Swiss Government Health Care System OSIV Migrates From Spreadsheets to TestRail
Learn how TestRail’s transparency, reporting capabilities, and ease of use provide the QA team at OSIV a way to improve the effectiveness of their testing, communicate more clearly with key stakeholders, and ultimately deliver new releases with fewer defects in the field.
Open System IV (OSIV) is the central case management system for disability insurance applications in the country of Switzerland. Swiss healthcare officials process over 1.5 million disability insurance applications and claims each year, making the OSIV a crucial component of the country’s essential healthcare infrastructure. It must remain functioning at all times, meet constantly changing regulatory and business requirements, and maintain high levels of security while dealing with sensitive government data.
Before switching to TestRail in 2017, the OSIV software testing team managed their test cases through combinations of Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, and Confluence pages. According to OSIV Test Manager Torsten Zelger, “We lacked transparency when relying solely on spreadsheets and content management systems. It’s a challenge to gather the right information for everyone and understand where we are in terms of testing and coverage.” He continues, “For me, the main goal is transparency. This is easier to achieve with tools like TestRail which are specialized in testing software.”
Because the OSIV team works in a highly regulated environment, OSIV’s most significant software testing challenges came down to improving organizational communication, transparency, and visibility into their testing efforts and workload.
With five years of prior experience using TestRail at another company, Torsten knew that TestRail was the right choice to support OSIV’s test management efforts. Torsten explains: “It was never a question that we needed a professional management tool for these test cases. Whether you start from scratch or already have experience in test management, TestRail is simple to use and provides transparency.” Torsten and his team ultimately decided to move to TestRail in 2017 for its transparency and visibility, reporting capabilities, and ease of use.
Visibility and Transparency
One of the most significant advantages of TestRail over spreadsheets or other content management programs is improved visibility into testing efforts. According to Torsten, “If you had to maintain all of this stuff in Word, Confluence, or something similar, it would be too complicated and nearly impossible to also track the history of executed tests. With TestRail, when a test fails, I appreciate the ability to immediately see its history and get answers to questions like ‘So when was the test last executed?’ ‘We executed that one successfully last week, so what happened since then?’ ‘What happened since a month ago?’”
With TestRail, Torsten and his team have far greater transparency into their testing status. He states, “With TestRail everyone can use the main link and see where we are in terms of testing. The goal is always to have transparency. Questions like, ‘Where are we with the tests?’ and, ‘How many test cases have we executed in this test plan?’ Are important.” The level of transparency that TestRail provides Torsten and his team gives them greater visibility into their testing progress. He explains, “[TestRail] provides transparency. If something goes wrong, we have something to track and we can ask ourselves, ‘well, did you miss the test? Did we exclude the test case on purpose?’”
Now, Torsten and his team can easily see whether they have achieved their goal of executing all critical test cases, achieved their 80% test coverage target, or linked any defects found during testing with one click to build backwards and forwards traceability.
With TestRail, OSIV could standardize its test management in a centralized system. This centralized platform serves as a knowledge base or, as Torsten states, “an encyclopedia of product features” for OSIV’s testers. Torsten explains, “TestRail is our knowledge base. While we have user stories, our features are always changing, making our user stories obsolete. TestRail is the only place where we can maintain the current behavior of the system, so it’s a vital tool for us.”
Moreover, with TestRail as their shared knowledge base, they can conveniently share their insights with management, have informed discussions on testing progress, and address any intermittent issues while testing.
“Without TestRail, it is like someone took your car away and you have to ride a bicycle instead. For short journeys, it’s okay but if you want to go on a long journey, it’s almost impossible.”
With TestRail, OSIV streamlined its testing workflows. TestRail allowed them to document all their test cases in a single place, write repeatable test cases in a structured format, and record test results consistently. More importantly, by giving everyone on the team access to TestRail, they could have more meaningful communication between departments, better collaboration across the QA team, and improved visibility into testing efforts.
