In the webinar achieving success in core system testing, panelists Martina Conlon, Senior VP Novarica; Andy Edwardson, CIO & VP IT Farmers Alliance; Kathy Blankenship, Director QA American National and James Carlucci, VP Insurance shared their experiences with the core systems replacement projects. This article outlines 7 recommendations from presentations of the panelists that insurers and assisting vendors should implement to successfully lead core system testing initiatives.
It is a best practice in general for testing to look to the left i.e. to include testing earlier in the project life cycle rather than waiting until development starts and then start looking to the right. Include testing in the pre-planning, project inception and requirement gathering phases. Shift-left testing approach helps deliver quality software at speed and encourages collaborations among business, development and QA teams to deliver innovative software continuously.
Develop a proper testing strategy at the beginning of your project. In the pre-project planning phase, define your testing strategy to identify:
- The types of tests that you would execute.
- Who is responsible for test planning?
- Who is responsible for test execution?
- What tools will be used to manage and execute test activities?
- Who will develop the test cases and what format they will in?
How P&C carriers can successfully lead a core system testing? Click below to view the on-demand webinar Achieving Success in Core System Testing and learn from the experts from Novarica, Farmers Alliance, American National and ValueMomentum
Application specific testing
Adopt application specific testing approach to ensure quality of core system modernization initiatives. Application specific testing ensures thorough testing of core systems such as Policy, Claims, and Billing, while taking into consideration the various dimensions of these applications. These vary across Product, Business Process, User Workflows, State, and Writing Company. For example, in User Workflows, all individual user roles including agents, underwriter, CSR, billing representatives, and claims personal among others have to be considered for testing, as each of these roles perform unique functions using the core systems. Application specific testing ensures optimized test coverage across dimensions that are specific to application in context i.e. PAS, Claims or Billing.
Ensure requirement structure can support testing strategy
Ensure that the requirement structure and level of detail support your testing strategy. Review the structure and granularity of requirements in advance to ensure that test case development and overall testing strategy can be supported. Ensure that the requirements are adequately articulated so that testing teams can understand easily and develop appropriate test cases. For integrating out-of-the-box systems, document its expected behavior to test and find existing errors of the base line system before making any changes specific to your environment.
Continuously test within and between sprints
Outline test cases at the beginning of development and conduct unit testing (responsibility of the development team). Then follows smoke testing, functional testing, regression testing (automate regression testing as early as possible), end-to-end testing (full upstream and downstream process) and planning for stabilization period/sprint. Conduct non-functional testing (i.e. integration testing, security testing, and performance/ load/ stress testing). Have the SMEs or business people conduct the user acceptance test. Continue the automated regression testing throughout the life of the system.
Invest in Test Automation
Invest in test automation early and across multiple architectural layers (i.e. UI, process, services, APIs, and database) to ensure individual components and services are validated as they are developed. This helps reduce defects during integration testing and system testing of the end product. Extend the reach of automation beyond test execution automation to gain full benefits. Adopt a holistic approach to test automation by fostering automation across test life cycle, i.e. from test design to test execution for functional, regression and end-to-end testing.
Implement agile test methodologies
QA testing usually has a trade-off between quality and speed with the traditional testing approach. Adoption of Agile test methodologies is the right approach to support the fast pace of Agile software development and deliver quality systems at speed. This approach also supports the goals of sprint releases, system integration testing, and regression test phases. Some of the benefits of agile testing are: faster time-to-market, lower costs, improved quality, etc.
Build the Test Center of Excellence (TCoE)
Implementing a Test Center of Excellence facilitates centralized testing services across all business units in the enterprise. TCoE enables visibility into application quality across projects enables reducing defect slippages, fully controlling and measuring application quality, and sharing testing resources, tools, and optimizing budget costs.
The core system replacement projects are huge, which impact the entire enterprise as an insurer and demand substantial time, effort and investment. Testing plays a critical role in success of these projects. To ensure quality of software deliverables, QA teams have to breach boundaries of traditional methodologies if needed and adopt effective practices and methodologies to keep up with the demand of quality deliverables at speed.