U-Qasar is now being evaluated by three software companies. This is after the project plan we prepared long time ago. Somebody at these companies got interested on the idea of trying new SQA solutions and joined the research consortium.
When trying to evaluate whether, and why, these companies will continue using U-Qasar or not after the project ends, we are looking through the diffusion of innovations lens. Everett Rogers, who else, states that companies/clients go through several steps before they fully adopt an innovation: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. In our case, the three first ones happened 3 years ago. The fourth step, implementation, is only happening now. This wide gap between stages can become a problem for the tool adoption. Companies keep changing and the people who were there at the beginning may not be there anymore. Adoption of innovations depends a lot on what Rogers call the opinion leader. If that person is gone, the company and its employees will not feel the urge to adopt the innovation.
Fortunately, research projects, and U-Qasar in particular, keep the companies close to the development of the results. Thus, when it is time to implement the innovation, both sides of the fence (research and industry) are standing at the same point. However, the problem is that the fence is still separating them, and somebody needs to do the effort to climb to the other side. Normally, it is researchers who want to validate their latest results, and they will go to the companies and help them implement the solution.
One troubling point here is the disconnect between the client and the change agent. Rogers describes them very well. The change agent is usually a researcher (with a PhD!) who has a complete different mental scheme than the client. Rogers mentions the role of the aide, or somebody that can link both cultures if the innovation is to be adopted.
Another troubling point is the fact the client may lack motivation: they know it is going to happen but they cannot be bothered. In research projects clients/companies have to still be persuaded, but also accommodated. The project results have to be inline with them. In U-Qasar, all members of the consortium have defined the requirements of the platform and the methodology, and, specially the companies, the test cases to find out whether U-Qasar is ready or not.
It is only 2 months before the end of the project , and we have still a lot to learn from the real implementation of U-Qasar. Good thing is that soon we will be ready to share with you the results. Meanwhile you can check the screencasts of the U-Qasar that we have produced.