Many organisations face similar challenges when it comes to delivering change. They need to be able to be responsive to business requirements, deploy changes more quickly and reduce the cost of change – all of which need to be done without impacting quality.
The emergence & wider application of new ways of working such as “DevOps” and “Shift Left” add another dimension to these challenges. The aim of both approaches is to:
- Accelerate change delivery & overall cost of change
- Improve communication between Development & IT teams
- Translate requirements more effectively through iterative development
- Identify defects earlier to reduce total development & testing time
By shortening the window between change “inception” & “delivery” enables organisation to accelerate how quickly they can meet business requirements, realising value & business benefits earlier and ultimately create additional capacity to deliver more change.
So how can organisations achieve the right balance between a faster deployment approach which is cost effective but doesn’t impact the quality of solution or compromise the user experience once live?
At Experior we are helping a number of our Customers to achieve this balance, largely through the deployment of our Test Centre. Experior’s UK Based Test Centre was first established in response to Customer feedback who were looking for a flexible, cost effective delivery model to supplement onsite activities and act as an extension to their BAU teams.
Since then the Test Centre has become much more than was first intended, it has become an enabler & an integral part of the delivery model and is now helping organisations accelerate change deployment.
This is achieved by a combination of things, firstly we will review the previous barriers outlined by my colleague, James Liasides, in his blog titled “Has offshoring had its day?” which explores the historic challenges to offsite delivery. Addressing these challenges has helped to support the integration of the Test Centre presenting the opportunity to accelerate change delivery:
- Lack of control: by handing over tasks to an external party, organisations feel a lack of control as the delivery of these often becomes reliant upon SLAs which can hold up delivery or present challenges when flexibility is required. When we deploy the Test Centre we always provide visibility of delivery with interactive dashboard analytics, daily updates and an ability to engage with the team either through our onsite team or directly. We work with Customers to help achieve their goals, working collaboratively and adopt a flexible approach to delivery.
- Communication barriers: typically, when offshoring tasks this introduces different cultural & communication challenges which can make the simple things such as understanding the true status of delivery frustrating. Add on the time zone affect and it can become even more difficult. Our team is UK based and utilises experienced testers who are able to clearly articulate any issues found, working with onsite teams as required. Our reporting enables organisations to validate progress and provides clarity of delivery.
- Loss of quality: the polar opposite of the phrase “less is more” rings true here. For example, one of the original benefits of offshoring is a low cost & scalable with the ability to deploy more resources to get the job done. In the majority of cases when this happens it is not necessarily to the benefit of the customer as overall quality is compromised i.e. “more can be less”. Our Test Centre team are experienced testers, they go through rigorous training and prior to being deployed on projects fully inducted to the customer specifics which all helps to ensure quality is not compromised.
- Managing escalating costs: when looking at costs it is important to review the true total cost of testing which include the consequential impact of when testing is incomplete or poorly executed leading production incidents, system down time and general business disruption. The World Quality Report indicates the percentage of IT spend allocated to Testing & QA is rapidly growing with 18% in 2012 compared to 35% in 2015. This is not sustainable and therefore organisations need to respond accordingly. Our Test Centre provides a flexible and cost effective delivery model. We have helped organisations optimise their testing activities, achieving over a 15% reduction in the total cost of testing as well as reduce reliance of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) by up to 20% which enables them to concentrate on other tasks such as defining new change requirements to help deliver more value to the business.
So how can the Test Centre help organisations accelerate change delivery?
- Risk Based Testing (RBT): the Experior methodology is very much built around testing optimisation and only testing what matters most to organisations. This helps to focus efforts in the right areas and provides the most value. This Test Centre is no different and follows this approach. In recent projects we have seen as much as a 60% reduction in test scope by deploying this method, helping organisations accelerate delivery & earlier realisation of business benefits.
- Deployment approach: we typically deploy the Test Centre alongside an onsite team which helps us to reduce our onsite footprint but maintains a close alignment & communication with the business teams. Our onsite team creates packages of work to hand over to the Test Centre who act as our “engine room” utilising pre-built test components which accelerates delivery and reduces overall development time.
- Reusable & Repeatable: Reusable components across multiple business tests further reduces the amount of effort required to create test scripts shortening the time to deployment. Using Business Process Tests & components supports end to end process testing but also provides the added benefits of executing tests on an individual component basis to support iterative testing through the development cycle identifying defects earlier.
- Flexible & scalable model: similar to an offshore delivery model we have the ability to scale up to meet changing demands however we don’t compromise quality as a consequence. Our Test Centre team are experienced testers first and foremost and work to the same standards as our onsite team. The Test Centre are inducted to the customer specific processes and solutions prior to being deployed to the project which helps them to hit the ground running.
- Automation: our Test Centre are also capable of creating, executing and managing automated test scripts. By deploying automation organisations can accelerate the delivery of regression testing by reducing the amount of manual testing required but maintain confidence in the solution by testing the critical business processes.
- Regression Managed Service (RMS): once organisations invest in automation it is important these scripts executed regularly and maintained to keep them reflective of business processes – this is where our Regression Managed Service comes in. We provide a complete service delivered by our Test Centre which monitors execution, triage defects, updates scripts and can further expand the test coverage as required. We run the pack periodically or ad-hoc dependent upon demand. This gives organisations the flexibility they need and provides a continued return on their investment by reducing manual regression test execution required for each change release.
These activities complement the concept of iterative development, driving down the total cost of testing but at the same time accelerating change delivery. You can find out more information on these services and the Test Centre by visiting our Test Centre website page. To find out more information on how Experior could help your organisation please get in touch.