Open post Consulting, Project Management, and Quality Assurance Services

Case Study: Consulting, Project Management, and Quality Assurance Services

Consulting, Project Management, and Quality Assurance Services

Industry: 

  • Shipping & Logistics

Key Technologies/Skills: 

  • Project Management
  • Agile Methodology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Data Science
  • Quantum Annealing
  • Quality Assurance

Overview: 

Our client, a shipping & logistics organization, operates a terminal in the largest port in North America. With logistics services highly commodified, they want to improve terminal efficiency and throughput. The recognized a robust opportunity to achieve these improvements due to recent advances in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning (AI/ML). However, this also entailed complex greenfield software development, which is outside their team’s core competencies.

Seeking deep experience in quality assurance, test, and managing software development projects, the client turned to Quardev to ensure the significant project risk would be well-mitigated.

Solution at a Glance:

Quardev structured our services to target both project and product risk with great flexibility. We built a process and documentation framework for future development efforts, mapped requirements to project deliverables, and guided project management to delivery of the AI/ML platform along with a supplemental mobile app.

Challenge:

The client’s core experience primarily lay on the operations side of the terminal. The project warranted substantial software development, quality assurance, and test, and project management experience. Additionally, the greenfield nature of the project and the advanced complexity posed formidable challenges for even seasoned project management.

Compounding the complexity of the project was the dispersed nature of the vendors. The client gathered a group of software vendors, each with critical skills and experience to lend to the overall project. The vendors, with varying SOWs and delivery models, needed to work together to deliver the final product and required complex project management to ensure the projects were moving forward.

Risk abounded, for project quality as well as product quality - Quardev was able to join the project to fill the quality role and assist in the overall project management.

Solution:

Quardev structured our services to target both project and product risk with great flexibility. We assigned a quality consultant to assess both types of risk and deliver mitigations while building a process and documentation framework for future development efforts. The flexibility in the SOW enabled the quality consultant to both plan testing efforts and participated in their execution.

The project entailed a robust data science effort, an advanced simulation with a digital twin, and one of the world’s first commercial uses of quantum computing. The Data Science and analytics phase ensured we were asking the right questions and measuring the right KPIs. We leveraged Power BI to create empowering analytics dashboards.

The terminal’s entire operation was simulated, including the inbound and outbound ships and trucks, their preferences, and objectives. We meticulously tested the simulation against the analytics dashboards to ensure the simulation was as close to reality as possible.

Once the digital twin was built and tested sufficiently, we were able to falsify several candidate efficiency strategies to vet their efficacy and scalability, with specific and direct expected improvements in KPIs.

Finally, the right solutions were selected, which entailed an AI-based scheduling enhancement, some front-end web app changes, and the development of a new mobile app. Through Quardev’s project management consulting, the client managed the mobile app as a distinct, Agile development project. We unified the vendors’ team communications onto one platform, established meeting and reporting cadence, and performed typical Agile project management, leaving behind a process framework risk and release management in addition to development projects.

Results:

The software deployments were successful, and we left the client with an Agile process framework in place. We took a strong initiative to deliver value and advance project progress during occasions of ambiguity. Senior leadership expressed great satisfaction with the rapid prototyping, quick & seamless progress, transparency, and scheduling accuracy of the mobile app project. Senior leadership described our delivery as “phenomenal” several times and expressed the desire to “adopt” us.

Client Quote:

“The Quardev assistance in our project was a great contributor to project success.  We are greatly appreciative and impressed by the professionalism, experience, and work product that was provided.  The ability to quickly learn our processes and project needs was essential to the detailed development of business requirements and integration testing assistance.”

