Pre-launch testing and

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I ran into this article today “Contractors describe scant pre-launch testing of U.S. healthcare site” and, politics aside, I can’t help but feel for the contractors involved.  In my 20+ year IT career, I’ve run into multiple projects where the timeline and budget get squeezed beyond recognition and the pre-launch testing phase becomes the final casualty.   Add to that a last minute scope change requiring “turning off anonymous browsing and requiring online visitors to create accounts before researching health plan information and determining their eligibility for federal subsidies to help pay premiums” (no small feat, I’m sure!) and I can see why the launch of has been fraught with such controversy.

It turns out that I feel so strongly about this topic that I even wrote a blog about pre-launch testing a few of years ago.  Though web technology has advanced since then (particularly in the mobile space), the basics are still true.  I think the key to preserving the integrity of the testing phase is to fully define the testing requirements before development even begins.  For example:

Please share your experience and recommendations with pre-launch testing in the comments!