One key component to the visibility TestRail brought to the OSIV team is TestRail’s Jira integration. TestRail’s integrations with other software development tools like Jira allow the OSIV team to communicate the status of testing more effectively with the development team, track the status of defects, and prioritize test cases. Torsten explains: “We have Jira tickets linked to our failed test cases so we can have an immediate answer to questions like, ‘What’s the defect and what state is it in?” Also, since we’re doing many regression tests, we always link the defects we use to prioritize test cases later on. For example, suppose we execute a test and it is unsuccessful in finding a bug. In that case, it’s a candidate for getting a lower priority whereas other test cases that always seem to fail have a higher priority.” TestRail gives Torsten and his team the advantage of being one click away from having all their test result data pushed to Jira.
TestRail also provides OSIV robust reporting options. These options help Torsten efficiently and quickly communicate the status and current level of product stability within internal teams and management. Torsten explains, “Without TestRail, we would just dig in the mud and provide management with a ‘good feeling’ of what we did. With TestRail in hand, we have solid evidence of our actions. When a defect makes it into the field, we investigate why that happened. Did we miss that test? Did we exclude the related test by purpose? Was it successfully tested? Is there something else happening at the customer level? TestRail helps us provide that evidence for what we did, like a fingerprint that left a mark.” When management wants to know if projects are ready to ship, TestRail allows OSIV’s QA team to demonstrate –with confidence- that they have coverage of the project’s requirements and that the product has passed all tests.
Ease of Use
One of the most significant advantages of TestRail is its ease of use, more specifically, its intuitive workflow and ease of onboarding. Torsten explains, “TestRail is simple to use, the learning curve is very minimal, and you can just start from scratch without any prior experience.” He continues, “Recently, we asked our developers to support testers during manual regression testing. After a 20-minute introduction, they were ready and able to use TestRail. No further support or training was needed.”
“You can start immediately and there is no training needed to perform the most important testing tasks. TestRail provides everything that testers and test managers need.”
Furthermore, TestRail’s hierarchical folder structure inside the test case repository—coupled with the ability to visualize and organize test cases into suites and maintain that organization within test runs—made it easy to quickly spin up runs, prioritize test cases, and track progress. For OSIV, TestRail also requires zero IT, infrastructure management, or updating from Torsten or anyone at OSIV.
TestRail’s transparency, reporting capabilities, and ease of use provide the QA team at OSIV a way to improve the effectiveness of their testing, communicate more clearly with key stakeholders on their team like developers and management, and ultimately deliver new releases with fewer defects in the field. According to Torsten, “After ten years of working with TestRail, there is nothing I’m missing to do a professional job. TestRail is a tool that helps us have confidence and provides evidence that what we’ve done was done in all conscience.”
Since switching to TestRail, the QA team at OSIV has improved the entire team’s confidence in deploying new releases. Torsten states, “TestRail helps us provide evidence for what we did. The accuracy of the TestRail reports that we give to management is worth a lot. What’s more accurate and confident than being able to argue with exact data on what you’ve done and what you have not?” Torsten continues, “In the end, you need to have the confidence that the information gathered during testing is accurate, complete, and available when needed. It is crucial information when it comes to the decision to ship/deploy a release to production. It also serves as evidence when critical questions are addressed to the test team in case something goes wrong in production.” TestRail provides the OSIV team with the tools to confidently accomplish more testing while maintaining a stable yet fast-paced testing environment.
“We (OSIV) use TestRail to reduce the risk of failing and to avoid a chain of extra costs and resources involved when hotfixes are needed. I can confirm that we have avoided a lot of serious bugs being shipped to customers by following the instructions and goals we maintain in TestRail.”
One of the results that TestRail has provided OSIV is that they are able to save time, accomplish more testing, and consistently meet their 80% test coverage target. Torsten explains, “If we are not able to use TestRail and the information we needed was not readily available, we would be sticking to the old ways of doing things which would mean we would spend a lot more extra time managing test cases and test suites and have less time for the actual testing itself.” TestRail’s transparency, reporting, and ease of use provide the QA team at OSIV with everything they are looking for in a test management tool.
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