An overview of my career to date ...
Please click on the logos below for more information on those engagements
I have worked with Acutest for ten years. During that time I have been involved in delivering test consultancy services to a range of clients, developing test reporting regimes, mentoring key test staff, planning testing at a programme level and delivering successful acceptance test phases. The range of clients I have dealt with are shown on this web page.
I worked with IBM for ten years in total, moving in seniority through the ranks of consultant levels. My greatest achievement in that time was when I was tasked with setting up IBM's e-Business Testing Services unit (eBTS) in 2000 from a standing start as a specialist tools-based test competency, primarily delivering performance testing across a range of IBM Global Services projects.
Customers included Barclaycard, Aviva, Cazenove, Comet, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Kwik-Fit Insurance, Lloyds-TSB Insurance, Peugeot, Reed Elsevier, O2, Safeway and Video Networks.
I recruited, mentored and trained a young team of seven test professionals who, after a year with eBTS, were recognised by IBM as all being exceptional achievers and rewarded accordingly. By 2002 the team grossed $2million of earnings.
I was called into FSL to assist in the successful testing of their migration to a new data centre in Manchester. This involved all their hosted CGiX customers, their test environments, SharePoint and email systems as well as all development servers. I also ran a review of their test coverage of their core application and made recommendations going forward.
I joined the troubled PDA-ST project, rolling out new Android-based PDA devices to all Royal Mail and Parcelforce delivery personnel. As overall Programme Test Manager, I was responsible for turning the project round, highlighting the need for clearer requirements, getting better defect management processes accepted by both the developers and business teams, improving transparency in the software release process, and producing clearer, regular reporting of test progress and defect fixes. I also customised the main test management tool, HP ALM, to encourage clearer information was being recorded and documentation like release notes generated directly from data stored in the tool.
Prior to this I was part of the six-month ABBA project that addressed the transfer security levels of the Royal Mail's BACS bureau software. As part of the team, I provided a key flow of information to the business giving detailed reports on the processing success of each application stream as well as overall test progress. I also mentored the supplier's test team in risk based software testing and reporting.
Before this I had joined the Enterprise Intelligent Barcode programme (later to be marketed as Mailmark) at the inception of this programme. This programme sought to track business mail from sender through to destination by use of a 2D barcode in the address window. This involved creating data links between all RMG's legacy systems to track the data through all the business processes.
I worked closely with the system integrators and the software suppliers to provide a consistent view of the progress of testing across all the impacted systems, and developed tools to inject test data into the feeder systems and track progress through to reporting. The tools I created to assist in the reporting of test progress was adopted and implemented on several other RMG projects.
Previously, I worked with the VAT on Postal team after completion of the project initiation phase. I established a durable test strategy to provide overall testing assurance of two major changes in the handling of VAT within the Royal Mail Group within very tight and immovable time constraints. Firstly, the introduction of the new rate of VAT to 20% at the beginning of January 2011, and secondly to ensure the correct application of VAT to a wider number of postal services following a change in VAT rules as they applied to the Royal Mail at the end of January.
This meant liaising closely with the service providers’ test teams and co-ordinating business testers across the country. I successfully guided the testing effort through the planned project milestones and established a set of reporting tools to enable progress of testing to be closely monitored.
I joined LOCOG a year before the Olympic Games opening ceremony to help organise the testing of the organisation’s website (excluding the results facilities). I established links across a wide range of the project’s groups, from development, the large number of IT suppliers, commercial teams and the new media specialists. My role involved validating a range of new user-facing facilities being added to the website, including map capabilities using both Google Maps and Bing Maps, as well as themed mini-sites for the London Festival and the Olympic Mascots. My team was also tasked with ensuring that updates to existing facilities did not adversely impact the website, and supporting the non-functional characteristics of the collection of available services and mini-sites within the London 2012 website.
The non-functional testing involved me in exercising the content delivery facilities of the website, via the Akamai CDN service, validating TTL refresh rates, the website application firewall security facilities, load and performance testing, as well as the usability and accessibility of the website. I was also involved in validating the mobile phone version of the site.
