The Rainforest Alliance

No-code testing for low-code development at The Rainforest Alliance
400+
critical defects detected using automation in 2 years
90%
business risk coverage
80%
reduction in regression testing time (2 weeks to 2 days)
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Overview

The Rainforest Alliance (merged with UTZ in 2018) is an international non-profit organization that is active in more than 70 countries, operating at the intersection of trade, agriculture, and nature. Their goal is to make responsible business the new norm. Several core applications are critical for collecting data for their certification programs. The criteria for the certification program differ per crop or even per country in order to be as relevant as possible for each specific situation. For example, a coffee farmer in Brazil is checked on different points than a cocoa farmer in Ghana. These criteria are translated into many specific business rules in a complex software system that must be extensively tested.

With their legacy systems, it was challenging for IT to implement the changes requested by the organization. In addition, because there was no automated testing in place, manual testing was required on any changes to ensure the highest quality of both systems and data prior to release. Manual regression testing would often require a minimum of two weeks to test all functionality of the core systems and was prone to human error. For on-demand business checks of code to push even the simplest of changes live, the Rainforest Alliance had to run a full test regression suite manually.

Business leaders at the Rainforest Alliance determined the best path forward would be to transform their systems with a low-code approach—and transform their testing in parallel with a no-code approach.

Challenges

  • Legacy systems were difficult and time consuming to update and test
  • Evolving standards and regulations required systems to be updated more frequently
  • Manual testing of changes required a minimum of two weeks
  • Manual testing did not deliver the desired rigor and precision
  • Testing focused on the UI level, which resulted in delays and limitations  

Solution

The Rainforest Alliance brought in Valori to help them build and test the next generation of systems to run their certification and traceability platform. Valori, a leading Dutch QA and testing group and valued partner of Tricentis, was chosen based on their expertise of OutSystems’ low-code development and reputation for enhancing the quality of releases with help of Tricentis Tosca.

To accompany the low-code development work, Valori and the Rainforest Alliance selected Tricentis Tosca to push their test automation efforts forward. Tosca’s no-code structure complements OutSystems’ low-code development: both enable business and technical users to collaborate closely and rapidly iterate to embrace changing business needs.

“The same reasons you choose low code for development are often the same reasons we suggest no-code automation tools.” says Brian Van Den Brink, Outsystems Test Engineer and Test Coach at Valori. Testing is now a central part of the development mindset at the Rainforest Alliance. Business analysts, developers, and test automation engineers work side by side to ensure quality from the first unit of code. Regular meetings are held to ensure code written by the developer will fully meet the user story and requirements written by the business analyst. Test experts take part to ensure unforeseen issues are included in the automation tests and considered during developer implementation. This process — leveraging Business Driven Development with Tosca — creates a greater understanding of expectations and a more efficient feedback loop through the development and testing process.

Outcomes

  • Next generation of systems built with low-code OutSystems platform and tested with no-code automation
  • Regression testing time reduced 80% — two weeks to two days
  • On-demand regression of a single system now possible in less than an hour
  • 400+ critical defects caught in regression testing over two years
  • Greater alignment of expectations from business analysts, to development, through testing
  • Teams release with confidence

“It’s a major efficiency boost for the organization to have this stability check before we deploy.“

— Madhu Iyer, Information Technology Director at The Rainforest Alliance

“The release times have also drastically improved as a result,” adds Patrick van Alphen, DevOps Engineer at the Rainforest Alliance. “Automation instead of manual testing is one of the DevOps principles we embrace within the Rainforest Alliance. Using Tosca makes this automation possible. Valori helped us implement Tosca and their specific solutions for OutSystems enabled our dramatically accelerated release times. Based on these experiences, we plan to extend this practice to other platforms within the Rainforest Alliance to ensure we can provide stability and reliability for our services.”

Four Tosca automation engineers support the work of 20 developers across five scrum teams. Developers run automated tests at the unit level before releasing to the test environment daily. Automated unit, component, API and UI regression testing for each release can now be executed at the Epic or even User Story level. The smallest regression run now takes approximately 10 minutes; testing the full application takes somewhere between one and four hours, depending on its size. This allows time for multiple runs or spot checks of code updates. Full regression of all systems that’s once required two weeks can be completed in less than two days.

Quality at speed is now sustainable thanks to their testing approach. In the first two years, 400+ critical defects were discovered early in the initial regression phases, allowing faster response from development and preventing issues from reaching the release pipeline. The Rainforest Alliance leverages risk-based testing to ensure they are testing the most critical functionality first and have achieved 90% business risk coverage on all systems.