Testing during lockdown


DtL Creative have been working with Alliance Homes on a number of fronts over the last year and a half. We have been overseeing the project to implement their Cx housing management system with a number of other roles as well. When the lockdown occurred, one challenge for their project was how they were going to manage their testing activity with everyone being in separate, remote locations. So, we asked Claire Bullock from DtL Creative a few questions.

Claire, we know you are working on a programme of testing Civica’s Cx with Alliance and wanted to let folks know what this entails.

Working with Alliance, we have designed a thorough testing regime. This is the first cycle of UAT so will involve the project team working through detailed scripts to test not only the Cx functions, but the business processes that Alliance use.

What challenges does this impose when everyone is in lockdown?

The first challenge is rather obvious, and that is the visibility of what each tester is doing.

Commitment whilst at home – juggling childcare perhaps and maybe sharing broadband with other family members who are also working from home.

Being able to motivate the team remotely instead of being a “team” in a room.

Ensuring that testers who work quicker or are more experienced in the system stay engaged.

Would you say it is any slower or difficult than a traditional in-office approach?

This would depend on the size of the team and how the UAT tasks have been distributed.  I wanted the team to work together so I screen shared with the others (team of 6) mainly to show them the process before independently working through the detailed scripts.

It did take us longer than in an office, however by sharing problems and resolutions with the team this has improved their knowledge and awareness of the product, so as well as UAT the testers now have additional product knowledge.

Difficult isn’t the right word, it’s just different.  Users that are accustomed to agile/remote working will adapt to this more than purely office-based staff.

Has there been any alterations to the way testing would normally work?

The main change was ensuring testers took scheduled time away from the screen, 2 x 15 mins breaks and an hour lunch break with no screen time for example. This may not have happened in the office with testers being asked to assist with day to day tasks.

Step by step testing scripts ensured that testers knew what they were doing and where to clearly record any issues that occurred.

Screen sharing allowed problems to be shared with the team and discussed/triaged before being logged as an issue.

5 min pre-testing catch up of previous day’s work and bugs that have been raised and setting out expectations for the day ahead.

Are there any lessons learned from this experience?

Yes – UAT can be carried out successfully as long as the right collaboration platform is used (we used Teams after struggling with Skype), detailed and precise test scripts are produced, and the team know how to raise issues or problems.

So, the outcome for our customer is that through proper planning there has not been a significant impact on testing with regards the difficulties we currently face.