To achieve goal this I established and mentored a team of testers with specialist skills to validate the user interface and security aspects of the site.
I joined the migration team for the Google Mail/Calendar Migration project following issues with the initial rollout to users of the different mail/calendar platform. My role was to systematically validate business scenarios possible in a mixed Outlook/Google communications platform.
In bringing more structure to the testing I could identify not only the symptoms of issues that could arise, but also the reasons behind them happening and help steer the project team's business and technology strategies during the rollout process.
The AEI programme was to develop booths with an automated enrolment and identity capability within High Street Post Offices to electronically capture personal data as well as a passport-style photograph and electronically transmit this data to the required service (the Home Office for passports and DVLA for driving licences).
I established a test regime that validated the security of this approach, the robustness of the message transfer protocols and the user functionality of the service. This meant assisting the Post Office in their systems integration role, liaising with, and meeting the needs of, very demanding service providers as well as establishing an effective working relationship with a specialised systems developer and overseeing the quality of software produced by their small development team.
I moved to the significant and strategic GS-VDC programme within BT to automate the ordering and provisioning of virtual data centres (VDCs) for BT Global Services customers, using an existing BT business web portal. I produced the programme-wide E2E test strategy, encompassing all related BT test activities, established and operated an effective and significantly improved reporting mechanism to identify progress as well as highlighting risks and issues. I also built the internal test team from scratch, including onshore and offshore contractor personnel.
I was also involved in the SMIT programme (a major change management system implementation programme within BT), with testing operations both onshore and offshore. The client's goal was to introduce an off-the-shelf solution to ensure best practice within the organisation. I overhauled the testing strategy, introduced a service level agreement with the external offshore testing team and worked towards establishing the full end-to-end test approach in readiness of the next release of software.
To drive down costs, the bank developed a strategy to create a virtualised applications server farm to gather existing and new solutions and run them from a common, unified platform. I developed a standard application profiling approach to ensure that the applications were suitable for migration into the farm without compromising existing systems which was applied to all new applications entering the farm.
I managed and delivered the performance testing for a new intranet website solution for the council which was designed to improve internal communication within the organisation, with the homepage eventually being the default initial web browser page for all council staff. With a tight launch period of four days, ramping online traffic from 400 to 4,000 users, the goal of the performance test was to identify, diagnose and enable Leicestershire County Council to resolve or mitigate any performance risks that might arise out of running such a strategic solution with so many online users.
I developed the performance testing strategy for this construction consultancy, who were in the process of implementing a new SharePoint QA application to encourage best practice, based on SharePoint 2007. The testing proved that the application could perform and remain stable during the peak usage, that their regional office performance was acceptable and highlighted bottlenecks in the infrastructure.
I managed the performance testing of the iQuanta website which provided a large repository of analyses on current police performance in England and Wales. The testing was to baseline the system performance following a major release upgrading to SQL Server 2005, an upgrade to a 64-bit server operating system, upgrade to .Net version 2, upgrade of DotNetNuke to latest stable release and an Increased server hardening.
A key client for my IBM eBTS team, we were a trusted supplier of non-functional test services and ran an extensive range of performance tests on this client's infrastructure. Our informal branding of the Thunderbirds was picked up by the Group Test Director and referred to in board meetings.
I led all the test activities for the second release of the bank's general lending and sales interview web-based solution. I was responsible for heading up the testing of a related release on the same platform offering a quick quotation system for the client's business banking division.
Through IBM, I was the test manager on the C&DM solution – The Parcelforce Collection & Delivery System was developed by IBM to support the collection, distribution and delivery of parcels, many of them to contractual deadlines. During my time with the project in the role of Test Manager, I established the project's test strategy and successfully steered the testing activity through to a successful user acceptance test phase without recourse to any reworking or retesting.
Curiously ten years on, with Acutest I delivered the testing on the latest evolution of this system for Parcelforce - now called PDA-ST - whilst working with the Royal Mail Group.
