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Walking the Tightrope, Episode 2: Shoeb Javed Discusses Mobile App Testing Projects

by Ken Murphy, Senior Features Editor

October 15, 2013

Ken Murphy: Hello, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsiderOnline, and welcome to “Walking the Tightrope,” an exclusive series of podcasts with veteran project managers and speakers at the SAPinsider Managing Your SAP Projects conference, which begins Nov. 20 in Orlando. Today, I’m pleased to be joined by Shoeb Javed, the Chief Technology Officer at Worksoft. Shoeb will present a session at the conference about mobility testing, and he’s agreed to give us a sneak preview of what to expect.

Shoeb, in the testing phase of a mobility project, is there a common mistake that trips people up that can usually be avoided?

Shoeb Javed: Yes, most common mistake that most people make is to just look at the mobile part of the mobile application. Typically, mobile applications support some end-to-end business process, and it’s very important to look at the entire business process that includes back end applications that support most of the implementation of that process. So when you do test your mobile applications, it’s important to make sure that you test them end-to-end in the context of the business processes that they support.

Ken: Also, everyone values a testing strategy, but how do you determine what type of testing is most appropriate for your project? So what does a company do if they’ve gone ahead with structuring a team for one type of testing, and then discover that they’d perhaps most benefit from another type of testing?

Shoeb: So broadly speaking there are four kinds of testing that people normally do. There’s functional testing that makes sure that the functionality of your application meets the requirements that you’ve set forth for it. The second kind of testing is end-user performance testing. This is typically testing in the wild so to speak, to make sure that end users get the right performance under real-world conditions including real-world network conditions. The third kind of testing is load testing and this kind of testing makes sure that your back end systems are not overwhelmed when a large number of people access your mobile application. And then finally there is security testing, and that includes both row-based security as well as application and network security.

So most people do functional testing and it’s important to have a core team that does functional testing. If you just have a functional testing team and you want to cover some of the other kinds of testing, you could always outsource these because these are done much less frequently and therefore you don’t need to have your own core team be doing those for example load testing or security testing or performance testing, because this can be done from time to time as appropriate, but don’t need to be done all the time.

Ken: Also, Shoeb, what’s the most important thing to get right in the testing phase to ensure overall success?

Shoeb: I think the most important thing to get right is to get a good understanding of the business processes that your application supports. And making sure that you understand those business processes and all their variations. This might seem trivial but it’s really hard to do because it requires a lot of input from  your business subject matter experts, and getting that input is hard. So getting this right is very important because it could actually cut your testing time quite significantly because you’re focused on things that are important to the business and not necessarily that you think are important.

Ken: Lastly, in your experience, do companies that are developing mobile apps underestimate the scope of enterprise mobility implementations because they’re different from traditional on-premise implementations? If so, do you see this dynamic changing? What do you advise your clients as to how to change this mindset?

Shoeb: People don’t generally underestimate the scope of a given project. If you look at a single, mobile project and people get focused on that, and typically are able to scope it OK. What most people don’t do is they don’t think of enterprise mobility as a long-term strategy that extends multiple projects. So if they build infrastructure and people and processes to support a long-term enterprise mobility strategy that was common to all the mobility projects that they have, they would do much better. Each of those projects would benefit from that common infrastructure, and then they would also think about the problem in a way that benefits all of their projects. I think that’s where people underestimate this; you can’t treat this as an ad-hoc thing that you just build one app, and then you build another app. You’ve got to think about what you want to do on a long-term basis, build out a common infrastructure for that, and then start putting in the pieces into that infrastructure. I think people are finally beginning to understand this after they do a couple of projects and realize that this is a long-term initiative.

Ken: This is Ken Murphy with SAPinsiderOnline, and you’ve been listening to “Walking the Tightrope,” a series of weekly podcasts leading up to SAPinsider’s Managing Your SAP Projects conference in Orlando beginning Nov. 20. Today, we’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Worksoft Chief Technology Officer Shoeb Javed.

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