Deliverables Testing: Validating Form, Function and Success

Testing is essential to the success of any technology project. Despite the best technical plans and designs, problems, errors and bugs do occur. And, in the interests of all concerned, all reasonably evident problems should be uncovered and resolved long before a given deliverable is put "in production".  This article explores the various "testing options" available.  Read on for more.

Is Testing Worth the Effort?

Absolutely.  When done right, testing is worth every minute it takes.

When it comes to projects (and particularly IT projects), deliverables testing serves an essential purpose - to make sure that tangible project results function as planned and expected.  While the specifics will vary based on project and deliverable type, from a "big picture" perspective, deliverables testing serves four (4) primary goals:

  1. To verify that each project deliverable functions according to design.
  2. To verify that all identified operational requirements have been met.
  3. To uncover potential problems, bugs and errors that may only appear through structured testing.
  4. On a more strategic level, testing is used as a "proof of concept", to validate key goals, instill confidence and ensure that project objectives are being met through tangible action and verifiable testing. 

What do you need to know? Types of Testing Methods and Techniques

What testing methods will be used? That's a question with many possible answers - all relating to the specifics of the project, the types of deliverables, available resources and related capabilities.  But it all starts with an understanding of the available options. Considering these varying factors, deliverables-specific testing plans may in fact include one or more of the following elements:

  1. Automated Testing: Tests conducted with the use of software tools which complete a series of pre-defined, automated tests.
  2. Manual Testing: Tests conducted through manual steps and scripts (human intervention).
  3. Functional Testing: To validate operational functional and features specifications.
  4. Compatibility Testing: To validate compatibility with other existing systems.
  5. Integration Testing: To test individual components to determine whether they function as a unit (i.e. share data).
  6. Performance Testing: To validate compliance with performance requirements and specifications. In this capacity, performance testing requires load simulation to verify performance under "production-like" circumstances.
  7. Stress Testing: To validate the operational limits of a project deliverable according to load and capacity (i.e. how much can this system handle in terms of simultaneous users and transactions?), requiring load simulation.
  8. Regression Testing: To re-test a project deliverable after changes have been made to verify that problems have been solved, and to ensure that new problems have not been introduced.
  9. Conformance Testing: To validate whether the project deliverable conforms to documented requirements and specifications.
  10. Workflow Testing: To validate deliverables functionality and viability using actual end-user workflows (real-world procedures and circumstances) as a basis for testing.
  11. Ad-Hoc Testing: To validate deliverables functionality and viability using random, unscripted testing by end-users (i.e. to try to uncover the unexpected).
  12. Acceptance Testing: To verify whether the project deliverable meets pre-defined project acceptance criteria. Acceptance testing should take place only after initial testing is completed, and all technical problems and errors have been identified and resolved.

What do you need to know? Producing Testing Related Deliverables

It takes a deliverable to test a deliverable.  Testing deliverables are produced as part of the "testing process". In order to achieve testing goals and objectives, and produce expected results, the following types of deliverables are generally required as part of the planning and execution effort:

  • The Test Plan deliverable lays out a roadmap for the testing process, specifying overall goals, scope, test assumptions, logistics, risks, tasks and resource assignments.
  • The Test Specifications deliverable details the tests to be performed according to type, purpose, expected result, inclusions, exclusions and methodologies.
  • The Test Script deliverable provides a specific set of instructions to be executed for each element of the testing process. Test scripts can be automated (for use by software testing tools) or manual (to be executed by end-users or IT personnel as appropriate). In addition, test scripts should always define a clear process for recording results.

Each of these testing deliverables should be produced via standardized steps that account for needs analysis, data collection, draft production, review and input, finalization based on feedback, and formal stakeholder approval.  These steps must be scheduled, with roles and responsibilities allocated so that each deliverable can be produced in a timely manner.

What do you need to know? Testing as Part of the Project Management Process

Testing needs and requirements should be considered and identified at initiating stages, as part of the project definition process and approved (to be documented as part of the Project Statement of Work). As the project work effort is planned, testing needs must be aligned to that work effort considering the deliverables to be tested, the type of testing required, costs, timing, tasks and stakeholder responsibilities. Testing extent and complexity will have a great impact on project risk, cost, scheduling and the ability to deliver a useable end result with operational confidence. The success (or failure) of all testing practices should also be evaluated as part of any post project review. 

The Project Committee Planner and Template Kit

The Project Committee Planner and Template Kit

The Project Committee Planner and Template Kit provides time-saving steps and customizable templates to organize, operate and evaluate all types of project committees.  Available for instant download.

About Us: We're Right Track Associates, proprietors and publishers of multiple web sites including, Fast Track Manage, HOA Board List and more. We started in 2001 and have continued to grow our web site portfolio, Toolkit products, and related data services.   To learn more, start with our home page.

Learn more about the Service Strategy Toolkit from



Are you ready to lead your I.T. department to become more valued, relevant and responsive? If so, then you need the IT Service Strategy Toolkit from! The Toolkit teaches you how to "add value" to IT projects and services -- using our time-saving "service strategy process". It's ready for instant download, filled with 400+ pages of steps, guidelines, practices and templates. Find Out More

Featured Content

While you're here, don't forget to check out our collection of free templates, whitepapers and management infographics. Whitepapers and Templates Infographics

Popular Article Categories

You can find our most popular blog articles at the links below, organized by subject matter.


Project Fast Tracking

What is it?

Strategic "project fast tracking" is a streamlined project management process, specifically used to overcome the most common types of project obstacles, including insufficient time, resource shortages, budgetary deficiencies and stakeholder conflicts.


Part 1: What is Strategic Fast Tracking?

Part 2: Evaluating Projects for Fast-Track-Ability

Part 3: Pinpointing Project Priorities


Get an illustrated view of the fast tracking process in the "Step-by-Step to a Fast Tracked Project" infographic.

Tools and Templates:

Learn more about the Fast Track Project Toolkit

The Fast Track Project Toolkit provides the entire "fast tracking" methodology in one complete package, filled with how-to concepts, practices and templates. Available for instant download.

Articles, Tips & Offers Right to Your Inbox

Sign up for the newsletter and be the first to know about our latest blog articles, templates, white papers, infographics, and special offers.

We won't overload your inbox and we don't share or sell subscriber information. Just enter your email address below.