Assurity volunteers first to aid the Red Cross

Explore Assurity 27 August 2014 Yvonne Tse

When a call came out from Simon Morris for Assurity volunteers to beta test the New Zealand Red Cross First Aid app, 12 colleagues and I immediately jumped at the chance. It was a great opportunity to develop our mobile testing skills, as well as to actively contribute to a product that could help save lives.

New Zealand Red Cross is associated with community outreach, including relief following natural disasters, meals on wheels and refugee services. A major part of their work is the education programme, where individuals take first aid courses and receive training for emergency situations. Their new First Aid app aims to provide information to people more efficiently and effectively and enable them to be more prepared for emergency situations. The app consists of five major categories: Learn, Prepare, Emergency, Tests and More.

Guided by Jamie McIndoe, we formed self-organising ‘feature’ teams that focused on different functionalities of the app. All team members had different levels of experience and we ensured that each team had a good knowledge of various mobile devices.

Each team developed a different method of collaborating, whether through updating an email chain or a Google document. Web-based collaboration enabled each person to log defects and identify whether the issues found were isolated to their own device, or if it was a defect that affected multiple devices on different platforms.

This approach meant that each individual could work in their own time, but the defects were still consistently logged across a team. Most testers used exploratory testing to gain a better understanding of the app, with some teams using Visual Modelling and Session Based Test Management to ensure functionalities were covered efficiently and effectively. The team’s enthusiasm and commitment to the task meant that we had identified a significant number of defects in under a fortnight.

One of the key challenges was collaborating with other team members in the limited time period, particularly with everyone having different client commitments. Adding to this complexity, we had keen volunteers from all our offices – the majority in Wellington and some from Auckland and Christchurch. However, it did not take long for this process to reveal a real advantage of mobile app testing – the fact that it can be done anywhere, at anytime.

Assurity’s company value of ‘We Care’ was clearly demonstrated in this experience. Testing was conducted outside of work hours and during weekends to ensure we had comprehensively covered the app’s functionalities. The app itself serves as an education and preparation tool and has the potential to affect many New Zealanders’ lives. Testing the app brought the group together and it was great to be able to use our expertise for an organisation whose services have a far-reaching impact in the wider community.

In essence, the New Zealand Red Cross is all about people – and as this testing collaboration showed, so is Assurity.

The team was made up of Aaron Hodder, Ambica Dixit, Daniel Tong, Ed Stewart, Isham Kalideen, Jad Pamment, Jamie McIndoe, Joanna Yip, Natasha Nath, Navatha Buddharaju, Rupert Burton, Shakeel Mirza and Yvonne Tse.