Finding the Right Product

By Kevin Bingham  |  Posted 2008-04-30 Print this article Print

Arizona Federal Credit Union uses test automation to deliver better applications without sacrificing cost, time or quality.

Finding the Right Product

To successfully automate our testing processes, we needed a reliable product that would help us achieve our goals in a short amount of time. We found that tool in Compuware’s TestPartner.

I worked with Compuware and their quality assurance solution in some of my prior roles and found the company to be a valuable partner in those efforts. More importantly, I knew its functional testing capabilities could help us achieve greater productivity, while simultaneously reducing business impact.

TestPartner offers an interface that’s easy to use due to its visual orientation, yet is powerful enough to automate complex test cases. The visual approach is particularly appealing, as it allows our test team to collaborate with business partners to streamline the test development process and make sure the application being deployed into production was aligned properly with business need and risk.

Our business users were able to work with TestPartner without any specialized training. Typically, the members of our quality team did a brief walk-through on how to use TestPartner, and that enabled our business users to easily capture the steps of the business processes they were familiar with.

Similar to the test development environment, the Compuware tool offered results that were also visual and intuitive. By giving both business users and the quality team a clear understanding of results, we could understand and identify changes and defects more rapidly and speed up the test maintenance process.

As a result, we’ve been able to successfully complete the automation of the application that was initially targeted in this process. Now we’re beginning to branch out and automate other internal applications in order to reap similar benefits.

Thus far, Arizona Federal has been able to:

Reduce test cycle length from 60 to 25 days. This frees organizational resources to focus on their day-to-day responsibilities of serving members. Our ultimate test-cycle target is 14 days, which I believe is very achievable. For one of our core Web-based applications, our automated test solution takes only six hours to complete the testing of 55 scenarios. Manual testing used to take 160 hours, so the new process represents a 96 percent productivity increase.

Increase quality of releases. In the past six months, automated testing has found 21 errors that were not identified by manual testers. As a result, many of our issues are being addressed by our vendors before the products go into production.

Decrease time to market. Our goal is to deliver more releases, more functionality and more productivity in a shorter period of time. My team is seeing a trend in our ability to release more new, higher-quality products in a shorter amount of time.

Show positive ROI in just five months. Our vision is to create a secure testing lab running several automated testing stations. By showing a quick return on investment, we will be able to build a business case to justify making our lab a reality.

Bingham is vice president of Information Technology for Arizona Federal Credit Union.

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