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Technical, or “non-functional”, assurance is a wide ranging discipline. Activities focus on understanding and improving the Quality of Service of a solution and on targeting very specific technical or operational risks. These are not purely “test” activities, delivering them demands a mix of test and engineering skills.
Quality of Service issues tend to emerge in the real-world if no action is taken to head them off. Issue with performance, reliability and service availability are common. Defenses against these threats can include load testing, soak testing, failure and resilience testing, reliability testing and compatibility testing.
Systems or activities around changing a system can have very specific technical or operational risks. How long will it take to transform the data set? Does the application operate reliably on the new operating system? What happens if a data centre failure occurs? Aspects like this need carefully defined and precisely executed testing.
A common mistake is to attempt an “all encompassing” test of “the technical stuff” just before go-live. As with other types of assurance, a late, big bang, test is a poor plan. Assurance needs to study and influence the requirements and design, starting early, rather than simply test things to destruction.
Analysis, of what the system will experience and of where it is vulnerable, is as important as traditional testing. Layers of activity, using different approaches, each with a different emphasis are needed to detect different types of problems. Work needs to be done during the formative and build stages of the project rather than at the end otherwise it will be found that problems can’t be fixed. Fixes are technically infeasible, too expensive, can’t be done in time or would require too much re-testing.
At SQC we have many years of experience identifying quality of service and technical threats, of figuring out how to tackle them and of building the tools and the plans needed to test them. Our people are used to leading on these aspects, to leading the execution of tests and then to leading the work needed to find root causes and fix problems. They take accountability for driving technical assurance to a successful conclusion.
Our engineers work with teams, in a structured way, to crystallise meaningful non-functional requirements, to identify risk, to shape designs with sound non-functional behaviours and to help fix things that don’t work well. We convince the sceptics that, really, something down there isn’t working well. We help you to deliver a great Quality of Service and to avoid those occasional, but deadly, technical catastrophes.
The range of services we offer includes assurance of:
We do this using our well proven capabilities in the areas such as: