Nordea Bank

Modernizing toolsets, centralizing automation, and establishing a consistent QA approach at Nordea Bank
8.5B
Euros in operating income
17
countries served
200
years of service
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Overview

Nordea is a leading Nordic universal bank which has been helping its customers realize their dreams and aspirations for 200 years. With a total operating income of EUR 8.5bn in 2020, Nordea is one of the top ten financial services companies in Europe and maintains an AA rating. In addition, Nordea has won numerous accolades for being one of the world’s most sustainable corporations as well as a leading corporate and investment banking firm.

As a large bank with multiple business units, technology for development and testing had sprawled across teams and business units. After an IT reorganization, leaders realized greater efficiency of scale could be reached if efforts were centralized into a common “QA Capability Group.” As part of the change, the QA Capability Group inherited all of the tools each business unit had been using and were given the task to consolidate their QA strategy across the various business unit landscapes.

“Our customers are at the center of everything we do, and that extends to QA as much as the rest of the business.”

– Andrew Armstrong, Group Head of QA and Testing at Nordea

The group quickly discovered that over 40 different QA tools were being maintained by various groups. They covered all aspects of testing: test case management, test data provisioning, test automation, test environment management, test reporting, and more. Groups were also supporting multiple automation frameworks using different programming languages, creating significant overhead in terms of maintenance and inefficient delivery of automation across the bank.

“We realized we needed a strong foundation to base our test strategy on. We needed automated delivery of testing and automated execution of our QA process, our traceability, and our QA reporting,” says Andrew Armstrong, Group Head of QA & Testing for Nordea.

Corralling diverse testing needs into a unified platform

As the team began to evaluate the obstacles in combining testing for the various business units, some challenges stemmed from their lack of an efficient test case management solution.

The first issue was the size of the organization and the communication, reporting, and traceability that would need to be consistent across business groups, development teams, and testing groups.

The various testing groups were unknowingly re-creating the same test assets for use in integration testing – resulting in significant overlap and inconsistencies.

Integrating open-source automation tools into the DevOps CI/CD pipeline had proved difficult, if not impossible, in the past. Lastly, the bank aspired to support a true companywide Agile transformation without losing the value contained in legacy assets.

Challenges

  • Diverse business landscape within the organization needed to be consolidated into a centralized QA group
  • Wide variety of QA tooling and duplication of capabilities within the various teams – over 40 different test tools
  • Multiple automation frameworks, tools, and approaches using different programming languages, causing huge overhead for maintenance and inefficient delivery across the bank
  • Lack of efficient test case management solution – things were created multiple times in multiple areas, creating wasted effort and inconsistencies
  • Needed to support Agile transformation without losing the existing value in legacy assets

“qTest was fulfilling every aspect of the success criteria. We made an official decision to move forward with qTest as the standard tool for the bank.”

– Fehmeed Ijaz, Head of QA Efficiency from Nordea

Multiple QA teams, multiple QA needs: One solution

The QA community from every department at Nordea came together to contribute towards the selection of a standardized test management solution. They needed a single tool to bring together test process, test management, automation, and reporting to create a foundation for the future. The group established a list of key capabilities and success criteria for the tool selection process. The list included greater traceability of requirements, scalability, enablement of QA automation, reporting, integration with best-in-class automation tools, and the ability to support their Agile transformation.

A dedicated team representing different divisions of the bank set out to find the right test case management solution. After seven months of assessments, the group of 70 stakeholders agreed on Tricentis qTest as the test case management tool of choice for its ability to meet every key capability and a successful proof of concept.

Building a foundation of quality through test case management

qTest has become a central part of Nordea’s SDLC. Test planning and test reporting as code are areas where qTest streamlines and manages the process. “qTest lies at the core of our automation effort,” explains Fehmeed Ijaz, Head of QA Efficiency from Nordea.

“We have already managed to implement automation into test planning and test reporting. In a matter of a few clicks, both the release test plan and the release test report can be generated in an automated way.” This goes a long way towards Nordea’s goal of automating different QA activities that were once a time-consuming and manual process.

Outcomes

  • Reduced efforts related to maintenance due to standardization of project templates
  • Essential data is captured to prepare critical business metrics
  • Consolidated multiple legacy tools into a single source of truth for QA
  • Test planning and reporting are automated QA activities
  • Manual and automated tests can be planned and tracked through a single tool for a comprehensive quality report to stakeholders
  • Custom test management templates ensure continuity across departments and teams for reporting
  • Integrations to developer tools such as Atlassian Jira bridge the communication divide between development and QA

Quality gates are implemented around qTest. As part of the CI/CD pipeline, different quality gates ensure quality criteria are met at various points. When criteria are not met, the team is able to break the pipeline in order to address the underlying root cause of the issue quickly.

qTest’s webhook integration design with developer tool Atlassian Jira ensures a seamless transition from development to QA activities, and ensures the Nordea test process is translated to test management. Requirements that are developed in Jira are imported into qTest, where they are analyzed by the quality team for the test design phase to begin. “As soon as we link test cases to the requirements, we start traceability and start the measurement of quality,” says Ijaz.

Functional and non-functional testing are both planned in qTest across different test cycles, which also includes both manual and automated tests. Automated test frameworks interface with qTest for both test planning and results tracking. The quality process is monitored from development to delivery through the data tracked in test templates custom-designed by the Nordea teams for qTest. Business-critical deliverables and status KPIs are generated for testing leaders through this process as well.

Today, the foundation for success is in place at Nordea. Their focus is to use this foundation to drive their business goals of meeting their customers’ and business expectations. “Our customers are at the center of everything we do and that extends to QA as much as the rest of the business,” says Armstrong.