The Number of Test Scenarios Illustrates How Complex Your Business Rules Are

During the process of implementing a new AMS, one of the steps you’ll take is creating and testing scenarios for different functionality within the system. For example, what will the online join process consist of? What will the customer or member experience when they login to join or renew? And what are the different potential variations to these scenarios (i.e., what are the different “paths” a member or potential member can take when joining or renewing)?

The higher the number of potential scenarios for a given functionality, the more complex your business rules are. And the more complex your rules, the more difficult it is to manage your data. And when your rules are complex, you’re making it more difficult for your members and potential members to join and renew.

For example, suppose your membership rules are simply “choose a member type, pay the dues, and you’re a member.” In this scenario, you would have to test for each member type, and that’s it.

But now suppose you add three options during the join process, e.g., choose an optional chapter, choose an optional digital subscription, choose to make a donation. Now you’ve got to test for each member type AND for each of these options, alone and together. Suddenly the testing is more complex, as is the data management.

I once had a client who had 89 test scenarios for membership alone. Eighty nine! This created tremendous challenges for staff and member alike!

So as you develop your testing scenarios, look at how many you have to develop in order to test thoroughly. The more scenarios you have, the more complex your rules are. See what you can do to simplify them.

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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