Next, I showed him how to test and then pilot his changes with a single user in a production environment. Piloting a critical new or changed application (limiting the number of production users to a single user and monitoring the results) closely replicated the environment he worked in twenty years ago, in a much simpler programming world. When he learned that he could test for errors the old-fashioned way, with a single user, rather than live, where the program would affect hundreds of users, he quickly gained confidence. Pilot testing is crucial in testing and implementing key applications that can shut down the company and generate calls to the IT VP from top management.
Piloting your project implementation means testing it with a single lead user (pilot user), rather than going live and finding out that the program you just wrote or changed has stopped 3,000 cartons of critical shipments dead on the warehouse conveyor, and now the packers barcode -scanning the items into cartons must stop also.
The pilot user typically accesses the new code by using a pilot sign-on while using the existing production databases. This allows the programmer to focus on a key user for feedback about problems or for suggestions about the changed business process ”far more agreeable than being overwhelmed by hundreds or thousands of vocal users who cannot do their job anymore. These outraged users generally call the programmer after first calling their manager about this new IT problem.
Pilot production lets the programmer and his manager implement very complex and high-risk programming projects much more quickly and successfully. That s because the risk can be focused on one observable, competent end user, rather than on the entire user community. I will not implement a complex, high-risk, high visibility programming project without piloting it first.
Emulate the style, techniques, and general approach to programming that have worked for the best of your colleagues. Modeling yourself on a master will swiftly boost you and your career toward success.