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Business Process for Customer Involvement in Testing Disclosure Number: IPCOM000029729D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Jul-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Jul-09
Document File: 1 page(s) / 30K

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Disclosure of a process that brings existing product owners, or new customers in the target market for a product, into the verification process to insure "operational model" problems are found while the product is still in development before the customers use the product in their environment.

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Business Process for Customer Involvement in Testing

Business processes that test products without customer or end user input often result in products with "operational model" type defects. The products may function perfectly, but not in a way the consumer wants to use it. This leads to dissatisfaction with overall product usability, and higher service costs when service organizations have to address these type of defects. For example, "operational model" defects are any defects where the product is working as designed, but the customer does not understand how the product is supposed to work or has expectations on how the product is to work, but has been implemented otherwise. Today most testing is performed by in-house or outsourced testers that are not familiar with the way customers use the product. Including actual customers in the verification cycle will not only improve product usability, but overall customer satisfaction with the product as well. The goal of customer testing is to produce a product not only of high quality code, but one that works as the customers would expect to use it. The process flow is as follows:

Determine the right kind of customer. This is the most critical step. For existing products, this is

generally a customer who is already using the product and that will take advantage of the new features that will come out in the next release. For new products, this should include customers in the target market space. Multiple customers from different industries, or different market segments for the product, will also help ensure the product does not just fit one environment. If a few key customers were used to develop and review the designs for the product, it would be better to select other customers for testing. Arrange testing with the customer, including defining the appropriate dates during the test cycle. The

timing of the test should be convenient to the customer and early enough in the testing phase to have an affect, but late enough so the customer can accomplish some testing. Customer testing should be done after all the product components are fully tested but early on in testing of the overall product or system. Work with the customer to gather any data from their environment that will enhance their testing

experience and simulate their environment such as a...