On-Premise (Self hosted) and Cloud Ivanti Neurons, Ivanti Service Manager (ITSM), and Ivanti Asset Manager (ITAM) customers have 3 tenants (environments) that I like to call the “Holy Trinity”.
STG – Stage Environment for Development and System Testing by the Ivanti Consultant / Administrator only
UAT – User Acceptance Testing Environment for End User validation of business requirements by the UAT Test Team
PROD – Production Environment
Any configuration changes to Ivanti Neurons ITSM/ITAM should always follow the SDLC (System Development Life Cycle), that is development & system testing in Stage, then push to UAT for End User Acceptance Testing, and finally upon UAT Sign-Off push the changes to PRODUCTION.
Ivanti HEAT ISM Podcastcovers popular Ivanti Service Manager (HEAT ISM), SDLC, ITSM, ITAM, and ESM Topics and is available on Anchor, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple iTunes, Breaker Audio, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, Listen Notes, and of course via RSS Feed
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LONDON – April 27, 2021 – PRLog — “Podcasts are a great medium to share information. Podcasts are quick and easy to create, powerful, and also convenient to listen to on the morning commute, lunch break, or while travelling. Plus you can download Podcasts for offline listening.
I decided to create the Ivanti HEAT ISM Podcast as an extension to my Ivanti HEAT ITSM Blog as podcasts are more powerful than a blog entry and allow me to quickly share relevant Ivanti HEAT ISM Information,” says Gregor Anton, a former Kifinti Solutions Consultant.
Gregor is a unique and distinctive authority in the Enterprise Service Management space with his consulting and development experience and extensive insight to best practices going back to 1996 with the HEAT and now Ivanti Service Manager (ISM) and Ivanti Asset Manager (IAM) products.
Providing HEAT ITSM Best Practices and now Ivanti Best Practices, with his tried, tested, and true implementations, and upgrades, Gregor now focuses on his company, a19 Consulting, his a19 Ivanti Best Practices System, a19 Ivanti Mobile Applications (Android, iOS), Ivanti ITSM Blog, and now Ivanti HEAT ISM Podcast.
Gregor has been developing, streamlining, and implementing best practices and latest solutions for fortune 500 companies and Frontrange Business Partners (Change Control, Avante Solutions, Kifinti Solutions) and Ivanti Business Partners (Kifinti Solutions, DDS IT), worldwide. The testimonials speak for themselves.
The ITxM Space (ITSM, IT Service Management, ITAM, IT Asset Management) has never been more exciting, as is the transformation to ESM (Enterprise Service Management).
Are you getting the most out of your Ivanti Implementation? You are NOT. GUARANTEED. Not until you contact a19 Consulting to take your Ivanti Implementation to the next level!
The UAT Test Scripts are owned by the Customer, this is a best practice as the intended use for the UAT Test Scripts is to validate business requirements, which should be aligned to the customer’s operating procedures. The consultant is external and does not own the business process, operating procedures, or business requirements.
The HEAT Consultant owns the Solution DesignDocumentation and System Test Scripts.
Keep in mind that the UAT Test Scripts are not training guides to the system, but rather steps to validate the business requirements by the owning team. It is up to the owners of the scripts, to maintain the scripts and word the steps in a way that is meaningful to their users.
Are UAT Test Scripts considered Training Material? No. UAT Test Scripts could form a basis for Training Material, however Software has come a long way and the old ways of creating extensive training materials with step by step instructions and days of classroom training are in the past. Web applications nowadays are intuitive and require very little training. Albeit there is always a learning curve for any new application. If more detailed training materials are needed, over and above the training videos and workshop recordings provided by the HEAT Consultant, then a best practice is to have the customer’s training lead or knowledge manager to work with the consultant to tailor customer specific training materials.
Going back to the Analogy used in my blog post “Common UAT Pitfalls“, that of test-driving a car. You as the customer are ultimately responsible for determining the best vehicle make, type, and test driving (UAT Testing) it with your set of criteria. You never want to rely on the, potentially biased, dealership (Consultancy) to tell you what to test-drive. The dealership may give you some tips as to what road to use, just as the HEAT Consultant provides you with some sample UAT Test Scripts, but ultimately the customer is the decision maker and responsible for making the purchases and test-driving before you sign on the dotted line. So be sure to take the system for more than just 1 test-drive and test thoroughly with all conditions and criteria you require.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is where some Ivanti HEAT ISM Projects tends to fall apart. Today I will cover the most common UAT Pitfalls, recommendations, and best practices to put your Ivanti HEAT Project back on track!
