As the University of the West of England is embarking on its transition to cloud-hosted solutions, gaining visibility into quality is critical. Testing is performed across business functions, so the University’s Head of Testing turned to Tricentis qTest’s user-friendly interface and agile design to accelerate the transition.

The University of the West of England is a public research university located in Bristol, 120 kilometers west of London. Several campuses in greater Bristol – including a business incubator and the largest robotics lab in the U.K. – serve more than 29,000 students.

Head of Testing Heather Daniels joined the team to establish a formal testing discipline and standardize the practice across projects and teams. She is also working with the rest of IT Services towards CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) Level 3 compliance. CMMI is a certification program which helps organizations streamline process improvement and encourage a productive, efficient culture that decreases risks in development and testing.

Standardizing the Discipline of Testing

The Head of Testing is responsible for ensuring quality of each product across the organization’s infrastructure, including Blackboard, Library Systems, a new HR System and multiple custom-built software tools used by university staff, faculty and students.

Though selecting and implementing a test management tool was her first task on the job, the Head of Testing completed a thorough evaluation before selecting qTest. “We needed to have a good requirements traceability matrix. Traceability between requirements and test cases was critical to implementing organization-wide quality standards”.

Second-most important was usability, due to the variety of roles that are responsible for quality. “Many of our business users who perform UAT testing are not technical people, so the tool needed to be intuitive and easy to use.”

Gaining Visibility into Quality

When she arrived, it was difficult to understand testing maturity. Testing is performed by various roles across teams – including testers and analysts – and everyone’s processes were different. “We didn’t have a test management tool, so progress was being updated using spreadsheets, etc.”

Implementing qTest Manager was a great first step at offering visibility at the organization level, as well as among specific teams. Now all test data is stored in qTest, and in the future will be integrated with Microsoft Azure DevOps. The integration will ensure alignment across user stories, requirements, test cases, results and defects.

“It’s so much easier to get visibility of progress as well as access the level of quality, depending on the number of defects that have been logged. It’s also great for project managers to ensure testing is progressing as scheduled.”

The Head of Testing is also able to evaluate the overall effectiveness of testing, including how many tests have been run, passed and failed, how many defects have been found, and how quickly they are resolved. Using qTest Insights, the Head of Testing is able to easily share her findings with each team.

In addition to centralizing testing, qTest has helped testers make significant progress towards meeting new testing standards. “Our goal is to become more standard in the way that we work across projects and teams and follow the same processes.”

Accelerating Agile Transformation

Broad support for test automation was also important in the Head of Testing’s search for a test management tool that could support agile transformation.

“We liked qTest’s ability to integrate with automation and CI tools.” As the team develops test automation skills, they will be leveraging qTest Explorer’s ability to convert exploratory sessions into automated regression tests.

To date, two of the organization’s development teams have transitioned to agile and have been working with an Agile Coach, along with the Head of Testing and Head of Development, to establish new processes. These projects will be paving the way for agile development, providing benchmarks as other teams make the transition.

Though the team did not yet have agile in mind when they adopted test management, they’ve found that qTest is an effective enabler of agile workflows, which will be integrated with other agile tools. “It’s not something the university is used to yet – what they’re used to is having long development cycles, and so we’re changing our mindset to delivering small pieces of functionality.  Working with the Product Owners, we’re now prioritizing the things that are most important to users first.”

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