Softeco “Integration and Validation (I&V)” is a dedicated team of specialists that, in line with the best practices in the field, is not directly involved in the development of projects in order to always guarantee an objective assessment of quality and adherence to the requirements of the customer.
The group has its roots in the decades of experience in delivering solutions and HW + SW products whose reliability in service had to be very high. This led to a consolidation of “practices” transversal to every complex project that we face.
This methodology aims to detect any errors or deviations from agreed specifications and requirements, the consequent quality parameters determination and associated variances of the metrics shared with the customer.
The applied operating mode depends on the type of solution. For example, part of the activity planned for the software components implies to checks the source code, examining the development documentation to verify and validate the implemented algorithms.
I&V implements and applies the dynamic verification of the product by applying different methodologies:
- functional test: to ensure that the capabilities meet customer’s needs and fully meet the requirements.
- integration testing: to ensure that all the software and hardware units that works stand alone without problems, operate correctly when used in a single integrated system.
- system testing: to ensure that the system functions properly when inserted in complex scenarios.
- acceptance test: carried out in most cases at the final customer site.
The I&V team often develops automated tests tailored to the required needs. Automating the process enables to make repeatable and objective verification measures. Maximum automated testing efficiency is reached with non-regression tests, that in case of evolutionary changes can sometimes be disregarded.
As part of the project life cycle, the integration and validation phase is implemented with rigorous, structured and repeatable process, with the use of specific tools and technical skills.
In his role of product/solutions quality certification body, the I&V group is involved in all life cycle stages:
- Analysis: first step is the customer requirements analysis and the identification of any standards to be considered and applied during the project.
- Planning: the group makes a careful planning of the project, considering all associated aspects such as the required instrumentation and licenses definition, the assessment of functional areas that need to be considered and the efforts needed to ensure the quality objectives to be achieved, with respect for the time and costs agreed with customer.
- Test specifications definition: definition of test set specifications to be used in the operational phase, driving the group’s activities and allowing to trace the evolution and adherence to the plan. At this stage the balance between automatic and manual test is established.
- Functional test: during the test phase, I&V group and the laboratory team operate in an integrated manner in order to improve the quality of the product. Following the performed tests and encountered problems, the laboratory produces the necessary patches to solve problems and for activity going on, converging towards a growing quality of the product.
- Defects trackin: the workflow between I&V and the laboratory is effected through the use of a bug tracking tool, in which I&V reports all the information necessary to the laboratory team in order to replicate and solve the problems, while also providing some minors information such as, for example, the problem severity, the reproducibility, the existence of any work-around, and others, which allow the laboratory a better bug-fixing planning.
- System test: systems test are an important Validation activity in which the product/solution is added to complex network scenarios and stimulated to work interfacing with other products (interworking). In this final stage migration tests are carried out in to assess the impact on the installation of a new release on the product already in operation, to perform load test to push the product to the maximum performances and structural and performance regression testing to verify that new developments have not compromised already established operation of the product.
- Testing reports and customer release notes: tests results and quality measures of the product are submitted to the customer.
- Acceptance testing: the activities of the group does not end with the delivery of the product/final solution but continue also throughout acceptance tests phase at the customer’s site. In this case the I&V group acts as the first interface to provide information, detailed explanations or assistance and provides a first response to any comments made by the customer.