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Test Partner - Cancer Research UK

We provide a flexible testing service to CRUK using a blended model of consultants onsite, embedded within Agile teams, supported by offsite testing and the provision of specialist skills where needed, including test management, automation and performance.

Much of the work is carried out by embedding Prolifics Testing staff into project teams and working on specific projects. This is performed both remotely from our test lab in Borehamwood and on site at CRUK’s offices in London. Using our team, CRUK are able to supplement their existing staff in times of high demand, and flex down when the volume of work normalises.

The framework agreement in place allows CRUK project managers to call on a flexible, adaptable testing service, from a dedicated account manager and a long term partner, who understands their business and technology stack.

This model has proved to be hugely successful over the years and resulted in the renewal of our our agreement for a further three years.

We have deployed the full range of our services to CRUK, including strategic review (Health Check), Test Management, Functional and non-functional testing, automated testing, integration, end-to-end and User Acceptance Testing

Our team have implemented continuous integration test solutions for automated functional and performance tests. We have also implemented tools, provided training services and organised security tests through our partner, Commissum.

Prolifics Testing offers a flexible, professional testing service on demand, using a blended mix of resources and specialisms to support our customers and provide an independent level of validation on high profile projects. Contact us for more details on how we can help.

Example Project: Race for Life App

Prolifics Testing consultants acted as a quality gate between a leading digital agency and CRUK in order to carry out tests on a mobile app to promote and assist with the Race for Life campaign. The apps were designed to provide registered users with encouragement and race information on their race, while integrating with 3rd party fundraising portals to raise funds. 

Prolifics Testing reviewed and checked the agency’s testing plans while the apps were under development, requesting clarifications and process improvements / evidence of testing where needed. 

Once release candidates were available, full functional tests were performed against each app, using a mixture of scripted and exploratory tests. There were significant issues raised with the apps, especially around links with 3rd parties, Social Media (Facebook and Twitter) and the bespoke CMS delivered to integrate with CRUK’s corporate systems for race and participant information. 

The apps were primarily manually tested, with automated regression later being put in place via the Appium tool. Multiple releases were needed, with Prolifics Testing consultants performing testing remotely, collaborating with the development team and CRUK via Cloud platforms to get the apps ready to launch with confidence. 

Types of Testing

We have been involved in many areas of testing as a part of our partnership with CRUK, which allows them to call upon specialist expertise when needed, as well as providing a level of ongoing augmentation to the permanent team on site.  The areas of testing we have been involved in have included the following:

Example Project: Race for Life

Prolifics Testing managed the overall test programme for a release of the Race for Life programme, which included a comprehensive update to the web front-end, in addition to a new internally developed call centre management system - the largest and most significant bespoke development ever carried out by the charity. 

A Prolifics Testing Test Manager was deployed, responsible for developing an overall High-Level test plan for the programme, to define each test phase, standards, scope and responsibilities, as well as a high-level estimate for each of the relevant test phases. 

A Risk-Based Approach was taken, with test phases corresponding to the nature of the part Agile and part V Model Methodologies being employed. 

A number of Prolifics Testing consultants were deployed at several points during the programme, which included system testing (both Waterfall and Agile), integration, end to end, device compatibility, performance, user acceptance and security testing.

Performance tests were executed on the integrated application, injecting load via the AWS cloud. The tests included normal, peak load and soak tests, simulating access via a range of device types. The tests identified several significant issues stemming from concurrency and increasing load, with both application code and infrastructure, which needed to be resolved before launch.

As a part of this programme a test automation framework was designed and delivered using HP Unified Functional Testing to incorporate the automated testing overnight of all key business scenarios and combinations of race entry types / merchandise purchases. These tests were integrated into Jenkins in order to allow the automated running of the test pack whenever a change was made. 

The results of these tests provided a significantly increased level of confidence that no regression issues had been introduced whenever a change had been made, as well as highlighting problems for investigation, where they had. The automated test pack was run against a range of browsers, to establish a level of compatibility checks, each time a change was made.

Once the previously mentioned phases of testing had been completed, a User Acceptance Testing phase was managed by Prolifics Testing, where tests and data were specified by business area and the execution / results managed centrally. Test management throughout the programme included defect analysis and management, reporting to stakeholders, 3rd parties and SMEs in different areas of the business, at all levels.  

The outcome of this programme of testing, lasting around 9 months and involving 10 different consultants at different stages, was that the campaign launched successfully, to major fanfare and promotion, with an anticipated spike in registrations once the season commenced.

Example Project: Stand Up To Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer (SUTC) is an annual televised event on Channel 4, which attracts significant fundraising volumes via an online donation form. 

Prolifics Testing consultants initially carried out manual functional testing, alongside the 3rd party developers. Once the solution was completed and functionally proven, a performance test was then necessary. 

Due to the high volumes of expected users and the risk involved, a series of tests were recommended and designed: peak load test (1 hr, 1000 concurrent users), soak test with spikes (3hr simulation, 1000 concurrent users, reducing wait times), Failover test to check system resilience (1 hr, 1000 concurrent users). A number of bottlenecks and configuration issues were identified in the initial tests, which had to be remedied by CRUK’s development partner before tests were re-run. Tests were designed and executed using the open-source performance testing framework, Apache JMeter.

The outcome of this project was a significantly more resilient platform, which coped with transaction numbers greater than anticipated on the night, driven by the live show on Channel 4. Failover to a batch mode solution was not necessary and all transactions were successfully captured on the night, without any interruption of service to those donating.

Download the Cancer Research UK Case Study (PDF)

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