7SIGNAL

How 7SIGNAL built an effective quality engineering strategy from the ground up with Tricentis qTest

Company overview

7SIGNAL is a leader in enterprise Wi-Fi optimization, providing their customers insight into wireless networks and control over their Wi-Fi performance to better mitigate risk. Since 2007, the 7SIGNAL platform has empowered organizations like American University to improve the performance of their end-user Wi-Fi experience on their networks by collecting key Wi-Fi performance data and displaying it for easy analysis. 

7SIGNAL’s mission is to be a trusted partner to its customers by enabling seamless digital connectivity, optimizing Wi-Fi networks and connected devices from the outside in so that enterprises can mitigate risk, maximize productivity, and protect revenue. 

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    Industry: Software
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    Company size: 50-150
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    Location: Ohio, USA
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Challenges

  • DEVTest lacked quality metrics of a dedicated QA department
  • Needed to pivot away from homegrown tools to test management platform
  • Limited visibility into testing efforts
  • Higher than expected quality issues discovered in Production release
  • Needed board level metrics from a dedicated test platform without manual generation.

Augmenting DevTest with a dedicated QA team

When Ted Schneider joined 7SIGNAL as CTO, within 12 months he knew a crucial element in driving the 7SIGNAL mission of elevated service for its enterprise customers was laying a solid foundation in QA. The original technology team used a largely homegrown QA strategy, with few dedicated testers, DevTest methodology, and quality engineering processes revolving mainly around unit testing.

Having experienced the benefits of Atlassian Jira and a dedicated test management tool in a previous role, he made investing in the right test management platform with native integration to Jira a top priority. 7SIGNALevaluated Tricentis qTest alongside TestRail as the candidates for 7SIGNAL’s new test management platform, ultimately selecting qTest for its real-time, two-way Jira integration, cloud app-friendly structure, and robust reporting capabilities.

With Jira and qTest in 7SIGNAL’s arsenal, Ted moved next to growing a bespoke quality engineering team within the organization. His first hire, with software development experience, quickly became fluent with qTest, and from that first hire the first team grew to include five members worldwide.

“The ramp-up period was quite quick for the team, and we received some help in early setup from the Tricentis team, but the overall implementation did not disrupt our workflow,” says Schneider.

Sparking a quality engineering shift left company-wide

qTest’s integration with Jira proved immediately valuable, offering 7SIGNAL’s Technology team a way to submit hundreds of tickets a month and offering a way to track every item that’s part of 7SIGNAL’s monthly release, each of which gets tested in a beta environment before deployment. The infrastructure has since grown to include GitHub, Salesforce.com, and Microsoft 365 suite applications, all of which are cloud-based.

The team performs two Agile sprints per month and can quickly access issues, requirements, test cases, and results in both Jira and qTest, which Schneider says has been helpful for establishing traceability and visibility into a single record of testing. With this streamlined quality engineering workflow, 7SIGNAL’s quality engineering team can now automatically communicate progress towards release readiness to developers, with the test results aligned to each requirement to back up their assessment.

This improved communication between quality engineers and the developers has been “huge” for 7SIGNAL, enabling developers to access test results for a specific build or requirement in Jira as soon as they are available and respond with bug fixes in code much quicker than their previous method of checking for test results in shared spreadsheets.

“As a small company trying to grow rapidly, we have a clear and present need to catch issues early and often to communicate that back to developers,” Schneider says.

Improving release confidence

Continuous communication between quality engineering and the software development team and the ability to make data-driven decisions about release readiness has enabled 7SIGNAL to achieve fast growth objectives.

“The improved communication that qTest and Jira provide have absolutely boosted confidence in releases,” Schneider says. “Our sales teams are a lot more confident in the quality of our products, and our customers are more confident as well.” Since deploying qTest and Jira, 7SIGNAL has made significant strides in providing an excellent user experience for its customers. In fact, a “troubled” release last year that contained a critical error was a major factor in the decision to upgrade test management in the first place, and since the investment in qTest, the team has detected and stopped 23 bugs from slipping into production – two of which would have caused “real user pain,” Schneider says.

Schneider and the team have also benefited from qTest’s advanced reporting capabilities, which have helped with long-term planning. Simplifying historical test record-keeping for SOC 2 audits was another driver for implementing test management, and with qTest, the team is now over 80% of the way towards full SOC 2 certification, with an expected 100% completion within months.

Building towards a future of test automation at scale

With a solid foundation of test management, Schneider and team are planning to introduce test automation to support an increased scope of testing as the company scales. “I wanted to ensure we had support for some level of automation,” says Schneider.

Today, they perform some automated testing, with a goal of achieving a 60-65% test automation rate in the next 18 months, all of which will be managed, kicked off, and reported on through qTest. The team is currently evaluating multiple test automation frameworks, which they’ll primarily use for regression testing. “We want to take our time and do it right, and qTest helps us move at our pace,” says Schneider. With a central location to manage it all, Schneider has noticed his team is embracing the idea of automation at scale, a transition he says has been tricky for some of his past QA teams.

Schneider has only one regret: “We should’ve deployed this a lot sooner in our company strategy. Modern test management should’ve been a top-three priority for our DevOps team – we waited too long.”