First and foremost you want to do a review of where the HEAT Implementation Project is at. The typical implementation milestones such as Scope of Work, Requirements Gathering, Solution Design, Prototype, and Business Requirements Sign-Off and/or Prototype Sign-Off have been met. That alone should give the customer confidence. And if it doesn’t, then now is a good time to re-iterate all the successes and milestones met.
Drawing from and relating to previous implementations at the same customer site also gives perspective, for example, if several UAT Test Teams have completed their UAT Test Scripts within 5 days and one team is struggling and taking weeks on in, then that is worth sharing to the struggling team and having other UAT Teams share their experiences and successes.
Try to use analogies wherever possible to explain and clarify where things are at. I like using the analogy of purchasing a car. The customer has requirements, such as family of 4, active life style, living in a 4 season climate, with a medium size budget. The UAT Test Scripts are the test drive. The family is the UAT Team. The consultant wears hats of the sales person and mechanic. Ultimately the family needs to go for a test drive , mom or dad are the ultimate decision makers and lead (UAT Lead) the family, perhaps with their oldest child (the UAT Lead), and all aspects of the requirements are discussed with the sales person and perhaps the mechanic (consultant). The sales person (Consultant) gives some advice on what route to take (sample UAT Test Scripts), and helpful advice as to how the car handles and what features the car has. Ultimately though the Customer needs to test drive the vehicle. Get in, familiarize yourself with the control, adjust the mirrors, seat, and so on. Not unlike familiarizing yourself with the new HEAT System and/or features. And then you take the vehicle for a spin, on the highway, on a city road, on rough terrain, in a parking lot to practice emergency braking, parallel parking, check the trunk, storage space, and all aspects of the day-to-day use of the vehicle (the UAT Test Scripts) and then comes back to the Salesperson with questions. It is very seldom that after carefully studying the market and available vehicles that the customer will come back saying the car is undriveable. So why is it that some User Acceptance Testing sessions go haywire? Keep Reading!
Not having UAT Test Scripts This by far is the biggest issue that can de-rail HEAT Projects. Validation of Business Requirements is essential, as is a proper UAT Test Plan. UAT Test Scripts are a must have to achieve Implementation Success! Who owns the UAT Test Scripts? The customer. The consultant owns the System Test Scripts and Solution Design. Business Processes, Standard Operating Procedures, Business Requirements, and validation of business requirements (UAT) are owned by the customer. Hence that’s why the consultant does not own the test scripts. Simply put, if you are purchasing a car, you typically have a checklist of requirements that you came up with, not the sales person. You don’t walk unprepared into a car dealership and then sign-off after reading the pamphlet. Do your due diligence!
Not following UAT Test Scripts Having UAT Test Scripts is a step in the right direction, however execution is key. UAT scripts must be followed to ensure you’re validating business requirements, and the UAT Lead must work closely with the UAT Test team to ensure team members understand what is expected and asking them why they aren’t following a proven process? When you walk into the car dealership, you don’t just start up the car and say ok I’ll take it. You go for a test drive.
Not following the UAT Support Structure As with any process or procedure, it is important to understand the support structure. The UAT Team Members must know who to turn to when there are questions or issues. The UAT Lead is responsible for coordinating UAT Test Scripts with the Team and ensuring Team Members know what is expected. In the event of questions, the UAT Lead should channel that question to the correct individual, if the UAT lead is unable to answer. Note that T.ogether E.veryone A.chieves M.ore, so be sure to have regular UAT Team Meetings where the UAT Team Members can review their finding s and ask for support (HEAT How-To, Procedural, etc) amongst the TEAM and with the UAT Lead and getting direction from the Decision Maker.
When you purchase a car as a family, then everyone gets a chance to participate in the test-drive, unless of course the kids are toddlers, but even then you need to include them in the test-drive, and strap them into the baby-seat to see if it is up to your requirements. So when family members identify an issue, it goes to the parent. Ultimately it’s the parents that sign off, make and own the decision.
