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Getting Started

The process of test development and delivery can be seen as occurring in four phases, as shown below. The graphic shows these four as a linear progression, though as I elaborate their explanation, you'll see that they are interdependent and that the entire process is only roughly linear. While each phase is dependent on the phase that precedes it, it will also slightly modify some elements of the phase that precedes it

Analysis is the phase in which you begin deciding whether to use a performance test, and how it will be built and marketed. Here you construct ROI estimates and begin assessing the feasibility of the various delivery methods available. This is also the phase in which organizational political considerations tend to play the greatest part. (Click here for an elaboration.)

Design is the phase in which you conduct an evidence-based job/task analysis, build a test specification (with scoring rubrics), and construct a prototype of the performance test. (Click here for an elaboration.)

Development is the phase in which you build the majority of the test and begin testing delivery channels. (Click here for an elaboration.)

Delivery is the phase in which you roll out the test to your delivery channels, analyze the results, and reap the benefits of the performance test. This phase also include test maintenance. (Click here for an elaboration.)

Because performance testing is (to date) widely accepted only where human life is at stake, these phases have not always been followed in this order. Some organizations have started with elements of the design phase to develop a proof-of-concept test before attempting to calculate ROI. Some have, for business reasons, elected to use performance testing from the start and given detailed ROI analysis less weight. However, as we at the Performance Testing Council pool our experiences, we are constructing (ex post facto) a process that reduces the cost of development for new performance tests. We don't want our members to unnecessarily incur the same Research and Development (R&D) costs that someone else has paid.