e-Talk Radio: Hendrickson, Elisabeth, 15 February 2001

[article]
Rebroadcast 29 March 2001

those needs.

ELISABETH: That's true. So, I focus on checklists, I focus on brief, not necessarily even complete sentences, to describe what it is I need this to do, and lots of pictures.

CAROL: Now, once you do that, do you pass it around to everybody at this stage, say all of your potential users, to actually take a look at this or give you fog test.

ELISABETH: I do pass it around. I don't necessarily pass it around to everyone who will ultimately be involved in the process, because at this point I don't want to get people involved too early if they aren't going to really be part of the decision process.

CAROL: You could end up with the analysis paralysis.

ELISABETH: Absolutely. So, yes, I need feedback, and so the folks who are going to be using the tool on a day-to-day basis or who need to get information out of the tool, like management frequently needs to get reports or status information out of a tool. Those are the folks who I am going to run it by first. And, also, I am going to get at this point...I am going to get a champion, if I don't already have one, I probably do, but I'm going to line up my champions at the executive level who are going to be able to approve the budget. I am going to have the budget for the tool and plus I am also going to have expenses for training. And I'm going to have to have their buy-in that this is a good way for us to use our time.

CAROL: Now, would you expect to find a champion, even for say a ten-thousand dollar software tool.

ELISABETH: Oh, absolutely. Ten-thousand dollars is still a lot of money in a lot of companies, and, so, if I'm at a management level and don't have that kind of authority to bring in that kind of tool, I definitely need to get a champion. I may discover unfortunately that my purchase order gets rejected by...during the purchase order process much to my surprise, just when I most need the tool.

CAROL: Right. Now, what's the budget. You were talking about setting up a budget. Should I be including things like the perceived or the potential cost of training people, you know, needing the vendor's support. Do I need to factor that into the original budget.

ELISABETH: You need to take it into account how precise and how formal your budgeting process is, is going to determine whether you actually create a spreadsheet that has all of these line items in it and the anticipated month or quarter in which you are going to send this money, and so forth. What you may end up with is a sketch on the back of a napkin or whiteboard somewhere that says, "Okay, um, Janice, Miss V.P. - Here's the...the costs…the licensing costs are going to be this much and we are going to have to bring in some consultants to help train us on this tool to make us more effective on it, and it is going to be about this much, and so it may be that informal but, if you don't take it into account up front, all of a sudden you are going to discover there is no money for training. And so you have this lovely, powerful, extremely wonderful tool that you've spent an enormous amount of time selecting and you don't have the outside help to help get your department up to speed to use it most

About the author

Elisabeth Hendrickson's picture Elisabeth Hendrickson

The founder and president of Quality Tree Software, Inc., Elisabeth Hendrickson wrote her first line of code in 1980. Moments later, she found her first bug. Since then Elisabeth has held positions as a tester, developer, manager, and quality engineering director in companies ranging from small startups to multi-national enterprises. A member of the agile community since 2003, Elisabeth has served on the board of directors of the Agile Alliance and is a co-organizer of the Agile Alliance Functional Testing Tools program. She now splits her time between teaching, speaking, writing, and working on agile teams with test-infected programmers who value her obsession with testing. Elisabeth blogs at testobsessed.com and can be found on Twitter as @testobsessed.

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