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Providing a Comprehensive Quality Assurance (QA) and Testing Solution for a Leading Software Provider

Information Technology | Quality Assurance and Testing



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TEKsystems partnered with our client to provide Quality Assurance (QA) services in support of testing mobile applications on Nokia phones. We implemented and stabilized a consistent QA management team and executed the project out of our client’s U.S. headquarters on the West Coast.

Founded in 1975, the client is a leading developer and manufacturer of computer software, services and hardware for individuals and businesses. The client seeks to develop new products, new technologies and new ideas to transform the industry and their business.
Mobile device hardware; Mobile operating systems; Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile (CoMo); Office Mobile Suite (Communicator and OneNote)

Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and their accompanying applications have revolutionized the way consumers communicate and conduct business. Mobile applications allow consumers to use their devices to listen to music, play games, shop and manage their money. The portability and convenience of a quality mobile application can often replicate or even replace the functionality of a website accessed through a desktop computer.

In order for these applications to be effective, developers have to test their creations to ensure functionality, ease of use, security and device compatibility. A poorly designed application can impact customer adoption, customer satisfaction and ultimately, revenue. Applications testing and quality assurance are essential to creating a positive experience for the consumer.

Mobile application testing represents a significant challenge for many companies. Speed to market must be managed against the varying complexity of devices in the market, the vast number of mobile platforms and a variety of mobile carriers serving consumers. Given the aggressive schedule of the development team, many companies look for solutions to address their testing needs that include the ability to ramp up, execute and ramp down as needed, without the overhead involved in managing a team of employees. 

Our client was tasked with testing and certifying its mobile applications on Nokia mobile phones. The testing team had to develop a flexible schedule to complete the final certifications and provide accurate reporting back to the client. The client also needed a scalable team that could respond to changes in the number of test waves, devices and ship dates while providing consistent program oversight. To be successful, the team had to deliver testing services on the specified devices in time for Nokia to meet ship dates.

Challenges:

Timing of the Development Cycle: The client needed testing services while they were in the final stages of the development cycle. A majority of the work had been done, representing a challenge for the incoming testing team to learn the client’s tools and review the test cases. Similarly, the testing team needed complete documentation of the process and specifications around the test cases but was often asked to work from incomplete or unclear documentation. The testing vendor needed to be flexible and provide a scalable solution that could adjust to changes in demand.

Unpredictability:  The client’s partner, Nokia, operated under its own schedule and our client had to respond to Nokia’s direction and product cycles. This created uncertainty and unpredictability, as the testing team could not anticipate upcoming workloads.

Reporting:  Due to the fluctuation in the client’s testing needs and the scalability required of the testing team, the client needed strong, consistent reporting to reflect work completed, team status and test results.

The client wanted a partner to provide the quality assurance (QA) and testing needed to bring mobile applications to market. TEKsystems presented our capabilities as a qualified QA delivery organization with a strong understanding of device testing. We discussed our industry and mobile experience with other customers, including mobile carriers with testing needs over multiple devices and an existing managed services engagement for a large local customer in our client’s geographic region.

TEKsystems also offered the client a scalable solution to adapt and react to Nokia’s changing schedule and accommodate the multiple waves of testing required within a year. By implementing and stabilizing a consistent QA management team and institutionalizing a program to prepare for device testing at any time, TEKsystems could assist the client by quickly ramping up the test team in response to Nokia’s schedule demands. TEKsystems would also assume responsibility for the training and onboarding of new testers for every wave of new testing needs. We explained our standard onboarding process to the client and reviewed each step of the process to bring new resources under our project lead’s direction.

TEKsystems used our Project Management Life Cycle methodology in order to manage the testing needs of our client and develop a flexible testing model. We provided a steady team of dedicated testers with project management experience, led by an on-site QA team lead. The QA lead managed all test activities, hired and mentored testers, coordinated testing efforts across all devices, communicated project status and served as the primary liaison with the client. This model enabled TEKsystems and our client to prepare for test waves and add the necessary team members without requiring our client to hire, train and oversee testers in multiple waves within a year. The TEKsystems delivery team also provided back office support for knowledge, resource and budget management.

TEKsystems wrote test plans, executed manual and automated tests, and reported failures and metrics. The application was tested through three cycles on nine different devices, with 570 test cases in one test cycle. As devices were added, we increased the team by as many as four additional testers. The team then scaled back down depending on the progress within the test cycles.

Testing services included: 

  • Requirements analysis and decomposition
  • Test planning
  • Functional/black box testing
  • Manual device and automation testing
  • Defect tracking
  • Scheduling and work prioritization
  • Test status reporting
  • User acceptance testing, regression testing, integration testing, compatibility testing, risk-based testing
  • Team management support

The team documented all test cases and results of execution with the client. Reportable metrics included the number of test cases that passed or failed for each application and device, number of test cases executed for each device, reason for failure, number of bugs resulting from test passes and failure reproduction steps. To meet shifted deadlines and accommodate server connectivity issues, the team met deadlines by working on multiple devices at one time and tested around platform bugs.

Given the number of variables associated with this program and the variability in the testing schedule, our team identified the following critical activities for the success of the QA and testing engagement with our client: 

  • Develop procedures for client communication: Our client needed a vendor who could serve as a true partner and provide frequent communication on the status of each project. We worked with the client to set expectations before the engagement and discuss the client’s concerns ahead of time. TEKsystems set weekly internal and external meetings and developed procedures for status reporting and feedback. This alignment with our client allowed us to better support the changing schedule and meet deadlines.
  • Ensure test accounts are set up and provisioned for all features: When the test accounts were not properly provisioned by the manufacturer, the team was unable to test the functionality—resulting in schedule delays and increased workload on the team to meet the original deadlines.
  • Coordinate with the development team prior to the start of testing to ensure all test cases are available: Similarly, the team faced unclear documentation for certain test cases and not all cases were available for testing when needed. By managing this expectation at the onset of the engagement, the team could ensure all cases were ready at the project onset.