Wates Living Space planned a major upgrade to their operational systems, in line with the modernisation of internal processes. 

It selected COINS, an off-the-shelf solution, but which would require significant customisation and configuration during the implementation process. COINS was to provide an array of functions within the business, including operations, booking housing maintenance appointments, inventory, payroll, accounts and HR.

Initial contact

Wates initially contacted us to book some key staff on the project on our in-house developed User Acceptance Testing (UAT) training course. Although the course imparted a significant amount of knowledge of UAT, Wates requested assistance from us in defining the approach and strategy for the acceptance testing project. We assigned one of our experienced test management consultants to develop a test strategy and overall testing approach.

Planning the testing

Business user SMEs were identified to head up each of the business areas included in the transformation, with testers reporting to them for each department, all reporting to the Prolifics Testing test manager on site, as well as the overall programme manager.

The solution design for the system was used as a basis for the development of testing documentation, using templates and guidance provided by Prolifics Testing.

Using a risk based approach, a Test Plan was developed for each of the business areas, driven by workshops to understand business processes. User journeys were mapped to the functions of the new system, with particular focus on those areas subject to any customisation by the vendor, as well as those areas of most risk to the business operationally.

In parallel with the development of the tests, before the commencement of acceptance testing itself, we audited the testing completed beforehand by the supplier on the bespoke elements of the system to gauge its quality. This is often a useful indicator and guide to how much testing is necessary for each functional area of a system.

Migrating data

Data migration was also a key part of the project. We advised on the best approach for data take-on and how to test it prior to the start of testing for each of the functional streams.

Synthetic standing data was setup as a pre-requisite to fully exercising transactional data processing routines.

Initial data load routines were then validated to ensure data was transferred from legacy systems correctly. End to end system processing could then be tested, using real data at realistic volumes.

The test process

Throughout the process, a testing delivery plan was maintained for each of the workstreams, including key metrics, schedule and staff availability.

Our Test Manager on site was responsible for the coordination of all tests and personnel, ensuring progress was delivered against the plan.

All defects were recorded and presented to the supplier on a daily basis during test execution, with regular review meetings to set priorities and assign development re-work tasks.

Re-testing and regression testing were performed as new versions of the system were released.

The project was a success, and Wates implemented a significant change to their IT systems within multiple departments across the company.

Once the acceptance testing had been completed and data migration finished, the new system could be promoted to live with confidence.

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