Tech Ed Alt, or Usability Improv
I’ve attended numerous SAP community get-togethers, from small local meet–ups to the big-time 4 star hotel and facilities, where one of my favorite pastimes is sitting down with developers to test new screens. The so-called usability testing is a two-way street, where the enterprise gets data points and the tester gets, well, non-material benefits. I’m not talking about the gifts/swag that might be proffered, I’m talking brain meshing.
At the Orlando Conference Center complex, the on-the-ground meeting location covered a handful of cubicles, dangly infrastructure and hardware bits, with associated team members to promote, take reservations, handle conflicts, and gather the non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). When close physical proximity happened without thinking about it, as many as 3 people would be in front of a screen or two. They (the developers) would have scripts and record actions on the systems in use but also take note and maybe even video the session to refer back to later if needed. Now, this time will be an online virtual session.
Concerning “NDAs” I will only post about the process of testing, not anything about what I might be able to test. As I’ve done before (see below).
A downside of doing testing in the middle of a large conference is the understanding that committing an hour (minimum) to one channel locks out any other activities which on larger agendas could be massive. So when I learned this opportunity will not be concurrent with the 2021 TechEd tracks, I could commit the time, as long as it fits my work-life balance; being as free as a freelancer lets me sleep in or roll out when the whim fits.
Here, I’d say stop by the main hall of the conference complex, but since we’re asynchronous again, the link is:
There are various categories that might at first seem like tollgates but look through the entire space to see if you’d feel expert enough in a particular application area to be influential about the future. If you’ve influenced a developer, or are a developer who’s been influenced, you could qualify. Check the available times; and check back later in case someone needed to drop out of a slot.
Besides the time around the end of November, there are sessions in December that align with the UK and Ireland User Group, and the sign-up page indicates “Testing is done in CET time, and is open to any of our customers and partners as longer as the timezone works for you.”
You should be an experienced tester, in my opinion, to best give feedback on application development. That doesn’t mean a complete novice would not be accepted, but the more experiences you can bring to bear the more helpful you could be.
You also should be prepared to sign a non-disclosure agreement and abide by the terms; it’s up to you whether you should get pre-authorization from your organization or if you have enough freedom to deal with these hurdles. It’s not like you’d be getting critical business insights because not every test leads to a product release.
What do you get back? The feeling of teamwork is probably the most important.
What do the developers get? Your unique perspective. And, if you can have fun at what you do, a good joke or even a bug spot.
“SAP S/4HANA Output Management: Output with Documents in Business Applications”
Prior quotes re usability:
I think I’m a good candidate for this, as I’m candid.
Enough of the bumps and grinds of the real world, what about those fascinating usability sessions SAP hosts, where you meet developers and throw them hanging curve balls?
Last word on the SAP Usability session: my co-volunteer and I could not agree who was to be the participant and who was the observer. We ended the impasse with a one-round contest of rock-paper-scissors. Seems like that translates universally.