No Collaboration Some UAT Testers tend to work in silos, creating a list of all the problems the find whereas the best practice is to encourage collaboration, as per the above support structure, and emphasize solutions, not problems.
If your team insists of creating a separate list of problems in outdated tools such as Word, Excel, Notepad, or handwritten, then it’s time to re-emphasize the importance of collaboration and discussing the issues at the next UAT Team Meeting rather than letting the frustrating build up.
When the family members decide to raise problems at every turn of the test-drive, then it’s time to have a family meeting and address the concerns. Is it really a problem with the vehicle? Is there something else going on? Is there some confusion around an aspect of the vehicle?
No Internal Meetings One of the best practices for UAT is to ensure you have regular standup UAT meetings, daily at first, until you have momentum and are able to move to weekly. These meetings are essential for collaboration and ensuring everyone is working together to find solutions, not problems. Not unlike family meetings, the parents need to be on the same page and the family deserves to know what’s going on and have some input on the decision and test drive results.
Learning Curve Any new software product or major feature has a learning curve. HEAT is no different. Moving from Excel to HEAT ISM, even moving from HEAT Classic to HEAT ISM has a learning curve, as do major functionality enhancements to HEAT. Without the support structure, collaboration, internal meetings, that that learning curve can be detrimental. It is important that any issues, no matter how big or small or channeled to the UAT Lead and/or Training Lead. If needed, the UAT/Training Lead should make a list of questions for the HEAT Consultant so that areas requiring assistance are addressed. Tip: This is where the a19 UAT Test Scripts Module comes in, by entering Comments for the consultant.
When you’re test-driving a vehicle, there is a leaning curve too, so what do you do, first you do a visual inspection around the car, then inside inspection, check the side mirrors, rear view mirror, familiarize yourself with the control, adjust the seat, and then get familiar with how the car handles. Just like with any new HEAT System or new Ivanti Service/Asset Manager features. It’s quite intuitive. Of course unless you’ve never driven a car or never even used a PC or Google. Then the learning curve will be harder and you need some basic training.
Terminology When implementing a new system, there often is new terminology or a change in terminology, be it technical or business related. You’ve made it this far, so any new terminology has without a doubt been covered in the many workshops, design sessions, prototype reviews, and at sign-off.
Any questions about terminology should be logged by the UAT Lead, reviewed with the Decision Maker, and if needed, reviewed with the HEAT ISM Consultant. Often it’s just simple changes in terminology, like gas tank or fuel tank. Trunk or boot of the car. If you haven’t heard one term before well then you don’t raise that as a flag and stop driving the car and say it’s unusable. You just ask for clarification and keep on plugging away. It’s not the end of the world, but if you’re confused then raise your hand and talk to the UAT Lead.
Resistance to Change Change is inevitable. The only constant is change. Yet it’s human instinct to resist change. Change needs to be enforced by the Decision Maker and supported by the UAT Lead. Sometimes the best answer is to re-emphasize “the new way of doing things” and gradually over the time, users will adapt. Like when you purchase an SUV because it fits all the business requirements but many family members really had their heart set on a Sports Car or family members were used to the old gas guzzling family car that had lots of good memories, was no longer economical and the family had outgrown.
Not following or understanding business process/procedure The key to remember is that the Business drives Technology, and not the other way around. Focus needs to be on the business requirements and operating procedures. Be sure to seek guidance from the Decision Maker if any business operating procedures are unclear. When you’re test driving a car, then you test various aspects of your day-to-day use of the car. Highway driving, city driving, off-road, parking, etc. Everyone on the UAT Test Team (participants) should be well acquainted with their role. New drivers will need more help than others.
Not understanding the UAT Test Script Some UAT Testers might find UAT Test Scripts hard to follow. Remember these scripts are built by the decision maker and/or UAT Lead, so be sure to raise any questions and make note of any improvements to the UAT Test Scripts. UAT Test Scripts aren’t written in stone and can be updated as needed. Some UAT Test Scripts need no explanation at all, while others may require explanation of a standard operating procedure, steps to take, and input date. If you take a car for a test drive and milli-vanilli decide to do emergency braking on the highway, well that’s going to shock and confuse everyone. So make sure you are clear on what and why you’re testing.
