Are software testing cycle times testing your patience?
Technology decision-makers often find themselves between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, demands emanating from the boardroom put the emphasis on fast turnaround of projects and quantifiable results. Conversely, software development teams are (rightly) unwilling to take iterations or new projects into production without proper testing and quality assurance.
What could be seen as a slow production lifecycle can also be construed as a careful one, where no product gets in front of end-users without rigorous checking. The more painstaking release cycle may take longer – and, therefore, be more expensive – but the results mean a lower burden on customer-facing support, a better reputation, higher user retention, and a host of other positives.
It’s widely assumed that it’s very difficult to speed up software development without throwing at least some caution to the wind. But big savings can be made to software testing time and costs when critical software is extended, refined, or migrated by a vendor to a new version. Here are a couple of real-world examples of how that’s been achieved.
Capital savings on test cycles
For global financial giant Capital One, an overhaul of its middleware systems – absolutely central to its online credit application and customer service functions – meant it had to reconsider its existing software testing scripts and processes. It would have taken the team, under CTO Jackie Stringer, too long in the timescale dictated by decision-makers.
The emphasis placed on the accessibility of any testing platform by business users and technical staff meant that Andrew Wilkinson, Software Test Team Leader at Capital One, had to evaluate several new automation tools and run pilot studies of candidate platforms. In addition to ensuring the middleware itself performed to specification, there was a need for comprehensive user testing in later phases of the project across multiple business functions.
He and the IT Team chose Original Software’s test automation platform, which fulfilled the brief due to its speed, comprehensiveness, and intuitive GUI that line-of-business experts easily learned.
The company’s CI/CD pipeline allowed almost-daily builds of the middleware, so ‘following the threads’ to test every possible outcome on multiple affected systems could only be achieved by a powerful platform. Changes to end-users’ experience in public-facing web apps were automatically incorporated into the platform’s testing scripts, allowing a quicker cadence of code merges and testing rounds.
“Because [the] Self-Healing technology took all the pain out of updating [testing] scripts, it enabled us to quickly adapt scripts to the revised application and re-test immediately, re-using the work we had already put in,” Wilkinson said.
Capital One’s middleware refresh program benefited from a 75% reduction in testing cycle times, helping the project be delivered on time and in budget.
Mining, aggregating, and recycling data
At the core of enterprise-scale manufacturing and engineering, Infor M3, like most instances of large ERPs, is massively extended and attenuated by its users. Finnish global player Valmet needed to update its M3 instance, but the extent of the platform’s international deployment and its central position in the IT stack meant that a careful yet expedited approach was necessary. The company’s Global ERP Owner, Nadja Westen had scheduled three months of testing for the upgrade but achieved it in half the time, saving Valmet an estimated 4,000 hours.
Despite 2,000 Infor-based test cases to run in six countries, the integration between Original Software’s test management solution and the CI platform Jira meant that testers’ results fed straight into the existing developers’ ticket-based workflows.
“The tools from Original Software enable us to know exactly what each tester has done, and the recordings help us prepare for the future as well. We can use the results for producing training materials,” Westen said. The audit trail and documentation previously assembled by hand in Word and Excel documents is now available quickly in standardized formats, which means that compliance – a mainstay of Valmet’s ethos – is faster and more comprehensive.
The company’s plans for third-phase user acceptance testing will continue to use Original Software to run testing on the upgrade to Infor M3 in six countries and many user-facing applications that run from M3’s data core, including a Salesforce instance.
8 December 2023
8 December 2023
7 December 2023