Customer Stories

IPERS transforms IT testing process

The Iowa public pension provider needed to standardize its testing process and streamline comms between IT and the business stakeholders.

  • The company

    The Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) is a $32 billion public pension system serving more than 350,000 members.

  • The Challenge

    • To standardize the overall testing process
      Improve planning
    • Streamline communications between IT & the business.
    • Provide an easier way to communicate test results with their software vendor

The result

Quality management now operates as a partnership, with both of these key areas of the business as stakeholders. Original Software reinforces our view that accountability is critical for success.

Our client-vendor relationship with our primary software provider has been transformed. Specifically, defect process times have been slashed, from identification to resolution

Martin Moens Deputy CIO

Productivity

Reduced time to prove testing

Proof

Audit trail created

Efficiency

Increased efficiency

Process Control

Improved consistency of process

Vendor relationship

Improved vendor relationship

 The challenge

The Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) is a $32 billion public pension system serving more than 350,000 members. Its mission is to administer a cost-efficient retirement plan that provides lifetime pension payments to public employees and serves to attract and retain a quality workforce.

Recently, a planned major upgrade to its system administration software required IPERS to standardize its testing process in an effort to streamline its communication between the IT team and the business stakeholders. Through an RFP process, Original Software was selected as the best technology tool to accomplish its testing goals.

Prior to 2015, IPERS did not have a formal testing strategy. Sharon Stilwell, a management analyst at IPERS, says, “Our testing was left up to the individual, who relied on spreadsheets and self-knowledge to test what they felt was needed.”

Testing was done more on an ad-hoc basis than a documented process tracking test results. Each tester followed their own best practices; some used screenshots for documentation, and others did not.

IPERS testing process suffered from a lack of structure, documentation, detailed scenarios and consistency. With a major system upgrade in the near future, it was essential to standardize the overall testing process.

The solution

Using Original Software’s Qualify and TestAssist, IPERS is able to accomplish its goals of transforming its testing process in an environment where communication between IT and business stakeholders can flourish. Chief Information Technology Officer Rick Hindman says, “Original Software creates an environment where both IT and business users are held accountable, with an enhanced transparency of processes. Original Software provides a single view of the entire Quality Management process.”

Original Software creates an environment where both IT & Business users are held accountable, with an enhanced
transparency of processes..

Rick HindmanCTO

Better interface with vendor

Pointing to the critical nature of the system administration software services provided to IPERS, Moen wanted to maintain a good relationship. To that end, the vendor has three analysts on site with access to Original Software solutions. This has improved communications, resulting in quicker defect resolution and a much improved vendor-client relationship.

Reduced time to prove testing & consistency of process

Linda Rogers, a system analyst, increased her efficiency using an Agile methodology (Original Software supports Agile, Waterfall and Hybrid methodologies). Sharon Stilwell wanted to apply consistency of process across all testing efforts and improve planning ability for both IT and business users. With Original Software, not only can defects be fixed quickly and more easily, the consistency of process now makes the testers’ lives much easier!

Creating an audit trail

Another challenge developed for IPERS after applying patches. There were no means to determine how the software performed. Now, with Original Software, the specific point in the process where the function works correctly can be identified, and IPERS is able to document that action. Additionally, historical data gathered from each phase is extremely helpful in planning future testing and identifying team members with specific testing knowledge. Proof of testing with a complete audit trail, including screenshots, improves efficiency.

The vision moving forward

With a more efficient process in place and a centralized view on quality, IPERS’ next step is to increase automation in user acceptance testing. Hindman sees Original Software as the core of this vision of excellence. He feels that Original Software will drive more efficiency and free up time for planning in such areas as onboarding process documentation and training.

 

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