Not having UAT Test Data While you may get away with using milli-vanilli data (arbitrary data), the best practice is to always use real data and examples from your existing system, whether that system is a sophisticated computer system, excel, or hand written artifacts. You will want to have real life data available that accurately reflects the type of input the tester will be using in day-to-day operations. Simple put, if you’re replacing your Helpdesk Ticket System, use ticket data. If you’re replacing sales order, use sample sales orders. Similar to regression testing, put your old system on the left hand side and the new system on the right hand side and then go through the motions in your old system and replicate in the new system. When you’re test-driving a car, your test data is your current way of doing things, plus some artifacts such as the oversized golf clubs or family bikes or skis that need you need to make sure fit.
Focusing on nice-to-haves versus MUST-HAVES The key intention of UAT is to validate business requirements (must-have-requirements), not to minimize the number of clicks, or nit-pick UI Design. There is always room for UI Improvement (nice-to-have requests) and that time is after UAT is complete and business requirements have been signed off. This tends to be where some UAT Testers get stuck, focusing on the window dressing instead of the architecture and foundation. When you purchase a car, the accessories are just that. Sure the super expensive surround sound is nice, but is it needed? Are the fuzzy dice, bumper stickers, upgraded paint job, and fancy wheel covers really imperative when conducting road test?
Training Material Keep in mind that the UAT Test Scripts are not training guides to the system, but rather steps to validate the business requirements by the owning team. It is up to the owners of the scripts, to maintain the scripts and word the steps in a way that is meaningful to their users.
Software has come a long way and the old ways of creating extensive training materials with step by step instructions and days of classroom training are in the past. Web applications nowadays are intuitive and require very little training. Albeit there is always a learning curve for any new application.
If more detailed training materials are needed, over and above the training videos provided by the HEAT Consultant, and workshop recordings of all HEAT Project Sessions to date, then a best practice is to have the customer’s training lead or knowledge manager to work with the HEAT Admin to clarify and if needed, work with the HEAT consultant to tailor customer specific training videos.
However, that shouldn’t stop UAT testing. As always keep moving forward and test what you can, collaborate with your team, and ask for help from the UAT Lead, who can always get help with HEAT specific functionality question from the HEAT Admin.
More often then not, it’s just a matter of getting used to the new way of doing things, reading between the lines, and trust that the most important interface, the chair to keyboard interface, will figure it out.
It’s not unlike getting used to a new card that you’re test driving, it will handle differently then what you’re used to, the gas tank may be called fuel tank and placed on the opposite side of what you’re used to, but doesn’t stop you from the road test. You continue as needed and trust that you will figure out the changes. Owner manuals are time consuming to read, hardly every read, and just collect dust in the glove compartment. A few questions, some help from others, from the experienced drivers, and voila you are mastering the road test in no time.
Waiting until the final hour to ask for help Some implementations tend to go very smooth while others tend to stagnate with the UAT Team either not testing, focusing on nice-to-haves versus validating must-have requirements, and any combination of the above pitfalls, and then ultimately raising a red flag out of the blue with a long list of issues, that could have been easily addressed as per the above recommendations and best practices.
You don’t wait until the day of the paper signing to mention that rattling noise or performance issue during the test-drive, you mention it right here and then. But it can happen, and if it does, then you go for another test drive and move forward!
Gaps Although technically not a pitfall the UAT Team might stop testing all together or raise flags when gaps are identified. Ironically Gap Analysis is the intention of UAT, to validate the Business Requirements and identify any show stoppers (gaps). When a gap is identified, it should be raised to the UAT Lead to verify, and if confirmed, reviewed with the decision maker, to prioritize. Showstopper versus implement-later versus nice-to-have. For example, that ski-rack that you need, and isn’t available. Is that a show stopper? If it’s the middle of summer and you can wait until December? Not having 4 wheel drive for country roads in winter conditions for a work truck could be a major gap. And you know what we do with gaps right, we address them, and fill them. Such as ask for the 4 wheel drive model. However make sure you adequately prioritize gaps and just focus on needs, not wants.
