Providing Quality To Our Clients – Testing At Leighton

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Author Image - Matt Lomax

By Matt Lomax

Matt is our Test Manager and runs the Leighton QA team, planning and executing test plans across our client portfolio

Over the last two years, Leighton’s test capabilities have grown dramatically. Prior to developing a dedicated QA resource, development teams had to complete their own testing, which wasn't guaranteed to deliver the efficient service we wanted to provide to our clients; clients who, collectively, turnover millions of pounds per year in revenue.  A dedicated testing team effectively ensures those revenues generated online are protected.

The QA team at Leighton works across all our clients and teams. Testing at Leighton is an independent department, grown from the development team, and we now have our own certified QA team in place. They provide a high level of quality assurance to all our clients and projects, including British Airways, Home Group, Sage and Foundation of Light.

The value of independent testing

Our development team takes a lot of pride in their work and aim to deliver to the best of their ability. This is clearly a positive, but the pride taken in their work can also prevent them from finding problems from either their work, or even the entire product under test.

With a dedicated test analyst we gain, for example:

  • A non-biased approach to the product under test
  • A fresh approach to proving that the product in development is fit for purpose
  • Testing with the thought of how the user would traverse the product
  • Testing the quality of the product in a non-logical way (“What if I try…”)

The one thing we do have to be careful about is making sure that, although the testing is completed independently, the test analyst / team are not completely isolated. Communication and collaboration is essential in ensuring the success of any project.

Having this dedicated team at Leighton allows us to ensure a better quality of work with minimal risk in a live production environment. It allows us to deliver a smoother experience to our customers, as the quality of delivered work will increase and now we have enhanced our existing processes to incorporate testing phases, we can output an even greater standard of work to our clients.

What we do for our clients

Showcasing the added value testing provides, one client recently contracted us to enhance their existing team. Our original goal was to provide an additional resource to essentially pick up the support backlog of bugs, which we achieved. Such was our value to the client, however, we became a key part of a major initiative on one of their leading products.

What initially started as a three month contract went on to become 12 months. We came in and learned the system in a short space of time, something that's attributed to our team being trained and experienced in Agile project methodologies, making us able to integrate with existing teams very well.  On this project, we became part of the client's team and not just outside contract work - we even went the extra mile to get the jobs completed when we weren’t always asked to, in an effort to give the client a level of quality that was above expectations.

What's more, we helped shape and redefine their own Agile processes while we were there.  One example of this was utilising one of their existing systems, which we customised to produce their own test case management system.  Now using this to create, edit and run all of their manual test cases, it is also used to store and version control their automated scripts, too.

Within many organisations, testing is often a department not many truly understand or fully appreciate.  Knowing what they do on a high level, it isn't appreciated just how vital their role is - and at Leighton, the reality is our dedicated testing team undoubtedly play a vital role in the delivery of a consistent, high quality service to each of our clients.