One of the most important roles staff will play during this project is acceptance testing of the site. Testing will help staff become more comfortable with the tool and ensure that the public is getting the right information.  More testing now means fewer change requests later.  

Tips:

  1. Use a shared document so all tests are kept in one place. Your project manager will provide you with a template that you can use. Log as many details as you can.
  2. Use existing applications to verify that the results are the same. Or, as people come into City Hall, use the system to input their information.

Testing the Zoning Portal

We recommend two strategies for testing the zoning portal:

  1. Test popular business types within your City.
  2. As people come to the planning counter, run their inquiry through the system. 

As you find changes that need to be made, log them to the spreadsheet.  We are particularly interested in:

  • Search terms without results
  • Incorrect permissions
  • Zones not appearing as expected 
  • Additional footnotes/secondary questions needed

OpenCounter staff will create columns to track which corrective actions were taken, when, and by whom.

Testing the Business Portal

To ensure that permits and fees are configured correctly, we encourage staff to test by entering recent applications submitted via the City's current application system. Alternatively, some cities have a fee estimator that uses given certain variables. Check that the permits triggered in OpenCounter are the same as the current system, and that the fees are equal.

Let OpenCounter staff know of any discrepancies using the testing spreadsheet provided. If you are reporting using another format, please include all of the following information. The more precise you can be about an issue, the faster we'll be able to fix it.

Project ID. In the URL bar, your application will have a unique ID, which always comes after the text "projects/" in the URL. In the case depicted below, the ID is 22866.

What incorrect behavior is happening. The most common issues that come up when testing are: a fee or permit is not showing up when it should be, or the amount of a fee is not calculating correctly. Let us know exactly which Permit or Fee are incorrect.

What the correct behavior should be, and why. If a permit is not showing up, but it should be, indicate why it should be showing up (e.g. selecting an addition should have triggered a building permit). If a fee is calculating incorrectly, tell us what the correct dollar amount should be and if possible, reference the correct formula.

By being precise about the location of the incorrect values and what the correct values should be, we'll be better able to locate and trace the source of any issues that arise during testing.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

Goal: SMEs should be able to verify that the fees for their section are accurate and that all the information they are looking for has been asked. Generally, "Yes" responses will trigger additional questions and help to determine fees. Subject matter experts should respond "Yes" to the questions relevant to their area of expertise.

  • Switching the scope of work between new construction, addition, and tenant improvements will reveal different pathways through the system.
  • Answering "Yes" to different types of work will also trigger new flows and fees.

Timeline

Once configuration is complete, it usually takes several weeks for cities to test. During this time, OpenCounter staff will monitor the spreadsheets weekly and make corrections as possible, or if needed, follow-up with additional questions for staff.

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