Print in the Channel - issue #6



‘overnight’. It theoretically saves half the time. All told, it’s a neat trick to pull off – if you can pull it off the right way. Luckily, Ricoh was able to do just that. The key throughout: communication. And the Streamline NX solution helped them to do that seamlessly. “We get our test team – or the senior members of that team – to collaborate with our dev team,” says Tom. “They participate in the specification process so they can understand what we are and what we are designing, and also identify gaps in the specs at that early stage.” With comprehensive, high-quality specifications, Ricoh’s testing team is able to kick things into gear with test plans. Feedback begins to flow. Dev communicates with testing on what they’re planning to test, and eventually there is a considerable reduction in the chances of something being missed. “A two-way flow of information between the test team and our development team is key for us to be able to do better things.” It is worth acknowledging the importance of continuity when it comes to working with an outsourced testing team. Effective communications between teams, and cultural alignment and harmony, hinges to no small degree on there being staff continuity. “This has been a big plus for us in working with FPT – they don’t have large turnover so nobody’s going to be at zero,” says Tom. “FPT has been very good at retaining key people on their team. Even their junior people are not job-hoppers. This is a challenge to working with a lot of outsourcing companies, but with FPT we haven’t had that struggle of constantly having to get new people up to speed.” Tom adds that Ricoh could not be happier with the partnership. “The reports we provide are complete, to the result that FPT can track down the problems they need to track down. Their team has built a solid understanding of how our software works, how our business works, and what our customers expect as well as how they are using our software or want to use our software. This understanding helps FPT make great decisions about how to test our software.” While this example involves businesses in North America and Asia, it could easily be applied to UK businesses – communication, especially secure communication is crucial and solutions such as Streamline NX can provide this for the printing and storage of sensitive documents across different parties.

“It’s been a big plus, and this is going back to the early days, when we found we actually got better communication with a team in the Philippines than we were getting from a team in the same time zone,” says Tom. “This has been a real eye-opener for us.” Ricoh initially did a six-month pilot with FPT. Ricoh found it was able to easily align with its partner in terms of getting structured test plans that matched their expectations. “We received daily updates. FPT provided very good test coverage and showed a strong understanding of how to exercise our software, to make sure we captured any issues we might end up discovering later at a customer site.” Ricoh noted that from day one, FPT has worked beyond spec sheets to assess and thoroughly understand their software. “When testing, it is to some extent human nature to look for the low-hanging fruit – issues you can resolve easily,” says Tom. “But FPT gives us more. Having an organisation that actually assesses our software – understands how it’s designed and develops a test strategy based on that – makes a huge difference for us.” While dedication and commitment have been key factors, the glue holding it all together has, again, been communication. The idea of offshore testing may be an attractive one for many companies – you finish programming during the day your time, and then the overseas testing crew comes in

A two-way flow of information between the test team and our development team is key for us to be able to do better things. “


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