Case Study: G3 Technologies

G3 Technologies Leverages SmartBear QAComplete to Reduce Manual Application Testing Time by 84%

About G3 Technologies

Established in 2001 and based in Maryland, G3 Technologies (G3T) is a privately-owned, self-funded growth company that provides next-generation wireless solutions. The leadership team consists of veteran engineers brought together from industry-leading organizations—including Lucent, True Position and Tektronix—who focus on developing custom solutions to serve the current and future needs of fixed and mobile wireless operators, wireless infrastructure vendors, and wireless consulting companies.

Business Need

Thriving in the ultra-competitive wireless market requires both product innovation and product quality. “Innovation helps you attract first-time customers, but quality turns them into long-term, repeat customers,” explains Andrew Park, VP of Engineering for G3T. “Sustained business success and healthy margins are fueled by a strong base of loyal repeat customers who don’t shop around each time they make their next purchase. Innovative features are eventually copied by competitors, but superior software quality is much more difficult for competitors to emulate. Most organizations struggle to even get there.”

As G3T experienced rapid growth and significantly expanded its software development and testing teams, Park needed to ensure the company could continue building and enhancing next-generation solutions that featured both innovation and quality. Early in the company’s history, software testing and test management were handled manually with much of the information stored inside people’s heads.

“When development teams are small, this process can work to a certain extent,” Park points out. “But as you add more people, the process can begin to bog down if too much information resides in people’s heads or in non-centralized information repositories.”

To remain competitive, G3T product platforms grow in features and sophistication each year. This is reflected in constantly growing code bases and rapid growth of test plans. In some cases, managing test plans in different tools resulted in test cycles taking up to as much as six weeks because of the product complexity.

“We needed better tools to manage testing processes effectively and help our testers complete their test cycles more efficiently,” Park says. “Utilizing a centralized test management tool became even more important as we hired new people. It would help lower test planning, management and organization time so we could get new features to market more rapidly.”

“We used to average about three releases per year for products that advanced to the sustained stage, but with all the tools we have adopted, we are up to 12 per year,” says Park. “Our forecasted release schedules are also much more reliable—QAComplete and TestComplete play key roles in helping us make sure our releases are not delayed.”
Andrew Park, VP of Engineering

Targeted Solution

G3T was using an internal tool developed in IBM Domino for issue and bug tracking while Excel and Word documents were predominantly used for test management. The test plans in Excel were undergoing constant revision, and hence, scaling the test management process became challenging.

While researching possible solutions to help manage, plan, organize and accelerate the test management process, Park was determined to utilize a tool that meshes with the overall software development approach applied by G3T.

G3T utilizes a unique software development methodology customized to their business and internally labeled “The G3 Engineering Way.” The methodology emphasizes superior software architecture while maintaining low bureaucracy and fostering quick, decentralized decisions. Hence, deploying a test management process that fit G3T’s custom methodology was critical to the selection process.

Another criteria Park looked at while deciding on a test management tool was the vendor’s willingness to listen and work with G3T. And finally, since G3T used SmartBear TestComplete for test automation purposes, robust integration with TestComplete was also critical

To improve the existing test management process, Park considered multiple tools, including IBM Rational Quality Manager, HP Quality Center, and offerings from Atlassian. But he found that SmartBear QAComplete offered the most cost-effective solution with the right balance of capabilities.

“We particularly appreciate the customizability that QAComplete offers, giving us the ability to define forms, fields and notifications. This way, we don’t have to fit our process to the tool; we can customize the tool to fit our process. QAComplete easily adapts to the specific processes we have in order to optimize our development.”

During the evaluation process, the SmartBear team also collaborated with the G3T team to ensure G3T gets the most out of QAComplete. Over time, the collaboration between the two companies has continued to improve. The team at SmartBear continuously works with G3T and constantly asks for feedback on the upcoming roadmap for SmartBear products and ways to improve QAComplete.

“The team at SmartBear listens to our needs and helps us maximize the utilization of the tool,” Park says. “This accelerates the business performance of our development and testing teams.”

With an ability to send tests to QAComplete right from within TestComplete, G3T testing teams increased their throughput even more and thereby improved the utilization of resources. “We try to keep our team as small as possible and are always looking for tools that provide productivity and a quality boost,” Park says. “We have thus invested in testing tools like QAComplete and TestComplete more so than most companies, and we work closely with partners like SmartBear to help keep improving their tools.”

Benefits and Results

By helping G3T articulate test plans and efficiently manage manual and automated tests, QAComplete allowed Park and his team to scale up its activities and involve more resources in the testing process. “QAComplete is so easy to learn that we can temporarily use resources from our engineering team as well as new hires and interns to conduct manual testing when we’re in a crunch,” Park reveals. “This gives us much more agility so we can hold off on bringing in more QA/test resources until necessary, which in turn helps control our resource costs.”

Experienced engineers at G3T create the test plans in QAComplete as well as the manual tests, which typically range from 1,000 to 4,500 manual tests for a single product. Park then spreads the testing assignments out among several resources.

“With the help of QAComplete, we have reduced our average testing cycles from six weeks down to two and sometimes as little as one week,” Park reveals.

Key features that G3T finds most helpful include issue tracking; the ability to easily manage manual and automated tests; defect tracking; the ease of tracing the requirements to be tested; and customizable report generation. These capabilities helped Park and his team establish themselves as a reliable profit center in the company with a strong base of loyal, repeat customers.

“A lot of our sales are due to the great software work we’ve done,” Park says. “QAComplete helps us establish and maintain the high quality standards that customers cherish in our software products.”

Productivity has also increased significantly. As application test plans have grown, Park’s team has used manual testing in QAComplete in conjunction with the automated test creation capabilities in TestComplete. The net effect has been decreased test cycle times and improved speed and agility of releases.

“We used to average about three releases per year for products that advanced to the sustained stage, but with all the tools we have adopted, we are up to 12 per year,” says Park. “Our forecasted release schedules are also much more reliable—QAComplete and TestComplete play key roles in helping us make sure our releases are not delayed.”

Business Challenges

  • Maintain product innovation and quality in the ultra-competitive wireless market
  • Streamline application testing as development and software testing teams grow rapidly
  • Create centralized systems for managing software test plans and building tests
  • Reduce testing cycle times so products and new application features go to market faster

SmartBear QAComplete

  • Meshes with unique software development approaches
  • Provides required testing features at a lower cost than IBM Rational Quality Manager and HP Quality Center
  • Features customizability to define forms and fields to match any test flow process
  • Integrates with SmartBear TestComplete to further increase test throughput and maximize resource utilization

Measurable Results

  • Allows testing to scale and involve more resources to help control costs
  • Reduces average testing cycles by 84%—from six weeks to as little as one week
  • Helps establish and maintain application quality
  • Assists in increasing product releases from 3 to 12 per year
  • Enables predictable release forecast schedules

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