A paper System Integration Test (Paper Sit or Simulated SIT) is in fact a role play in a facilitated environment in which the business processes are simulated end-to-end.
A paper SIT is a tool to:
- detect defects and inconsistencies between integrated systems at an early stage of a project;
- fully understand the new situation;
- start communication between all parties involved.
ICT projects facing a complex end-to-end aspect are very suitable for a paper SIT; e.g. when they are impacting business processes in multiple internal/external domains that vary in user types, hardware platforms, programming languages and in-house built software/vendor applications (intensive interfacing or SOA architecture). Also, in case of an international organization wide ERP migration a paper SIT can have significant benefits. Don’t do it, when the SOLL situation of a project is well-defined and clear to everyone and the scale – in terms of number of domains, end-to-end processes, interfaces and user types – is limited. A paper SIT will then be experienced as a bit overdone.
If you choose to execute a paper SIT, make sure you prepare it properly. Especially, when you consider that many people are needed, and they also often in waiting mode during execution. There is always a risk that progress stagnates. This is not cost effective and bad for the motivation of the participants. You, as a test manager, can act in these sessions as the moderator or more discretely as a “postman” walking the test paths. Literally!