initial template and repeat them at other divisions or units.

However, it’s important to understand how successful these testing activities are in the initial template and how well coordinated the activities are. Important questions to consider include:

  • What is the quality of the test deliverables?

  • How are scenarios developed to ensure that all requirements are verified prior to going live?

  • What is the quality of the test scripts and how can these be reused?

  • How much time was allocated to testing? What heuristics, if any, were used to estimate how much time was needed in the project schedule to conduct testing activities?

  • How well did the project team members, consisting of functional resources, developers, and team leads, understand their testing tasks and activities?

  • What about indirect project resources such as external auditors — were they able to successfully validate the test results?

  • How can the testing timeline be shrunk without affecting the end-user experience or creating more production support tickets for the production team?

These are questions that few SAP ERP projects take the time to document and address. Even when companies allocate at least 50% of their time to testing activities, they often neglect to document the lessons learned and develop action items to address these lessons learned. Therefore, I provide lessons learned and testing practices collected from various SAP ERP global rollouts to help you improve testing tasks and activities in your next project.

The lessons learned and best testing practices for SAP ERP global rollouts are for project managers, cutover managers, and experienced SAP functional and technical team members. The eight main topic areas that I cover are:

  • Reusable components

  • Requirements traceability

  • Project management visibility

  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

  • Test management tools

  • Role-based testing

  • Negative role testing

  • Test beds for interfaces

Jose Fajardo

Jose Fajardo (PMP, M.S., CSCP, and SAP certified) has worked as a test manager for various companies using a wide array of automated testing tools. Throughout his career, Jose has helped clients create testing standards and test plans, mentored junior programmers, audited testing results, implemented automated testing strategies, and managed test teams. He has written numerous articles on testing SAP and authored the book Testing SAP R/3: A Manager’s Step-by-Step Guide (Wiley, April 2007). Jose lives in the Washington, DC area.

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