The City of Kavala as well as most peer organisations in Greece, plan quite heavy IT related investments , ranging from MIS systems replacement (implemented in obsolete and expensive technology) to technical systems of great complexity (e.g. GIS, CAD etc.) . In this context the suggested PIE (acceptance testing and verification) is of strategic importance for the Municipality, in order to ensure correct and complete systems supporting mission critical operations. The main motivation standing behind this PIE, stems from the observation, that a high percentage of IT related projects, following public Calls for Tenders, resulted in low level of users satisfaction, as they lacked specification clarity, user involvement at a very late stage and poor definition of procedures concerning functional and non functional requirements verification.
The objectives of this PIE proposal is to integrate into the development process of the Municipality of Kavala, robust methods & tools for conducting the Acceptance Testing and Verification & Validation phases of distributed, client/server, transaction oriented applications, connected with large databases of indexed images. These methods & supporting tools, shall be employed both for in-house development as well as in subcontractors' management, and shall cover functional and non functional requirements of such systems.
The AVE project shall be an experiment for the specification & conducting acceptance tests & verification procedures for systems delivered by third parties following public Call for Tenders. The experiment shall cover all related phases, from Call for Tenders write up ("rule of the game setting") down to the actual acceptance testing and systems verification. The experiment shall be conducted according to the guidelines defined by the Information Strategy Plan & Process Assessment study.
The baseline project (Human Resources Management) is considered as a most critical application for the Prime User and it encompasses a variety of technologies and characteristics (large database content in tabular and image forms, client/server architecture, distributed nature, GUIs, smart card integration etc.). Issues to be addressed are processes sequences, methodology support, functional & non-functional issues tackling, data correctness & completeness and standardisation as well as organisational and contracting issues.
EXPECTED IMPACT AND EXPERIENCE
The City of Kavala plans to invest very heavily over the next four years in IT. Protection of this investment can only be achieved by ensuring correct systems delivery . Given the past experience of user dissatisfaction, skyrocketing maintenance costs, frequent operations disruption, it became quite clear that a robust, well defined process, adequately supported by mature methodologies and state of the art software engineering tools, is the key issue. As the bulk of the software to be acquired will be contracted to third parties, acceptance testing & verification is considered amongst those being of principal importance. It should also be noted, that the experience gained and lessons learnt, are critical also, for a very big number of user organisations, sharing similar needs and concerns. Therefore, it is believed that a successful project and a well planned dissemination component, will result in a broad and deep impact in a whole class of IT users.