Case Study: Consulting, Project Management, and Quality Assurance Services

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Open post Hiring remote employees during covid19

Case Study: Hiring Remote Employees during COVID-19

Hiring remote employees during covid19

Industry: 

  • Interactive Display
  • Lesson Delivery
  • Education Software

Key Technologies/Skills: 

  • Quality Assurance
  • Device Testing

Overview: 

Our client is an industry leader in interactive display systems for lesson delivery, online education, and classroom technology. They have several locations across the globe ranging from hardware manufacturing, software development, classroom technology implementation, and testing. Our client’s testing capacity was severely hindered due to the Covid-19 pandemic in China before our local pandemic efforts. The team in China was subject to a stringent quarantine scenario and was unable to continue its testing duties. They asked Quardev if we could help staff a local team to continue the efforts locally. Initially, a team of three was discussed for onsite device testing to continue the efforts of the team in China. This team was to pick up where they had left off and finish the testing of devices that were ready to ship. We quickly learned that culture fit and budget were the most critical factors for our clients—even more than the technical skills.

Solution at a glance

The short story of their solution was the ability to leverage our years of knowledge and expertise to assess the client’s needs quickly. It was also essential to determine the “wants” from the immediate “needs.” The client came to us with a problem and leaned on our knowledge of not only the Quality Assurance piece but our recruiting team’s understanding of locating talent, interviewing candidates, validating culture fit, and onboarding. Usually, a client will come to us with more specifics, such as a job description, budget, ideal candidate, etc. But in this particular case, the client needed to rely on our expertise from the beginning. We were able to quickly determine the needs and address them within hours of the initial conversation.

Challenge 

The process started with a phone call from the client. Quardev has earned a reputation in the Northwest as a company agile enough to be able to take on many different tasks for our clients. They reached out to us and explained the situation, which included not only the technical skills needed but also the ability to provide our services quickly and adapt to any immediate changes on the fly. Initially, the client discussed a need for 2-3 QA Tester Engineers to provide device testing on their proprietary platforms. The team needed to be able to pick up where the Chinese team had left off and take it to the finish line. The situation was very fluid at the time, with the pandemic in full swing offshore but with a lot of uncertainties here in Seattle as well. The client’s local in-house team was unaccustomed to the testing process as these tasks were handled offshore. The timing was also of the essence as the client had customers waiting for the products to ship ASAP. Not only was the team unfamiliar with the testing and hiring processes, but they also had questions about whether their internal facilities could handle this project with such a short turn around.

Solution 

The client was uncertain of where to begin. The news of the shutting down of their offshore team was quite a shock to everyone. There was no job description, budget, location, test plan, or even an idea of the level of knowledge the team would need. After some qualifying conversations with the client, we determined that the need was for a lower level of Test Analyst with some device testing experience in Android applications. There were some other tools such as Jira that we had decided was valuable as well. The technical skills were second to the culture fit in this case. We had discussed the possibility of creating a space for the team in our onsite lab but came up with a solution that would allow the team to stay at the client site during the project to keep down costs and provide more visibility for them.

Because culture was such an important piece of this project, we came up with a shortlist of “must-haves” and went to work sourcing talent. Hiring remotely is not much different than hiring in person. As recruiters for over 20 years, we have developed a system for gaining insight into individuals’ personalities. Candidates did not need to be particularly strong technically (e.g., Junior Test Analyst with Android experience, JIRA, and bug reporting), along with the time-sensitivity of the project. Because of this, we determined together that an added technical assessment with our onsite technical advisor was not necessary. The main objective was to find candidates who were technically proficient but then take a deeper dive into the personality to decide the culture fit of the candidate. It required extended phone conversations along with more in-depth behavioral questions to We relied on our expertise in gauging not only the answers provided but HOW they were provided. This is not something that can be processed through an online assessment. It requires individual conversations with the candidates. Due to the remote nature of the work, these behavioral assessment conversations were tailored towards the client’s valuation of what they felt their needs were. The onboarding process has been automated for quite some time now. That made streamlining that process extremely easy.

Results 

Currently, our team is still engaged in the project. The client has been pleased with the consultants that we provided and the ability to become a true partner. Even with the offshore teams coming back online, our local team continues to provide the client with added value.

