The following principles are applicable to the Configuration Engineering Laboratory:
1.1 Prototyping environment
The laboratory is a rigorous, carefully controlled prototyping and testing environment managed by a very senior and very practical manager who has a clear high level holistic view of how the entire solution fits together and who clearly understands the critical role of the laboratory. This manager is to be supplied by the Implementer.
1.2 Representative data
The laboratory is populated with comprehensive, carefully selected representative data – perhaps 0.1% of the data that is in the live system but representative of all possible scenarios.
There are very specific principles to be applied in the selection of this data. Selection of this data will be guided by the Project Facilitator.
1.3 Fully equipped
The laboratory is situated in a permanently assigned, well-appointed and well-furnished room with five to ten high performance workstations, a high performance server, high performance backup device (to permit rapid roll back to previous test states), data projector, flip charts, white board, etc.
1.4 Automated testing software
The laboratory is to be equipped with automated testing software that will permit recording and playback of test scripts.
1.5 Life of project
The laboratory is established at the very start of the project and runs until the Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence environment are fully operational and the system has been fully commissioned.
1.6 Accurately model the real world
All configuration settings are tested in the laboratory until they accurately model the precise desired operation of the business and all required customization and custom development has been comprehensively and rigorously tested and accepted.
Executives and managers must be able to undertake structured facilitated walkthroughs of the laboratory configuration and see their business at all times – if it does not make sense to the executives and / or managers the process stops until the configuration has been modified so that it does make sense to them.
1.7 Break it till it breaks no more
The primary initial goal of the laboratory is to break the configuration and once it cannot be broken to optimize it, document it, develop training material and computer based training material (CBT) in it, use it as a training environment, use it for the testing of reports and establish the Data Warehouse operating against it.
1.8 Business Intelligence Development
A full set of management reports, dashboards, etc are to be developed and tested in the laboratory BEFORE production operation commences.
1.9 Standards, Policies and Procedures
A full set of operational standards, policies and procedures must be developed during the project and embedded in the training given in the laboratory and thereafter.
1.10 Computer Based Training Material
A full set of Computer Based Training material with regard to standard operating practices for all primary areas of business operation that uses the software must be developed in the laboratory and deployed as part of the final deliverable.
1.11 Basis of go-live certificate
The configuration does NOT go-live until it has been comprehensively tested in the laboratory and accepted by all senior project team members.
The go-live certificate will be issued at the end of a structured walkthrough of the entire configuration by the entire top management of the project – this walkthrough may take several days and may have to be suspended several times for adjustments.
If the top team are not satisfied with the results of the walkthrough further walkthroughs, will be held until all members of the top team are willing to accept the configuration.
1.12 Basis of live instance
The laboratory configuration forms the basis of the live instance of the software – the entire configuration is to be copied onto the production server and rigorously tested software used to clear out all transaction data files and reset all counters.
This reset software must be supplied and certified by the software vendor who shall be liable for damages should the reset software be found to be defective.
The final empty configuration will be reviewed and tested during a trial run of the start-up process in the Laboratory.
1.13 Goal of the Laboratory
The goal of the Laboratory is to ensure that the final live installation is an excellent fit to the business, that all staff are properly trained at go-live, that there are no surprises and that there is minimal well managed risk to the business on go-live.
1.14 Bill of Services
More details of the Laboratory are set out in the Bill of Services.