With the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa almost a week underway, the soccer fans all around the World are talking about at least 2 things. That typical vuvuzela sound and the new Jabulani ball, saying it moves unpredictably, is difficult to handle and somehow the altitude of the World Cup stadiums also seem to be a contributing factor.
(Picture taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/warrenski/4143923059/ under a Creative Commons license)
Although the FIFA states that it hasn't received any official complaints, the end users don't seem to be very happy with this new ball.
This brings me to a comparison with IT management and testing. When you're in a situation where you're introducing a new product, in IT terms, introducing a new application, you would like to test all possible scenarios that your end users could be using and experiencing. However, that's a very time and resource intensive process to do for every application change or update. It's like getting ready for the big game but you have no game plan.
That's why a new approach has been developed. One that's based on the 80/20 rule. Testing 80% of the application will cost about 20% of the efforts. The remaining 20% of your application will not be tested before deployment, but monitored with a real user monitoring solution immediately after deployment. These tools track all user experiences, including error messages and the performance and availability metrics from an end user perspective. Should any anomaly occur, you would be able to repair it quickly so you and your end users can get back into the game.
These real user sessions can be easily converted into testing scripts, so the 80% of the application testing can be complimented with the remaining 20%.
Happy World Cup.