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With the development process nearing completion, the IS division's QA process kicked into high gear. Ray Murphy, IS's QA engineer, interviewed members of the portal development team and reviewed the project's documentation to prepare a test strategy and scripts. While this was going on, the project team worked with EATS on the establishment of a test environment. This was no small task, because it required replicating at least part of the IS Domino e-mail directory, IS TeamRooms and discussion databases, and various permissions files. Once this was accomplished, the QA team initiated functional, systems, and performance testing. As testing uncovered problems, these were corrected, and regression testing followed. The QA process took approximately three weeks to complete; in late June 2002, the portal was certified for production.
Concurrently with system testing, the project team prepared for the portal's formal launch and release to the IS division. From the outset of these preparations, the project team and all those associated with the site's development viewed the portal as a potential catalyst for significant change. In their eyes, it would introduce new, untried services, like discussion databases, and a staff bio library. It would impose added rigor to intradivisional communications and document management. And it would call upon each member of the division to operate in a more integrated fashion as part of the larger IS community. Clearly, not everyone in IS had enrolled themselves in all these changes, nor was the PMO entirely prepared for the added work and responsibilities that would fall to that team. The launch effort would need to address the many different dimensions of these issues if the portal and its underlying KM processes were to be embraced by the greater IS team.
To begin, the project team initiated a marketing campaign. Members of the steering committee, who represented a cross section of IS, were asked at each milestone to talk up the project with their colleagues. As the site moved into production, the director of EO, accompanied by a panel drawn from the steering committee, provided a brief overview of the portal and its benefits to the entire division. Terms like knowledge management and business process reengineering did not enter into this presentation. Instead, the script addressed how the portal would add value to IS personnel in their day-to-day work. As a follow-up to these large sessions, the EO KM team met face-to-face with individual IS operating units for a more detailed tour and a more focused discussion of how the site might address the particular needs of that working group. Mouse pads bearing the portal home page and URL were distributed at these sessions. Additional marketing programs were planned throughout the first year of the portal's operation to promote use and the submission of content to the site.
Although the portal was designed to be intuitive to the end user, IS staff training and documentation were still important. EO viewed the departmental meetings as the project team's opportunity to deliver end-user training. The site itself includes a Web user's guide and a list of questions frequently asked of the Webmaster. Even so, the team anticipated that most users would learn about the site by exploring its functionality. To address individual problems and questions, the portal provides both e-mail and instant messenger links to the Webmaster. By contrast, power users (i.e., those users who are major content providers to the site) received formal training in Aptrix, as well as appropriate supporting documentation. Fortunately, given the choice of Aptrix, the platform looks and operates very much like other Domino services, such as e-mail and team rooms, making the training of power users that much easier.
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