I led all the test activities for Project LubeAnalyst including several client test staff and subject matter experts. The bespoke solution being developed is designed to collect and manage Oil Condition Monitoring data for Shell customers globally and involved dealing with the development team which was outsourced to an overseas development company. I was responsible for a range of functional and non-functional testing activities for the project.
I established the System Test team for the Livestock Register Project. I was responsible for setting up a test management capability for the system testing activities for the project, ensuring consistency, cohesion and adequacy of system test activities, processes and deliverables across all workstreams and in accordance with Defra and CMMI requirements.
I developed and organised a test approach strategy and produce all test documentation and supporting material for the GTi Office Automation Project. The project had been running for ten months without any strategy for testing and required a QA/test approach as a matter of urgency. I also developed an MS Access Test Support database to manage the various aspects of the application test process. I then set up the procedure for the production of evaluation reports after an agreed period for each of the four key system pilots.
I was involved in several MOD projects:
PB&F Project (2004-2005) Led the integration, test, evaluation and acceptance team (comprising contractor and client personnel) on the Ministry of Defence's central planning, budgeting and forecasting solution. Based on COGNOS software, this solution is designed to serve the financial planning needs of all the armed forces, as well as civilian roles within the organisation. I was also instrumental in leading the setting up the RAD development process for the project and liaising with the various client sites. My contract has now been extended twice, from December 2004 to July 2005 and currently until November.
DILLON project (1998-1999) As Test Manager, with a team of two testers, I discovered that the mandated test tools that had been used were not being applied to best effect. This resulted in the phased testing process being hurried, labour intensive and generally ineffective. I set about replacing the test process that had evolved with a radically different approach in tracking the development process far closer and extended the power of the automated tools so that they could be ready earlier in the development cycle. This RAD testing approach has already generated results that would have otherwise gone unnoticed by manual testing and, following a presentation of initial results to all other IBM defence project managers based in Farnborough, several projects expressed an interest in using this customised version of the test tools.
Central IT Consultancy Service (1998) Initially involved in the evaluation of the impact of Y2k and EMU on the CASH infrastructure and the formulation of a suitable test strategy given the timescales involved and the potential resources available to perform the tests. In the process of gathering the background information for this task, I also instigated the initial setup of an intranet web site to give users access to application-specific and more general reports on the subject of system susceptibility to the year 2000 and the potential impact of EMU. I also liased with IBM's EMU team and attended their first EMU Conference in Bedfont Lakes. Following the successful completion of this task, on schedule, I was then asked to investigate another MOD site user's time recording requirements, evaluate a number of commercial off the shelf products and develop a suitable implementation strategy. Following a full evaluation of four software packages, I produced a report delivered a presentation to the Senior MOD project team in Upavon.
GP3 project (1996-1997) I worked within the project using state-of-the-art Delphi-based client/server technology integrated with a number of off-the-shelf packages (including a geographic information system) and supported by a Unix-based Oracle7 database. For the final eight months I was responsible for the design, production and delivery of well specified user acceptance test plans and test data, meeting strict project deadlines and achieving a successful application acceptance phase with an external customer without recourse to any retesting. I also led in the application integration process, clearly defining the system requirements of the application and developing a fully documented and automated bespoke CD-ROM installation process using Delphi Version 2.01. This installation disk was developed and refined over the course of the project and led to me becoming the key person in troubleshooting configuration difficulties.
Joined Midland Personal Financial Services (later to become HSBC) as a Junior Programmer and rose through the ranks to a Test Manager. This included the development of management information databases using MS Access and some development in MS Visual Basic. In this area I liased with many new areas of the business and developed a number of database and spreadsheet based solutions to replace burdensome manual processes. I also coached a number of junior members in the team to improve their analysis skills and program code quality. I also got involved with the systems training team to design, develop and deliver training to users at a number of Bank sites in Southampton, Leeds and Sheffield. In this role I replaced the existing Bank standard for systems training material production with a livelier, more modern style of presentation and delivery that subsequently became the de facto Bank standard for systems training resources for other training teams.