Quality Assurance in the driver’s seat

In 2016, Skånetrafiken started their journey to deliver world class public transport through smart digital services. System Verification was contracted and has literally built quality into every aspect of software development – from tools to mindset. An effort that pays off.

“Today all members of the team think, and act based on a quality perspective. For the developers it is extremely rewarding to experience features that work from start and for the client it is certainly a big win in both time and money,” says Tobias Anderson, who is leading the QA team from System Verification.

Integrated QA models from start

But let us start from the beginning in 2016. At that time, Skånetrafiken, who are the public transport company in the South of Sweden, launched their project to develop a new modern ticket system, and the development company Stratiteq and System Verification got the chance to prove their capabilities. Which they have certainly done. With focus on quality, they have designed a development process with integrated QA models and a test automation framework that never accepts any new features without having a QA expert giving the go. This process means increased efficiency and higher quality. Sound easy? Yes, but it implies that everyone, regardless of role, adapt a quality mindset. Tobias Anderson, tells us about an optimal start:

“Firstly, Skånetrafiken did the right thing to hire external parties to handle development and quality assurance, which gave them the possibility to receive experts. Secondly, Stratiteq gave System Verification a position at an early stage of the project. That is unusual, but crucial if you want to achieve the same results as Skånetrafiken.”

What effect has an early QA position had on the result?

“Having the development as well as the quality assurance perspective when estimating requirements, means that you don’t plan your project based on old standards. The estimated amount of time for each discipline will correlate to your ambitions. If you want to design a sustainable digital platform, you must count in QA,” says Tobias Anderson.

Strategy to make quality happen

To integrate QA models into the development process and make people “think and act” Quality Assurance, requires a strategy. One element is high transparency. At Skånetrafiken, developers as well as QA engineers work with the same tools, the same technologies and they use the same programming language for product development and test automation – and it is the QA perspective that rules.

“Every choice has been made based on a quality perspective and with the goal that everyone in the team must have access to the same information. This provides a deeper understanding for how to deliver quality,” says Tobias Anderson.

Same tools, technologies and programming languages also give another benefit:

“It brings people together. The developers and our QA experts often discuss and solve common challenges as a team.”

Tobias Anderson, Test Manager, together with Paul Ulvinius, Head Of Architecture at Stratiteq.

Think first – check in later

Another great win of working tightly together with the developers, is that the QA experts can make sure that all new features are testable. This leads to shorter lead times for testing, which in turn means that the developers don’t lose focus on their task which often happens when they need to pick it up later. Now they can develop in a testable way directly.

“We take part in the daily discussions. For example, if we hear developers discuss whether the code will work or not and say that maybe they should “just try to check it in”, we help them. Using the test automation framework instead of thinking is inefficient, the bugs come back,” says Tobias Anderson.

A bright future

In the last three years, focus has been on designing a test automation framework that fits into a modern development project, delivering test cases to cover a constantly growing product and implementing a team wide quality mindset. The pace of development has been high. In the upcoming years, the project will gain from previous efforts and continue to add innovative features without the fear of breaking the product.

“We are enormously proud of this project and the position Quality Assurance has in the team. Together, we have built a platform that will help Skånetrafiken achieve their vision of delivering world class public transport through smart digital services – with high quality.”

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