Technically strong, cohesive QA team assures smooth releases
Do you have a bank credit card? Maybe even two or three? If so, you are familiar with their points programs which you accumulate through bank card purchases and redeem for merchandise, travel, discounts on future purchases, etc. Keeping track of your own cards and points can be challenging – imagine the work that goes into tracking and protecting all that constantly changing information at the banks!
To appreciate the complexity and precision required of these systems, and the critical role that QA plays in assuring smooth, reliable consumer experiences, consider all the moving parts involved to support a redemption system:
- The core database of information collected and managed by the bank card.
- A “point bank” where points are accumulated and tracked. These are sometimes serviced by outside vendors.
- The redemption system where points are used to purchase merchandise or travel. This is typically an outside provider with expertise in booking travel arrangements and/or purchasing and distributing merchandise.
- Information security programming to protect sensitive consumer data that is being transmitted to multiple departments and companies. This too, can be an outside service.
Assuring quality and a smooth consumer experience when redeeming points
Coherent Solutions has been providing a team of Minsk-based QA professionals to a redemption service provider for over four years. The Coherent QAs are woven tightly into the team of onshore QAs, providing more than just extra bodies to handle overflow work.
“The Coherent QAs are technically strong and very dedicated,” explained the client’s QA team lead. “They get up to speed quickly whenever we have changes and we can count on them to stay on top of the work.”
That work consists of testing software changes for about 50 bank card clients who each have their own rules, requirements and rewards that change according to the markets, the seasons, promotions, upgrades, etc. The QA team makes possible about 200 updates and additions a month, each of which can require at least tens and often hundreds of tests. Their job is to uncover the thousands of possible breaks, across myriad browsing environments, with changing rules, all while securing sensitive consumer data – and make it look easy, the way an Olympic figure skater does.
Both manual and automated testing are required to cover the breadth of changes – from small to large, and simple to complex. While automated testing takes out the fallible human component, it requires lots of upfront time developing and standardizing test cases. The work pays off in the long run for oft-repeated functions. But manual testing is still needed for one-time cases, like setting up an online account. It is also useful when it pays to have a human, with his or her knowledge of the system and its requirements, review a vital piece of software.
“Our QA team handles all the testing from very simple updates to major website overhauls,” explained the team lead. “We are here to assure smooth production releases. Given all the moving parts of data, sources and uses, as well as demanding timelines, our work is pretty vital to both the organization and users.”