Hiring Remote Employees during COVID-19

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Open post Managing Technical Skills Assessment in the Hiring Process

Case Study: Managing Technical Skills Assessment in the Hiring Process

Managing Technical Skills Assessment in the Hiring Process

Industry: 

  • Technology
  • Creative

Key Technologies/Skills: 

  • Skills Assessment
  • Hiring and Screening

Overview: 

Our clients rely on Quardev to source, assess, and present candidates for their key positions and streamline their hiring process. We work to ensure each candidate that we submit has the skills necessary to excel in the role and is a great culture fit for the client’s team.

Challenge 

Candidates may have the required technical skills listed on their resume, but it can be difficult and time-consuming to assess how proficient they are at working hands-on with the technology.
The candidate may be able to talk the talk, but we also need to ensure the candidate has the right level of skill to perform the work sufficiently to meet the needs of the team. In-depth skills assessment is hard to determine in a brief phone screen.

Solution 

Quardev takes the interview process a step further by having our Technical Team conduct a personalized skills assessment based on the hiring manager’s needs and preferences. We feel this is an essential part of successful hiring that empowers the hiring manager to make a more informed decision. We think skills assessments should not have a “one size fits all” approach. We give each candidate a customized assessment that reflects the requirements for the role and the needs of the client. Additionally, during our interview process, Quardev’s team tests both technical and soft skills as both are essential facets of the workplace.

Technical Implementation 

Our Technical Team and Recruiters assess candidates’ skills in a thorough technical and behavioral/situational interview, as well as in a written exam that aligns with the job requirements.
Examples of technical written exam questions:

  • Demonstrate how you use a particular technology to create a solution to a problem. Display your process in coming up with a solution.
  • Perform a coding exercise that will show how clean their code is and if it is easy to follow. The task is left open to creative interpretation.

Examples of situational/behavioral questions:

  • What is the most puzzling programming challenge you have come across recently?
  • Tell me about a time a project failed and what you did about it.
  • Tell me about an application you regularly use. How would you improve its functionality? 

Results 

Relying on Quardev’s in-house technical team during the hiring process saves hiring managers time by enabling us to take on the time-consuming tasks of resume screening, initial phone screening, interviewing, and skills assessment.

We provide a complete overview of the candidate’s qualifications and how they align well with a position and the organization. Our recruiting process enables us to present a candidate that has both the technical and soft skills needed to be successful in the role. Ultimately, improving the final interview to offer ratios and closing candidates faster.

Managing Technical Skills Assessment in the Hiring Process

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Open post New Software Release Regression Testing

Case Study: New Software Release Regression Testing

New Software Release Regression Testing

Industry: 

  • Enterprise and Supply Chain Labeling 
  • Retail 
  • Pharmaceutical & Medical Devices 
  • Food & Beverage 
  • Chemical 
  • Aerospace 

Key Technologies/Skills: 

  • Labels, Barcodes, RFID, Cards 
  • Enterprise/Embedded Database 
  • Integration 

Overview: 

Our client is a longstanding provider of label printing software with more than 30 years of experience providing services to the world’s largest companies. Their flagship software works to create, automate, and manage labels, barcodes and RFID tags and is available in more than 150 countries 

The project involved testing services for the latest version of the software covering functional, database, and security aspects. This client works to improve safety, efficiency, and compliance and is depended upon by numerous businesses of all sizes to optimize customers labeling and printing processes. To ensure a smooth and functional transition into a new version of the software, Quardev was tasked with running regression and exploratory tests to help prepare for the software’s release.  

Challenge 

The key challenge involved in the project was the large number of tests to be executed in a short amount of time. With a 60-day timeframe, the client supplied roughly 2500 regression test cases for existing features to be completed. In some test cases test steps were missing, making it more complex to learn a new system and understand the intent of the test at the same time. Additionally, the project involved using a sophisticated tool with many features, making it more challenging to learn than most. The project included collaborating with remote teams located in Bellevue and Taiwan, causing some challenges in communication and scheduling.  

Solution 

To counteract the short time frame, several skilled test engineers were assembled, and a team lead chosenTeam members were quickly brought up to speed and the tests were divided and executed. To overcome the complex tool, the team began having internal learning sessions where there would be a presentation and demo of different functional areas. In this way, team members were able to learn a space and share knowledge with others on the team who may not work in that area but have a dependency on that system.  

The project involved regression test execution, taking about two months. When the team encountered test cases that were missing steps or had steps that were out of date and needed to be updated, a corresponding Quality Assurance (QA) JIRA ticket would be opened. The team added steps for some of the test cases that had none as well as suggestions for steps that needed to be modified or where steps were missing. These updated steps were written so that they could be approved and updated to the existing test case with a simple copy and paste - reducing the amount of time the client needed to spend on the effort. The defects and QA issues were logged in JIRA as well as a weekly status report provided to project management.  

The final part of the project was to provide a list of recommendations to the client to help improve current QA methods. Additionally, if a test was missing steps or the expected results, the team would add a relevant detail in the collaboration tool to enable testing to continue and provide the detail needed to execute the test. Finally, Quardev recommended setting up a Final Verification Test (FVT) regression pass for after the initial pass had been completed.  

Technical Implementation 

Due to the nature of this project, implementing new technology was not a factor as the goal was the execution of existing tests. In order to spin up a clean environment from which to run the tests, the VirtualBox tool was used.  

Results 

The project was completed on time and well within budget. The client was happy with the work performed as well as well as the extensive reporting and metrics provided. This had been the second time Quardev worked with this company and following this experience the client noted they would absolutely engage in Quardev services in the future.  

New Software Release Regression Testing

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Open post Client-Server Application Test Framework and Test Case Development

Case Study: Client-Server Application Test Framework and Test Case Development

Client-Server Application Test Framework and Test Case Development

Industry: 

  • Software Development 
  • Personal Computing 
  • Entertainment and Games 

Key Technologies/Skills: 

  • Front-end and Back-end Automation Frameworks 
  • Automated Test Case Development 
  • Issue tracking and root cause analysis 

Overview: 

The client makes several products in the gaming industry, and some of those products are online versions. The number of simultaneous online players for the most popular product is in the tens of thousands worldwide. Most game play for that product is limited to specific times when play events are scheduled. To accommodate the schedules of more players, the client developed a new product that would enable players to play any time, rather than waiting for pre-scheduled play events. This product necessitated the creation of a dedicated team of product developers, managers, and testers, to avoid over-taxing the staff resources focused on the existing products. To help with their resource needs, the client reached out to Quardev to help in developing a robust automated test framework and test cases for this new online product. 

Solution at a Glance: 

Quardev put together a team to research the client’s existing software architecture from which a new product would be developed, as well as research the hardware system on which the client’s products were run. Working with the client, Quardev’s engineers developed an automated test framework and hundreds of test cases to test the client’s new product, while at the same time, assisting with testing and issue investigation of the existing software products. 

Challenge 

There were several challenges the Quardev team members needed to overcome on this project, not the least of which being the required skillsets of Quardev engineers. The new product used a Windows-based client that communicated with Windows and Linux-based servers and a SQL backend, so engineers needed to be familiar with multiple operating systems and the unique problems when integrating them. In addition, the development cycle was such that it was necessary to learn the client's complex multi-server system and application in a short time. Unfortunately, the client-server architecture that existed at that time was not well-documented. There was an unusually high amount of "tribal Knowledge” that needed to be uncovered through multiple discussions with engineers and managers. Many of the client's development teams were in disparate locations in multiple countries and different statesfurther complicating the process of information gathering.  

Another key challenge engineers faced was that the new product was being developed at the same time changes and updates were being made to the existing products. For the client to meet their deadlines, Quardev team members would occasionally be pulled off the new product to assist with the existing product releases. This required Quardev engineers to be flexible while getting up to speed quickly to help meet the client’s needs. 

The client also had budgetary and legal constraints that prevented them from hiring staff or bringing contractors aboard directly. 

Solution 

Though the client could not add staffing resources directly, Quardev worked with the client to solve their resource needs in a managed services capacity. Working with the client, Quardev determined the personnel skillsets required and then put together a team of Software Development Engineers in Test (SDETs) to meet the requirements and do so in a way that met their legal and budgetary constraints. The Quardev team included designated leads to handle communications with the client’s management teams, manage the team engineers, handle planning and team project management, and act as a general liaison between Quardev and the client. 

The Quardev team embedded themselves into the client’s development team to gather the system and product information necessary to design and implement the desired test system for the new product, while at the same time helping in other areas when needed. 

Quardev’s SDETs worked to build a proprietary automated test framework that was sophisticated enough to simulate online users, communicate with the system backend servers through an Application Programming Interface (API), and integrate with the product build system so tests could be run automatically following a product build. 

Separately, Quardev engineers worked to extend and enhance a frontend Selenium-based automation system to automatically run tests on the client product. 

Quardev’s SDETs developed hundreds of automated tests for both the backend and frontend of the client-server product, adjusting the test framework as needed to accommodate increasingly complex test scenarios. In addition, modifications to the framework and test cases as the project progressed were necessary to deal with undocumented and unforeseen application messaging nuances. 

Throughout the project, Quardev’s engineers remained flexible to accommodate the client’s need for occasional assistance in testing and investigating issues with the existing client flagship product. 

Results 

Quardev helped this client find the resources and assistance they needed to ensure their new product would be reliable and function as desired. Quardev met the challenges the project presented with expertise, flexibility, and cost effectiveness. The testing infrastructure and automated test cases developed contributed to a successful initial release, and this product has since proven to be the most successful and popular online game the client has produced to date. 

Client-Server Application Test Framework and Test Case Development - PDF

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Open post Automation of Patient Portal Web Tool

Case Study: Automation of Patient Portal Web Tool

Automation of Patient Portal Web Tool

Industry: 

  • Dental Insurance
  • Healthcare

Key Technologies/Skills: 

  • Front-end and Back-end Automation Frameworks
  • Automated Test Case Development
  • Issue tracking and root cause analysis

Overview: 

Our client is one of the nation's leading providers of dental insurance, offering dental coverage in all 50 states and serving more than 80 million Americans, more than any other dental insurance company. The company was created by dentists who recognized the need to increase oral health care to provide services to individuals and families, small businesses, and retirees. Their core purpose is to advance the oral health of their customers, partners, and consumers through dental insurance and philanthropic efforts. The client has a local presence in communities across the country, providing groups and individuals with quality, cost-effective dental insurance and superior customer service and is an important figure in the dental and health insurance industry. Quardev has a long history with this client and was able to easily engage on the Automation and Quality Assurance of a new patient portal web tool for their website.

Challenge 

The largest challenge in an automation/performance project is determining the scope, including the number of user scenarios and size of the test set up required. Our automation resources are adept at this as were able to finalizeour approach and resource needs.

Solution 

Quardev was tasked with determining and verifying the performance of a new patient portal web tool. This required understanding typical user scenarios, essentially why and how a user would use the tool. These user scenarios had to be modelled appropriately by creating virtual users and simulating simultaneous user interactions to determine the system stability. We wanted to figure out when and how the system might fail, such as failing to respond or crashing. Additionally, it had to be confirmed that the client's minimum number of users could successfully use the system without issue.Quardev assembled a team and determined the most important scenarios to be tested. While keeping in constant communication with the client, Quardev worked through all the necessary scenarios preparing the tool for efficient and smooth patient use.

Technical Implementation 

To complete this project, scripts were written to handle virtual user scenarios. To do this, Quardev used a third-party tool called Silk Performer. In testing the new web portal, multiple user scenarios had to be created and were therefore set up to simulate user interactions with the patient portal.

Results 

The client was very pleased with the work done by Quardev, allowing them to launch their new patient portal web tool and improving the client and customers experience. From previous accounts to this specific project, the client has found Quardev to be a useful resource in their Quality Assurance and Automation needs.

Quote from the client:

“We reviewed the results ... and were very happy with what was done.”

Dental Healthcare - PDF

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