CACI Powers Irish Census with Helix ALM

When developing the infrastructure upon which Ireland's census runs, CACI leverages Helix ALM for a fully integrated process from requirements management and QA cycles to deployment in a single, well-organized, and accessible system.  

The result? Improved requirements management, test management, and issue tracking, more efficient collaboration, and a secure history of every step in the development and QA lifecycle. 

How Helix ALM has improved productivity

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Consistent, dependable, and intuitive interface

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Well-organized, accessible system

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Great testing and tracking capabilities

We could have shopped around but, given our experience in 2011, there was no need for us to look beyond Helix ALM product suite.

Helix ALM supported all the things we needed it to—from planning and workflow to security and transparency—in a centralized application lifecycle management structure.

 

Unlike most other countries, the Central Statistics Office in Ireland is tasked with conducting a census every five years. West London-based CACI delivers IT solutions to clients designed to meet their statistical and data management needs. Conveniently, CACI had already developed and managed Ireland's census processing systems in 2001 and 2006.

When CACI was awarded the Irish Census processing contract for a third time in 2011, the team needed an alternative to Microsoft Word and Excel to manage their software development and QA process. While they needed a way to assimilate historical information, they also needed a better process for capturing and managing requirements. Census data is integral to policy and planning for Ireland's infrastructure, such as schools, health care facilities, community improvement initiatives, and employment programs, so producing accurate and reliable results is essential. 

CACI's Irish Census team turned to Helix ALM — a solution that had provided excellent issue management for other CACI project teams over the last 11 years. The result? Improved requirements management, test management, and issue tracking, more efficient collaboration, and a secure history of every step in the development and QA lifecycle. 

 

Testing Out Helix ALM

With a fixed timescale and an immovable deadline, the team implemented only Helix ALM requirements management and issue management features for the 2011 census.

"All aspects of the Helix suite worked well together and provided a consistent and intuitive interface," said Colin Toms, CACI Project Manager and lead on the 2016 Irish Census.

When CACI won the 2016 Irish Census contract, they needed a solution to help organize and administer the various aspects of the process, combining everything from requirements management and QA cycles to deployment in a single, well-organized, and accessible system. They would be responsible for the design and printing of over 2.8 million survey forms; creating the infrastructure on which the census process runs; and delivering a software solution that reads, captures, and codes the handwritten answers.

Alone, that makes for a big job—but the mission-critical aspect of the census makes it all the more important that CACI's processes are resilient and robust. Implementing a full application lifecycle management solution from day one was a high priority.

 

Complete ALM, One Solution

In preparation for the 2016 Census project, CACI spent more time configuring the software to fully support the entire lifecycle of the project, as well as investing in a truly integrated process by having developers, testers, business analysts, and the end client all using Helix ALM. What's more, CACI has since extended this approach to all of its large-scale project deliveries.

"We work closely with both our suppliers and customers in integrated project teams and we use TestTrack to make the whole process seamless," Toms said.

As an example, the granularity of requirements enables reviews and sign-offs to be broken down into smaller tasks that can more easily fit into busy and demanding schedules. If needed, requirements can also be expanded into more detail for developers or testers, ensuring everybody gets the detail they require to do their jobs.

"We knew we were getting a robust solution, and Helix ALM has fully met our expectations when it came to automatically routing materials, securely sharing access, and supporting collaborative working. TestTrack is an ideal tool for keeping an overarching view of everything across all stages of the project." 

—Colin Toms, CACI Project Manager 

More recently, CACI held a testing workshop with the Central Statistics Office where they presented test cases and other elements of Helix ALM to both the census division and other, non-census divisions. The result? Ireland's Central Statistics Office has licensed Helix ALM for use in its user acceptance testing of the Census System delivered by CACI.

"CACI now has a better structure for testing and tracking, a better system for reporting, and a complete history of all the things that have gone on across the entire lifecycle of the Irish Census project," said Toms. "Helix ALM is invaluable to us and we're confident in recommending the suite to our clients. That says a lot."