Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ten Days of Testing

Starting tomorrow, I will undertake ten days of User Acceptance Testing of Alfresco RM 2.0, designed to manage an organization's electronic records. Products like these pave the way for a green, paperless office. I must know if it lives up to its claims before I actively promote it, and by dedicating these ten days I will build a list of recommendations and tips that will help business users implement with a minimum of fuss.

Implementation Enterprise Content Managment (ECM)/Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) can often exceed the cost of the product itself, as successful implementation depends on the business having a clear understanding of what it does and how work flows. There are frameworks to build, decisions on accessibility and security, and intelligent roll-out with plenty of hands-on training. You just can't take away a man's files without giving him a sensible replacement.

So let's reduce the fuss and make these products easy to implement.

I've picked ten critical features to test that are identified on both the DoD 5015.02-STD and MoReq standards. You can request a copy of my comparison matrix by popping me an e-mail.

Over ten days I will test the following features:
  1. Implement File Plans
  2. Declare and file - prevent subsequent changes (integrity of the record)
  3. Transfer Record Elements - Parse metadata elements from ingested data using GUI
  4. Transferring  -  documentation of transfer activities including system audits
  5. Destroying - deleting in a manner that prevents reconstruction
  6. Searching and Retrieving - including wild card and boolean searches
  7. Authorizations - only authorized individuals can view portions, edit file plan and schedule
  8. Schedule - create and edit schedule
  9. Schedule  - implementation up to disposal
  10. Schedule - freezing and unfreezing records
With each test I will declare a pass or fail, recommendations for the developers, RM community and business user, and lessons learned along the way. RIM professionals must remember that the end result must be a support to the business, rather than a barrier. Let's not allow our native passion for order blind us to the gutsy reality of daily use. Even if imperfect, it must be easy to use.