16 Hour Effort Reduced to 1 Minute with a Test Automation Framework

August 6, 2019

Our client, a New England healthcare provider, achieved velocity, improved quality and reduced costs by re-engineering the organization and process. The results included a 960% efficiency gain per cycle (960 minutes of manual work vs. 1 min of automation) and a cost avoidance of $100,000/year within testing operations alone – while achieving superior test coverage and bug detection.

To advance our client’s transformation initiatives SQA’s Agile Enablement team was deployed to evaluate blockers and implement SQA-Dax (Delivery Acceleration Framework). The roadmap enabled swift adoption of:

  • An enterprise-level test strategy and scope;
  • A Test Automation Framework and Test Data Management discipline – with SQA providing a jumpstart to test automation and Test Data Management (TDM) programs;
  • Metrics and analytics definition/reporting;
  • DevOps modeling to formulate a rotational QA assignment approach;
  • A Quality Assurance Strategy; and
  • A Community of Practice designed to vet and promote best practices.

The Community of Practice- facilitated and mentored by SQA – drove organic change within the organization and tied together now-distributed resources into a self-improving entity.

Quality Assurance Management

In re-engineering QA for this client, the SQA Team started with a “first principles” look at current work from an end-to-end perspective; this resulted in rationalizing QA resource assignments. In the new model, project-based work was supported in imbedded teams, with break-fix/small enhancements being handled by a dedicated team manned on a rotational basis by QA.

The foundation of QA tasking was driven by a revised QA Test Strategy jointly developed by Business, Dev, and QA and facilitated by SQA QA Architects.

The implementation effort for the test automation framework quickly revealed that difficulty in obtaining test data in “fit for purpose” environments was a gating factor in success – and a major contributor to tester toil and a “thief of bandwidth”. SQA engineered a “mine-morph-make” approach to test data management with data sets created through automated tools and maintained for specific testing objectives.

With this foundation, test automation was implemented in a prioritized approach based on: 1) where the most toil was occurring in testing; and 2) where root cause analysis revealed defects were clustering.

An early success was the introduction of an incoming data validation routine developed by the SQA Test Automation Architect: this reduced a four-hour manual testing effort requiring a team of four testers to a 30-90 second automated test integrated with the build process itself.

Using a combination of testing approaches engineered by SQA to minimize the reliance on brittle GUI-based testing, our client was able to turn the corner and – with the time bought back by the test data management approach and test automation – move the QA organization from a reactive and frustrated team to a well-respected partner in an IT department demonstrating continuous improvement.


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