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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS .net Autumn Release pulled in Technical; Originally Posted by vikpaw Out of interest, do all LAs / Support companies take part in Beta testing? You'd think ...
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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    Out of interest, do all LAs / Support companies take part in Beta testing? You'd think it was a must if they are supporting more than even one school.
    We tend to only do it if they're is something in the pre-release notes that interest us, such as FMS or those cool new features. The Beta doesn't always include everything from the final release either and we tend to only have our's\Capita training databases which we can test on. So it's not perfect.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    If i was with an LA i would probably insist they tested it on my data. In the end it's going to save them hassle supporting me later
    less calls from me = happier supportline monkey

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    If i was with an LA i would probably insist they tested it on my data. In the end it's going to save them hassle supporting me later
    less calls from me = happier supportline monkey
    I ain't got the time to backup 350+ schools SIMS and FMS databases, upload to our network, then restore, apply the update, then check them. Maybe if everyone was centrally hosted. If school wants to setup a test environment, I'm fine with that, but doing it all for them, that would be mega £££.

  4. #49

    creese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    Out of interest, do all LAs / Support companies take part in Beta testing? You'd think it was a must if they are supporting more than even one school.
    I wish we had the time and resources.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    I ain't got the time to backup 350+ schools SIMS and FMS databases, upload to our network, then restore, apply the update, then check them. Maybe if everyone was centrally hosted. If school wants to setup a test environment, I'm fine with that, but doing it all for them, that would be mega £££.
    Quote Originally Posted by creese View Post
    I wish we had the time and resources.
    ... and that is where little old me comes in (and a few others! ) with UAT!

    UAT is well worth the time and effort - especially when new functionality is being delivered by a future release that you are testing!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 29th November 2011 at 10:46 AM.

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    creese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    If i was with an LA i would probably insist they tested it on my data. In the end it's going to save them hassle supporting me later
    less calls from me = happier supportline monkey
    The problem there is that many of the problems do not show until someone runs the specific routine which has the problem. The chances of someone in a LA team spotting this is minimal. Not every problem occurs on every school either.

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    Just thinking out loud fellas, that's all.
    I would imagine a centrally hosted test facility. It doesn't take that long to restore and upgrade a set of data. I wouldn't say do all of them. But every little helps.
    If you look at the last couple of issues, they might have been caught if the testing net was cast a little wider. Homepage panels broken, pastoral structure glitch, ...
    I'm not having a go at LAs or trying to throw more work your way, you guys do a sterling job, just wondering if as a community there are better ways to help ourselves. UAT isn't necessarily the answer and not convenient for all! Saying Capita should do more vigorous testing, also isn't helping either though. It's the data that does the testing, not a person or establishment.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creese View Post
    The problem there is that many of the problems do not show until someone runs the specific routine which has the problem. The chances of someone in a LA team spotting this is minimal. Not every problem occurs on every school either.
    You hit the nail on the head there creese! The truth is that nobody will know if there is an issue or not until all 22,000 schools have updated! An individual error can occur in any school! Hence the school-specific patches!

    As I said earlier, if I had UATd this release (I actually attended UAT for SLG, to get a heads up on the the Homework Webpart!), then I would have noticed no problem whatsoever. I even ran a Spring Census Test after we upgraded to 7.142 before I knew that Fileset90 had been omitted!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 29th November 2011 at 12:08 PM.

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    It's real needle in haystack stuff. The fact it is taking all this time to fix proves it is not as simple as we would like to think it is.

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    My pastoral structure seems fine, and i've doctored it to create an admin tier, so even admin staff can be assigned a division to be reported on .

  11. #56

    creese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    My pastoral structure seems fine, and i've doctored it to create an admin tier, so even admin staff can be assigned a division to be reported on .
    That's the point, no amount of testing by you would have discovered the problem. Your data may be immune, unaffected or due for problems in the coming weeks.

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    Just glad my LA did not approve my Census in time............always seem to wait a couple of months these days after being stung for too many years applying the new releases as soon as they become available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by creese View Post
    That's the point, no amount of testing by you would have discovered the problem. Your data may be immune, unaffected or due for problems in the coming weeks.
    You're right. My point is that it took me less than an hour to get it on and running. I've been meaning to do it for ages, and now i know i'm not affected. If someone that is affected did the same, they would have found the flaw. Ditto when the homepages went wrong if an affected user had tested, it might have been found sooner.

    I'm sure from the testing that is done, loads of these issues come about and are fixed before we even notice, and there is not such a big deal made. If the needle is in a pile of 22,000 pieces of straw, the more we lift the more chance we have of finding any flaws.

    We don't necessarily need in depth testing just more varied testers. If the issue is buried deep in some obscure part of curriculum planner when accessed by a head of department, we will miss it, but if its a case of look at your pastoral structure, then we can all do that. As well as, try taking a register, run a report, enter data in a marksheet etc.

    I don't test sims that well, but if it's an FMS upgrade, i make them do lots of different tasks to make sure it is all going to work. Our fees are processed from sims into FMS and our payroll comes out. We don't want more than a months delay! And often, an upgrade might happen mid-month - v.scary. Even a month, when i only get around 8 days contact time, isn't a great deal to solve a big problem.

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    creese's Avatar
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    We have about 150 schools. If the failure on this was 3/1000 the odds are, none of our schools would be affected. I'm afraid we got caught too may times that we are not allowed to roll out, neither are we allowed to test. Perhaps if the schools paid more, we could employ someone to test more....

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    Update from SupportNet:-

    *** SIMS 2011 Autumn Release - Please Read 29/11/2011


    29/11/2011

    We are in the final stages of investigating the issues with the autumn release. Unfortunately it has proved more complex to fully investigate than we had anticipated.
    I will provide an update with more details by COB tomorrow at the latest.
    Regards,
    Jon



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