In summary, the best practice for Ivanti HEAT ISM UAT is to ensure that UAT Support Structure is followed, UAT Test Scripts are actively used and maintained, real test data is used from your existing system, and the team looks for solutions, not problems, collaborates regularly, and focuses on must-have versus nice to haves, and moving forward with the new way of doing things, realizing there is a learning curve, and the decision makers have signed-off after many workshops, prototypes, and discussions to move ahead and need you to validate that the day-to-day requirements have been met.
It’s not unlike test-driving a new car you want to purchase. You take it for a spin, and take it through the motions of your day-to-day activities. Parking, driving on the highway, check the storage space, handling, ask your significant others opinion, collaborate on your findings, and then focus on must-haves. The nice-to-haves like the fuzzy dice on the rear-view mirror aren’t important. Those you can get to later, after you did some emergency braking, speed tests, and the likes and find the new car is up to snuff. Sure, you need to get used to how it drives, there is a learning curve to any new car. And if the ski rack you want isn’t available now, in mid-summer, well no biggie, not the end of the world. Also rest assured that the decision makers have done their research, kicked the tires, and had many discussions with the dealership to make sure it’s the right fit. And of course the dealership is committed to address any reasonable concerns or issues.
One of the biggest issues with writingUAT test cases, is knowing where to start and insisting on building your test script around the software. The fact is, you do not need access to Ivanti Service Manager (ISM, powered by HEAT IT Service Management) and it is actually encouraged not to use ISM at all when devising UAT Test Scripts.
Writing UAT Test Scripts for ISM HEAT is not unlike writing a letter to a long lost friend. At first you don’t know where to start, the first few words are tough to get out. But as you start writing, and you focus on the subject matter, the words turn into sentences, paragraphs, and pages.
Same goes for UAT Test Cases. Start simple, and remember, it’s about defining test cases for day-to-day job functions, not system testing of software, features, or functionality.
You should focus on:
Test Script Case Subject | What are we validating?
Test Script Case Details | Optional if you need to expand on the subject at hand
Subject Matter Experts | Who is validating?
Input Steps | What are the steps, think SOP, that testers need to take to carry out the test
Input Data | Sample test data and supporting artifacts
Expected Results | What is the expected output?
For example, if you were to write use cases for a kitchen, you would make a list of all the use cases (criteria if you will), such as Making Breakfast, Making Lunch, Coffee, Washing Dishes, etc. You don’t need to have a kitchen, and you don’t need to cook an omelette to document a use case for breakfast. All you need to do is visualize the steps, intended input, and expected results. High level, bullet form. Anything more becomes training documentation.
In this Use Case example, steps would be prepare ingredients, follow recipe, cook, season to taste, and eat. Input would be your ingredients, output is an omelette. The case steps may reference a combination of training materials (how to crack eggs, mix ingredients, recipe steps if you will) and standard operating procedures, aka SOPs (using the stove, properly food handling, storage, etc). Training materials and SOPs are important references, however separate from UAT Test Script Cases.
As you can see, UAT Test Cases should be simple, high level, and do not require ISM HEAT access, and shouldn’t be confused with Training Materials or SOPs. You should consult Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), the end users, to ensure you have covered all the possible scenarios. In this example, this would be the chef. In the real world this could be the Service Desk Manager, Service Desk Analyst Lead, Storage Techs for Asset Scanning and Storage Management, Procurement Lead for Accounting, Purchase Order related cases, and so on.
Last but not least, your focus should be on Test Case Scenarios, not features, functionality, or software. That’s System testing. We’re not testing the recipe or stove’s every button and dial. We are constructing high level use cases and scenarios, of day-to-day operations.
Software asset management (SAM) is a business practice that involves managing and optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal of software applications within an organization.
Ivanti Asset Manager
Ivanti Asset Manager (IAM) is a much talked about “new” product that was released with ITxM 2018.3 and actively promoted with ITxM 2019.1.
ITxM 2019 in fact consists of Ivanti Service Manager (ISM) and Ivanti Asset Manager (IAM).
Ivanti Asset Manager has been around for a while and Ivanti Service Manager, formerly known as HEAT, has done Asset Management since its early HEAT for Windows days in the 1990’s.
Software Asset Management followed a little later with the HEAT ITSM using Software Inventory and Software Product Configuration Items (CI).
