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.
“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”
“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”
Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan
“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”
Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance