Hunter Industries Ensures Accountability, Strengthens QA Process with Helix ALM
"The controller division makes sure we live up to standards of excellence by using Helix ALM. Plus, the team at Perforce is wonderful to work with. Finding a company willing to go out of their way for the customer is invaluable." -Kifah Samara, Software QA Manager, Hunter Industries
How has Helix ALM been a benefit?
Auto-generated test cases
Easy requirement checks
Efficient team and workload management
And each member of my team knows exactly what they need to do when.
Hunter Industries' product line includes patented gear-driven rotors, water-efficient sprinklers, weather sensors, valves, and controllers, as well as high-quality LED and low-voltage outdoor lighting. Many of their products have internal controllers that manage user settings and commands.
Prior to 2010, the engineers who worked on electronics and coding were also doing the testing for the controllers, and requirements, test cases, and defect tracking were being managed with a combination of Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. This was more than sufficient for years, but as the company grew, reviewing the development and testing process to ensure quality and completeness became a burden for the controller division team.
With hundreds of thousands of systems and parts in development and production at any time, a rigorous quality assurance process is essential, and Hunter Industries has always been dedicated to delivering top-notch quality. They were aware that any malfunction caused by an undiscovered controller error could result in financial loss for themselves and their customers, or a damaged corporate reputation. Finding a more reliable way to manage quality assurance and track the entire controller software development process was critical.
Shoring Up Quality Assurance
The team began looking for a software solution to that would alleviate much of the manual cross-checking in their QA process. They needed to find a tool that would provide a view of the entire project lifecycle, from requirements to test cases to defects, so they could quickly and easily track development artifacts at every stage in the process.
While the team was already using Helix Issue Management (IM) for defect tracking, their new software QA manager had extensive experience with competitor HP Quality Center.
"I wanted to make sure we invested in the very best software for the job rather than just extending our Helix licenses simply because we already had them in place," said Kifah Samara, Software QA Manager. "I was already familiar with HP Quality Center and, quite frankly, was already leaning toward them, but it made sense to see how the full Helix ALM suite capabilities compared."
Perforce had to prove the value of Helix ALM to the controller division team as if they were coming in at ground zero. The Perforce team worked closely with Samara during both the assessment and budget development processes, providing temporary licenses so he could fully test the functionality of the Helix ALM suite. In the end, Helix won Samara over.
"Both solutions had the main features we really needed, but Perforce as a whole offered such incredible customer service that it really tipped the scales for us."
—Kifah Samara, Software QA Manager, Hunter Industries
Helix ALM Ensures Accountability and Confident Results
Soon after expanding their use to the full Helix ALM suite, the controller division realized a new level of certainty. Now, each design verification testing (DVT) project begins and ends in Helix ALM. Requirements are entered in Helix Requirements Management (RM), which automatically generates test cases based on that information. Test case management is much easier now, too. When a test case is executed and a defect is created, it is linked directly back to the test case and the requirement, and eventually to a testing result.
Samara no longer has to spend hours manually reviewing everyone's work. With just a click or two, he can see if all the requirements are covered, easily identify any significant turning points, and confirm all the defects are linked to a test case.
From a management perspective, there is more accountability at all levels of the development process, with much less effort required from the quality assurance manager and the project leads. Responsibilities and workflows are crystal clear, and results are logged every step of the way.
Essentially, Helix ALM helps Hunter Industries controller division manage their team and workload more effectively, and helps prevent costly and unnecessary product failures.
"Innovative solutions and high-quality products are key philosophies at Hunter Industries. One of the ways the controller division makes sure we live up to those standards of excellency is by using Helix ALM," Samara said. "Plus, the team at Perforce is wonderful to work with. Finding a company willing to go out of their way for the customer is invaluable."