VOO Telecom Finds Powerful Multi-Department Flexibility Using Helix ALM
Helix Test Case Management (TCM) meets the needs of both IT and technical departments for the internet, telephony, and television service provider owned by Nethys, a Belgium-based company.
Why VOO Telecom expanded their use of Helix TCM
Easier to use than competitors
Capability for huge tests
Able to isolate sets of functionality with requirements
At the time of the experiment, we had five projects inside Helix TCM, and now we easily have 60 or 70 projects. We definitely see the benefit of using Helix TCM.
Every company, no matter how small, has islands within it. The boundaries that define those islands can be geographical, departmental, or personal, to name a few. But one constant is that those islands are often inhabited by groups of people who share a common goal and have specific ideas about how to reach it.
For instance, while technical departments within a single company often use the same general purpose software for documents and spreadsheets, they have different needs and preferences, methodologies and workflows, and their own more specialized software tools. Sometimes, however, the spark of an innovative idea and the desire to collaborate encourages departments to set aside barriers. VOO Telecom is a great example of how an experiment in interdepartmental collaboration led to the adoption of a test management tool that improved the repeatability and processes for both groups.
VOO Telecom is an internet, telephony, and television service provider owned by Nethys, a Belgium-based company that owns a variety of providers in the energy, telecommunications, and industrial development sectors.
A few years ago, Geoffrey Zanelli came aboard as VOO's new testing manager in the technical department. At that time, the technical department was using Microsoft Word and Excel for test cases and test case management, while VOO's IT department was a long-time user of Microsoft SharePoint to run their tests. Due to company growth, the technical and IT departments were starting to feel hindered by the limitations of managing their testing with those tools.
Zanelli was aware that a defect tracking tool—Helix Issue Management—was currently being used by a different group within VOO's technical department. Helix Test Case Management had been brought in originally by a director who liked it because it had similar functionality—yet was more affordable—than other solutions, like HP Quality Center. Helix TCM's potential as a robust and structured test management system seemed too great to be using it in such a limited fashion, so Zanelli decided to explore the possibilities…but not just within his own department. He saw wider-reaching benefits.
The Experiment: Extending Helix TCM to Both IT and Technical Departments
After some investigation, Zanelli felt confident that he could extend the use of Helix TCM within and beyond his technical department, to include the IT department. A new mobile development project that involved both the technical and IT groups was ramping up—so Zanelli decided it would be a perfect time to undertake a mutual experiment.
"I was collaborating with IT," said Zanelli. "We were using the V-Model for testing; the guys from IT were using it for the integration of development. My team was responsible for the customer's side of the project, acting as customer to test the customer's experience through development. So we documented everything in Helix TCM."
Zanelli and the IT department committed to documenting all their tests and related items in Helix TCM. The plan was to use Helix exclusively and exhaustively, to get the fullest possible measure of the tool's flexibility. Could it really be so easily adapted to two different departments' ways of working? Time would tell.
After that first project using Helix TCM, "the IT department was quite convinced that Helix was easier to use and reuse for the release. The concept of continuing a project, release by release, and reusing a set of tests was easier with Helix TCM than with SharePoint." —Geoffrey Zanelli, Testing Manager, VOO Telecom
"So the IT department started to use Helix TCM intensively more than two years ago for their releases," continued Zanelli. "They developed their own release template, their own reporting, and are now really using it in depth. They use Helix TCM for release validations—they believe it's easier to create status reports and plan regression testing with Helix over SharePoint. It reduces the effort of testing and improves testing coverage at the same time."
But the positive outcomes of that interdepartmental experiment weren't limited to just the IT department. "In the technical department, we mostly use Helix TCM for our internal projects," Zanelli said, "but we also just finished a new project that we brought to market, where we managed something like 1,200 test cases and 15,000 test runs with Helix TCM."
Flexibility and Folders…the Name of the Game
Beyond the walls of VOO's IT and technical departments, TestTrack's flexibility also makes a difference when it comes to working with outside suppliers. Much of the technical department's development process is dictated by the processes used by their suppliers. As Zanelli explains, "The supplier's process is made of drops, which are kind of like Agile sprints, but take longer than six weeks. The Helix ALM suite makes it easy to work with drops because we can isolate sets of functionality with requirements."
Zanelli has found that folders are important and useful for regression testing and organizing and prioritizing testing. Helix Requirements Management with TCM allows his team to isolate test islands by requirements, and folders are important for organizing drops. And Helix Issue Management (Helix IM) is the platform they use for bug reviews with outside suppliers.
Helix ALM is seen as a real asset by everyone." —Geoffrey Zanelli, Testing Manager, VOO Telecom
Word Has Gotten Out
So, where do you go after uniting the IT and technical departments on a common test management tool, with nearly 70 projects under your belt? Onward and upward, of course.
"Based on TestTrack's reputation within the company, the global group IT department came looking for a structured way to organize their testing during rollouts," said Zanelli. "I showed them TestTrack and they immediately recognized that it's a very good way to crystallize and organize tests—methodology, experience, test plans, and so on—and to be more efficient with regular deployments."
"Because it's easy to show how TestTrack adds value, it's easy to evangelize to the company. At the time of the experiment, we had five projects inside TestTrack, and now we easily have 60 or 70 projects. We definitely see the benefit of using TestTrack." —Geoffrey Zanelli, Testing Manager, VOO Telecom