Chapter 6. Tips and Tools for Crunch Time: Managing the Dynamic
If you've been through a test project once or twice, you know that "crunch mode" is both hectic and confusing: facts are often cloudy, plans are in flux, and dependencies, once unclear, jump into sharp relief the moment they are not met. To some extent, the planning, preparation, and structured information gathering I've recommended in previous chapters can help you alleviate these problems. However, test execution is always a challenge, and you can't document your way out of whatever amount of chaos exists on the project, because it will by nature leak into the test project.
This chapter offers two new tools specifically geared toward managing the goat rodeos that can consume your life during test execution. One is a logistics database that tracks the locations, configurations, and test requirements for hardware, software, infrastructure, and staff. The other is a simple change management database that helps you respond to the inevitable course corrections, both smooth and jerky, that occur on any test project. First, though, let me offer some observations on crunch mode that might aid you in maintaining your professionalism and sanity during this high-pressure period.