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TEKsystems guided a niche financial provider through an automated testing initiative, presenting a customized and flexible solution that can evolve as the organization matures.
The client, recently designated as systemically important to the U.S. financial market, is the leading commodities derivatives clearing organization and serves more than 100 broker-dealers, U.S. futures commission merchants and foreign securities firms. The client’s annual volume for contracts was nearly five billion last year.
The fast pace of technology and the increasing complexity of regulation have driven an unparalleled amount of change in business and the IT systems that support it. Business models must evolve to help drive profit and stand up to increased government scrutiny.
As new systems are acquired, modified or retired, testing is required to compare expected and actual results. Manual testing of work flows and system processing is time-intensive, costly and can potentially lead to increased human errors.
Test automation offers a solution. Automation allows high risk test cases to be executed repeatedly, cost effectively and without human intervention. Organizations that desire to automate testing must evaluate the scope of their testing needs to include business priority, data volume, complexity and technical feasibility. Industries such as IT or finance, characterized by high volumes of data running through highly technical systems, often turn to automation to optimize processes and aid management in decision making.
Given their previous attempt at automated testing, the client wanted a hands-on solution to enable them to take more ownership of the engagement and to ultimately own the process. Based on this need, TEKsystems suggested an Agile approach that would drive communication, collaboration and continuous feedback. Although the client traditionally utilized a Waterfall approach to project management, they embraced the Agile methodology.
In addition to leveraging the Agile methodology, TEKsystems’ delivery manager drove PMBOK® standards throughout the engagement, ushering the project through a series of five development stages: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.
TEKsystems conducted a six-week analysis of the client’s technical and functional requirements as well as reviewed their existing implementation framework ideas.
Using Agile principles, TEKsystems created a program that accommodated the client’s desire for more ownership of resources and systems. This was accomplished by integrating TEKsystems and the client team, allowing TEKsystems to respond faster to inputs from the client. This plan addressed the client’s people, process and technology needs by analyzing the following key process areas:
Technology proofs-of-concepts: After reviewing 12 different technologies utilized by their systems and their corresponding interactions, the TEKsystems team completed 20 proofs-of-concepts. TEKsystems collaborated heavily with the client for information on their systems working with the client's development team, business subject matter experts and management teams. This consultative approach ensured the client had full visibility into their systems and requirements.
Development and integration activities: Next, the team built a tool to manage the development activities and processes needed by the client. This step required cooperation and assistance from the client and ensured all processes were accounted for and evaluated.
Process and test implementation: TEKsystems introduced an implementation plan to test development iterations. After each new development, the client would run a pilot program to train existing QA staff on new processes, identify gaps and risks, and review the technologies utilized.
TEKsystems coordinated the resources needed to initiate the implementation plan, including the designation of a test architect to work with the client to reduce risks through increased training and process improvement. We also provided a recommended governance plan, continuous process improvement plan, implementation schedule and resource breakdown.
Monitoring and Controlling
TEKsystems provided detailed documentation and best practices advice on potential risk identification. The test architect continually reviews and assesses risk throughout the process implementation plan described in the pilot program. Additionally, the test architect acts as a liaison to the TEKsystems QA practice and keeps the team apprised of challenges and general milestones at the client site.
During this retirement stage, TEKsystems developed a closeout plan that utilizes industry best practices for transitioning knowledge, responsibilities and materials.