Qualitest Helps St. Andrew’s Healthcare Create Roadmap to Quality Engineering
Qualitest covered everything from methods to obtain visibility and traction with the business, projects and IT to support initiatives, to outlining the structural support that was needed to enable testing.
Testing was always chasing development.
The client’s testing function had difficulty keeping pace with development.
Certified TMMi Assessors investigated challenges.
Created a thorough report and provided a roadmap to implement recommendations.
Detailed and Insightful Report; increased interest in testing in the business.
Outlined a clear set of milestones and methods to achieve the organization’s mission.
St Andrew’s Healthcare provides specialist mental healthcare for people with challenging mental health needs. The organization provides care across several services, including Men’s Mental Health, Women’s Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Neuropsychiatry, Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Learning Disability.
St Andrews develops innovative ways to help patients to recover, creating a personalized package of care designed around each individual, which focuses on their physical and spiritual wellbeing as well as mental health.
The organization’s headquarters and largest site is in Northampton, with facilities in Birmingham, Essex and Nottinghamshire, which provide localized mental healthcare.
Testing Doesn’t Always Catch Up to Development
Within the healthcare industry in the UK, software is becoming more and more vital to ensure patient safety and the efficient provision of care. At St Andrew’s Healthcare, the maturing of its approach to software deployment involves a mix of in-house developed solutions and COTS –Customizable O The Shelf– software solutions.
Testing methodologies included Waterfall, Agile and a blended approach, with individuals involved in scrum teams in addition to delivering on traditional Waterfall testing projects. The testing function within the charity was struggling to keep pace with developments while trying to continue to operate as much as it always had.
A Test Manager reached out to Qualitest for advice and an assessment of their processes against the TMMi, both as a guide and as a business case to assess increased funding for Quality Assurance development.
“The Qualitest team covered everything from methods to obtain visibility and traction with the business, projects and IT to support initiatives, to outlining the structural support that was needed to enable testing.”
The Right Guidance Makes All the Difference
One of Qualitest’s certified TMMi Assessors spent time with the client to understand its requirements and to get a feel for its challenges and processes.
Based on this initial conversation, it was clear that the organization’s maturity level would not enable a clear score of level two or more, so the TMMi Assessor recommended that the initial assessment be done on a more informal basis, while still providing an assessment against the TMMi framework. This would enable the assessor to dive deeper into the issues and make wider recommendations around both testing and the broader delivery processes.
It was also important to the client that Qualitest focused on the positives, as much as to identify where improvements needed to be made. The deliverables agreed upon were:
- An in-depth report covering all findings and with detailed recommendations.
- A presentation for senior management outlining the main findings and approach to process improvement.
- A roadmap to implement the recommendations.
The outcome from the review delivered benefits, not just in terms of the final deliverables. The approach to the entire review had an unforeseen impact:
Company-Wide Interest in Testing
The format of holding workshops instead of one-to-one interviews worked well – in reality, many of the questions had been adequately covered by preliminary conversations, scoping, and from the documents and other evidence that had been provided.
Therefore, this opened the opportunity to start conversations in the workshops, and to showcase what testing was about and what it wanted to achieve. The Test Manager reported that he was being stopped in the corridors by people who had not spoken to him in three years and invited to meetings he had always been excluded from before.
It generated interest in testing across a broad spectrum of people, from IT support to project management, from business users to decision makers on planning and budgets.
Detailed and Insightful Report
The report was very detailed, noting several positives, in particular the professional approach to testing despite externally imposed limitations. It clearly documented the current situation, the place that quality and testing wanted to be, and outlined a clear set of milestones and methods to achieve the organization’s mission.
The Qualitest team covered everything from methods to obtain visibility and traction with the business, projects and IT to support initiatives, to outlining the structural support that was needed to enable testing.
For example, developing test environment enhancements to increase stability and to reflect production, which enabled both performance testing and automation as viable advancements in the Test Strategy.
Qualitest’s report clearly defined the dependencies of each milestone along the journey, allowing St Andrew’s Healthcare to take its plans forward.
The presentation was aimed at the leader making financial decisions and focused on the support that the test team required to achieve this journey, as well as the benefits this would bring in terms of quality and future costs savings.
“Qualitest’s report clearly defined the dependencies of each milestone along the journey, allowing St Andrews Healthcare to take its plans forward.”
Continued Success Based on Support from Qualitest
As a result of the assessment and recommendations, Qualitest was engaged to provide some of the specialist skills required to deliver the short-term needs and to continue to work with St Andrews to support and develop its testing capability while addressing the recommendations from the report.
Through the Account Manager, a long-term relationship was formed with ongoing support from Qualitest’s Solution Architecture community, including the same TMMi Assessor that performed the original assessment. This ensured that all engagements with St Andrew’s Healthcare are done on the basis of a deep understanding of its processes and needs and continue to support its process improvement journey.
St Andrew’s Healthcare continued to seek Qualitest’s advice and support with its new technical and delivery challenges, including:
- Receiving support from Test Managers, who delivered a Test Strategy for Data Warehouse testing.
- Providing a Proof of Concept for the automation of the testing of the Data Warehouse sprint developments using an in-house developed data-validation framework to deliver continuous testing built into the deployment process.
- The provision of manual testers to meet short-term demands.
- The development of automated web application regression packs using Qualitest’s automation frameworks – in a relationship which has now extended over several years.