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Involvement Of Stakeholders In Testing

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Active stakeholders or their representatives are people who are authorized to provide information about the system being built and who can have a say on the requirements, prioritization of work. Stakeholders are a vital part in a software project. They play an important role throughout the life of the project. Their continuous involvement is necessary in success of the IT projects. Without active involvement of the stakeholders in the building of the project, the project may not become successful. Different project methodologies have different types of involvement of the stakeholder. For example in agile development, Product Owner obtains complete understanding of the project from the stakeholders and tells to the team.

Involvement Of Stakeholders In Testing
Who Are Stakeholders?
In a software development process, the software systems are built, tested, maintained, enhanced and paid. All these activities involve a number of people in building the software. Each of these activities have different group of users working on it. The groups may have different interest, requirements for making the software. All these different group of people comprise stakeholders. Thus the role of stakeholders is the role of an architect in building the complete software. Therefore, we can define a stakeholder as an architect of a organisation, team or group having interest in making a product.

Most of the software development projects involve stakeholders from all the groups but some projects may not require active involvement of the stakeholders of all the activities. The organisation needs to maintain balance between the needs of the stakeholders groups. It is the responsibility of the organisation to prioritize their work according to the needs and if there are conflicts, the organisation should have well reasons to put their points. Also, the organisation should also be clever enough to be an architect itself and put its views properly so that those are considered.

Stakeholders are categorized as below:
Principals: These are the persons who buy our software
End Users: The group of people who work with the software system
Partners: These are the group of people who will make the software work in production environment
Insiders: These are people inside the organisation knowing how the team is working
Why it is important to have stakeholders?
Generally people are not good in explaining what type of product they want, in detail. But people can tell what they like and what they donít like when shown some prototype. If we present them with something, the stakeholder can give its feedback and with this feedback the organisation can make modifications in what they built to closely match the needs of the stakeholder. It means the organisation needs to work in a collaborative manner if it wants to make products which are actual needs of the software, then it must need to work closely and regularly with the customers. If following the traditional approaches, where the requirements are given in detail in the early phase of the project. The team may not produce what the stakeholder would want ideally, thus proving to be a bit risky.

How to work together with stakeholders?
In order to deliver a successful project the stakeholders and the organisations need to work collaboratively and effectively. They should be at the same level in their understanding. Some of the ways to work together with stakeholders are:
Understanding IT Skills: The managers and senior managers working with our organisation should understand the skills and technologies we are using, why we are using it and what impact it can have. They need to actively participate in daily development process of the project.
Timelines: The clients should be able to prioritize tasks as per the requirements and make decisions timely regarding the requirements and the scope of the project.
Operations and Support Staff: The operations and support staff should be well aware of the technologies and system we are using. Proper training should be provided to them. The operation staff should be proficient in installation of the system.
Find complete integration knowledge: Generally the software product are integrated with other systems like databases, Integration is very difficult and requires the help of the developers.
Train the maintenance team: The maintenance developers also need to be trained. If the software product needs to be handed completely or partially it needs to have professionals which are trained in maintenance of the system. The original developers are now set free. Not all the developers are now changed to the maintenance people but some are still involved to provide knowledge to the maintenance people.

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Involvement Of Stakeholders In Testing