To someone new to ISM/IAM the SAM implementation looks like something of a “Frankenstein hodge podge”. There is a combination of Legacy, DSM, and IAM business objects, and relationships. That is by design. Upgrades from HEAT SM, DSM, and ISM to IAM vary, as do discovery tools and sources, plural, (more on that on a future post) and so do requirements as per business processes and standard operating procedures (SOP).
Getting Started with SAM
Strategy. Architecture. Processes. There really is not quick and easy way to just “install”SAM. Careful consideration, planning, and data analysis is required to determine where you are today, where you want to go, and the steps to take you there. While there are some common practices and implementation methods, every organization has variances that must be considered, carefully. What are your sources? What data are you capturing, where and how? What processes are manual versus automated. How are you tracking your licenses and entitlements today, what details, and at what level. Vendors, Manufacturers, Versions, Features, License Keys, etc. What does you procurement process look like? Alerts, renewal reminders? It’s best you start simple with data analysis, process analysis, document workflows, processes, entity relationships (ERD), and build a proof of concept, followed by a prototype to validate each step of the process.
If your Software Asset Management really is a simple slam-dunk, then all of the above steps will be very quick, but I can almost certainly guarantee you from experience that there are always variances. The devil is in the details as you say. And usually with the most complex and expensive software titles and products.
Blackout, is a point in time in the development process when a system becomes unavailable (off-line) by design. The term comes from Electricity “blackouts”when there is a complete electric shut down.
A best practice is to take the UAT system off-line when UAT is undergoing maintenance or configuration in preparation for End User Acceptance testing. This is to prevent any unauthorized access by end users that might want to start testing the system before it’s ready, which is never a good idea. After all, you don’t call the building inspector until you’re up to code, right? Leaving UAT available during configuration can be disastrous. Don’t make this rookie ISM mistake, you will thank me later!
Contact me to streamline your asset scanning and overall asset management operating procedures
Note: Enhancement requests have been made to include scanning ability for android smart devices (smartphone, tablet) with APP. There is a workaround for using android smart devices, contact me to find out more.
IAM Asset Scanner UI
IAM Asset Scanner Role Functionality
The Out-of-the-box (OOTB) functionality allows for scanning bar codes and looking up Asset Tags, creating and adding assets, with Asset Type, Sub Type, Asset Name, Serial Number, Location, Assigned Model, and Manufacturer. The “Scan Log” is then attached to the new/updated Configuration Item (CI, now Asset)
a19 Consulting has taken the asset scanner to the next level customized the Asset Scanner UI with an asset scanning wizard that after scanning an asset tag walks you through creating a new asset orupdating an asset, plus the ability to scan packing slips for procurement, with pictures of the packing slips, and 1 or more Assets (CI’s) attached to the packing slips, which roll up into the Purchase Order and Invoices for reconciliation.
Roles & Permissions have been become more complex with the Ivanti Asset Manager release. There are a few key roles like Asset Scanner, Storage Managers and Procurement Manager that need to be considered.
CRUD – Create Read Update Delete
A CRUD is an acronym for Create Read Update Delete, the basic four functions for record storage.
Notice that the Asset Admin and Asset Manager Roles are left off by design, as the focus for existing Ivanti Service Manager implementations are the SDM, SDA roles and Asset Admin/Manager roles typically introduce unnecessary complexity.
a19 Consulting – Best Practice System – Tip
Never Ever Delete – use a status value or hide checkbox
Limit Access – add more access as needed; less is more!
K.I.S.S.– Keep It Simple Smart people
Review during UAT – It is recommended to review the CRUD during UAT as core T.E.A.M. members will have had an opportunity to use the system and get familiar with the workspaces and their relationships. Furthermore Record and Field Level access permissions by Role, Team, Organizational Unit, or other criteria can be determined at that time.
Code Freeze, aka Brownout, is a point in time in the development process after which any and all configuration changes must be coordinated with the lead consultant to mitigate risk of conflicting changes and new defects.
The term comes from Electricity “brownouts”, a partial, temporary reduction in total system capacity, which results in the dimming experienced by incandescent lighting when the voltage sags
A best practice is to create an ISM Announcement, Alert, and Notification for ISM Administrators, as well as change the logo of yourSTG DEV tenant, as well as change the PROD logo for the Administrator, Admin Level 2, and Validation List Manager roles. (Not familiar with Admin L2 and Validation List Manager? Contact me for details.)