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Online Retailer engages Roq to deliver full Managed Test Service

The Client 

The client is one of the largest direct mail order businesses in the UK. Whilst historically catalogue based, a growing tendency for customers to shop online means that sales via the Internet now make up a significant percentage of the company’s turnover.

The range of products sold is diverse, covering leisurewear, electrical, household, textile, bedding, furniture, nursery products, gifts and greeting cards. Many of these can be personalised in the division’s in-house facilities which are unmatched in UK retail.

The business was embarking on a major refit of its online offering, upgrading all of its 5 web site platforms to the IBM Websphere Commerce solution. This was to bring enhanced functionality, an upgrade to an industry recognised tool which would provide reduced support overhead and, along with other work streams in the program, deliver cost efficiencies and enhance sales and marketing practises.

A third party provider was employed to deliver the technology for this change and due to the magnitude of the project, the client was conscious of the risk. Site downtime would result in lost revenue and a damaged reputation which would impact on repeat business, thus further affecting turnover.

Roq’s Solution

In order to mitigate the risks faced, Roq was engaged to provide a Managed Test Service to help the client deliver the change programme and associated technology. Roq provided an onsite test team comprised of Manual and Automation test experts to plan and execute the functional testing component of the project.

The delivery method was Agile SCRUM, delivered using the Roq Agile Test Method. Key challenges within this were that the client and implementation partner had limited Agile experience and would need clear process to support them. One of the early phases of planning provided examples of the need to clarify business requirements so that the team could demonstrate when a User Story had been delivered.

A further objective of the service was to leave an automated regression testing legacy which would be appropriate to support future change.

A Test Strategy was produced and the test team was brought onsite to work alongside the development team. A deliverable was to be a new, Selenium Web Driver-based Automation Framework and was adapted from the Roq Automation Framework. This approach allows form-based test step entry by manual testers which is then converted to JAVA based automated scripts for execution by Selenium. The Selenium tests, together with JUnit tests used by developers, are executed as test packs from Jenkins and the results published to a reporting engine offering web, handheld device and email notification services.

Early Sprints identified a number of issues which were acting as blockers to delivery. Roq, together with the client sponsor, used Retrospectives to identify improvement opportunities that were adopted into a refined delivery cycle as the project progressed.

In order to manage the delivery of the stories, RallyDev was introduced. This is now owned and championed by the test team. As part of the new tool, internal processes had to be created or adapted to meet the client’s and third-party development teams’ needs. For example, a new defect management process was created to minimise effort and increase efficiency when handling defects.

Testing types include (but are not limited to): data migration, web testing, complex pricing tests, cross-browser testing, data import and functional automation.

The Outcome  

Roq was quickly able to get up to speed with the demands of the project and as such, their involvement has clearly demonstrated the benefits of independent testing to both business and delivery team members. Roq had direct influence on the delivery of the requirements ensuring that what the business needed, the business received.

The Managed Test Service has delivered value for money and delivered key components to ensure the project’s continued success. This includes an Automation Framework which can execute the Regression tests on multiple environments, across web platforms, ensuring all work conducted is future-proofed against further development work.

The project resulted in zero site downtime, thus maintaining the growing revenue stream and ensuring there was no damage to customer reputation – invaluable in today’s market.

If you’d like to find out more about how Roq can support your business, please email us at




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