When the a1qa QA lead joined the team, it was as if she had never left the project. She understood all the features we had added, produced correct documentation, ran the triage meetings effectively, and researched issues quickly. Bottom line: her transition was seamless!

She is effective in the written and verbal word. She communicates difficult concepts in an easy to understand way. Her soothing personality reflects in a very calm approach to all issues. She demonstrates active listening and extracts the right details to move an issue forward. This is extremely important when we are triaging issues and not everyone in the meeting understands the issues we are trying to correct.

UX team decision-maker
PRODUCT OVERVIEW

The client represents a family of companies that serves the public and affordable housing community with special, niche insurance programs as well as other value-added products and services.

The developed SaaS ERP solution covered the following processes run by Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) in regards to the provisioning of affordable housing across the USA:

  • Applications submission and management, verification of the basis for the subsidized housing
  • Moving in/out processes management, apartment inspection procedures
  • Tasks allocation, notifications, working time management.
PROJECT SCOPE

To meet all quality requirements, the a1qa team considered time-to-market criteria, product specifics, and target audience to deliver a custom-tailored package of quality assurance services.

Testing activities differed over time and depended upon the development stage. Thus, the booming growth of functionality was accompanied by thorough functional testing, alongside with performance testing and test automation.

Later on, UX audit was added to improve end-users' satisfaction.

Right before the product was shipped to market, end-to-end tests were carried out to assess the software market readiness.

The a1qa team was to meet a whole lot of multiple requirements.
It was vital to make sure everything was taken into account.

As an effective means of doing this, the team implemented a cross-reviewing stage, for which the unique Test Case Matrix and Component Matrix were applied.

To avoid overlapping of test cases, the Test Case Matrix was introduced. It helped a reviewer understand whether all the requirements were considered by test cases. It also served to:

  • Cover several checks by one test case
  • Significantly reduce the number of test cases.

At times, when the functionality was changed it required test cases to be updated.

The Component Matrix was applied to simplify and accelerate the process. It contained all Test Case Matrixes with test cases for the appropriate component of the system.

Technical documentation

The a1qa technical writers were asked to design and update a comprehensive suite of reference documentation. The documents had to take into account numerous peculiarities of the system and cover all the functionality.

The team did a great job and was loaded with the following tasks:

  • Generate context-sensitive Help
  • Develop How-To’s manuals and FAQs pages
  • Develop trainings packages.

Throughout the project, the a1qa technical writers prepared over 90 documents with the total number of 1000+ pages.

The product was concisely documented. The client highly valued the responsive and personalized approach backed by considerable expertise to deliver targeted documentation for all requirements.

User acceptance testing

Before every new release rollout, the QA team performed user acceptance testing according to the scenarios prepared by the business analyst and product owner.

Based on them, QA engineers were to prepare a suite of test cases. Its creation was to be quick and smooth, and test scenarios were not to be changed for every UAT.

To consider all the above-mentioned criteria, the a1qa team developed UAT scenarios that covered all the general user flows and possible introduction of new functionality.

Later on, all the quick sanity tests and BAS (Business Analysts Scenarios) were automated. The behavior of every feature in these scenarios was specified.

The QA team complemented them and passed over to the test automation team.

For every feature testing there was at least one automated test, which helped to save 3 hours on testing every feature from the UAT suite.

From Scrum to SAFe

Initially, the Scrum methodology was implemented to develop the project. However, after several years of development, it was decided to migrate to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) cut for large enterprises and enabling them to manage software development across multiple teams more efficiently.

The a1qa team had to gain a deep understanding of the underlying values and principles of SAFe development.

The most obvious benefits of agile scaling turned out to be the following: synchronized work of all teams and faster delivery of the final product.

Performance testing

In terms of the performance testing services on the project, the a1qa team carried out the full cycle of activities using MS Visual Studio.

The a1qa engineers created the profile of the target audience and set up the process of collaboration with the developers.

It helped trace the issues in the performance of the system and promptly fix them, thus, improving the overall quality.

SERVICES OFFERED
  • Test automation
  • Functional testing
  • Cross-browser testing
  • Localization testing
  • Usability testing
  • Performance testing
TECHNOLOGIES & TOOLS
  • .NET
  • Kendo UI
  • ASP.NET
  • MVC
  • WCF, EF
  • MSSQL (SSRS, SSIS)
  • MS Visual Studio
  • Azure
  • Autofac
  • NLog
  • VSTest
  • Thinktecture Identity Server
QA TEAM

Initially, there was one QA team on the project (2 engineers and 1 team lead specialist).

Timely applied scalability of manpower helped deliver high-quality results on all stages of the project fulfillment and in compliance with the necessary set of activities at the given period.

Therefore, at the time the needs were covered by seven teams composed of multiple specialists, from QA project coordinators and project managers to tech writers and UX experts.

Today, the a1qa team on the project is curtailed to three specialists who provide product support validating bugs fixing and testing additional features implemented upon users’ requests.

CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

Almost 30 thousand test cases to support. To cut down the number of test cases, some improvements were introduced:

  • The Test Case Matrix to cover several checks by one test case.
  • The Component Matrix utilization. It contained all the Test Case Matrixes with test cases for the appropriate component of the system.
  • 'Program' field. The field indicated the programs (in terms of which housing authorities cooperated with their clients) the test cases were valid for.
  • 'Repeat' steps. If test cases differed in one step only, one test case was created and the step they differed in was added. Two almost identical test cases were replaced with a single one.

Large scope of regression testing:

  • All the sprint activities were put on hold and all the QA teams switched to 'KendoUI+IE11' test, while the DEV team addressed tech tasks and debugging. It took the team about 300 hours to fulfill it, and due to the combination of the two tests about 100 hours were saved. Testing was completed within 2 weeks, and the QA teams returned to the sprint activities.
  • In this stage, the engineers used the Test Data Generation mechanism (the internal mechanism for creating test data for different scenarios implemented by the Dev team). The time of execution of some test cases and preparation test data decreased by half.
  • One of the biggest time-savers was test automation. The a1qa engineers developed a solution based on the Specflow BDD framework and automated huge scope of regression testing. The readable, easy-to-follow automated tests were smoothly run on a daily basis and seamlessly tracked regression in major functionality.

Testing in two branches:

  • Full-cycle testing was carried out in both branches. But then the results were analyzed and it turned out that most of the issues are reproduced in both branches. Therefore, the scope of testing in the second branch was minimized with the full test performed in the branch with the current release only.

The lack of communication between BAs, the Dev, and the QA:

  • The QA team designed the Questions & Answers page. All the questions from QA engineers and developers and answers from BAs were posted on this page. Q&A pages became an additional type of requirements.
RESULTS
  • The a1qa team has been working on the project from the very start. Smart parallel work of the several QA team helped to effectively distribute the tasks and solve questions that have arisen.
  • The a1qa specialists assured quality of migration to a new ERP system and conducted a series of trainings to the client’s team.
  • The client has turned to the a1qa managers’ consultations on every new QA hire.
  • Thanks to careful and diligent documentation developed by the a1qa technical writers, significant time and efforts saving were achieved and QA maturity was brought to a high level.
  • The product was successfully shipped to market with all the goals achieved on time.
  • The client has teamed up with our QA team for a number of other projects and the cooperation continues to date.
IN NUMBERS
  • 5+
    years of project duration
  • 12,114
    major and crucial defects detected
  • 100%
    delivering on time and within budget
  • 90+
    documents created by technical writers
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