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Let's Talk About Test... Pascal van den Brink

September 12, 2017
Pascal van den Brink, test manager at Hanos.
Pascal van den Brink, Test manager

In this blog series, we speak with test managers and test coordinators from various industries. At Testersuite , we like to hear the various views on testing and what occupies a test manager or test coordinator. Meet Pascal van den Brink, test coordinator at HANOS.

Who is Pascal?

I am Pascal van den Brink, 32 years old and I live in Apeldoorn. I am married, I have one daughter and the second daughter is on the way. I have been working at HANOS for more than 16 years, the last few of which as test coordinator in a SAP project.

Can you tell us something about HANOS?

HANOS is a wholesaler for the hotel and catering industry. At HANOS, customer satisfaction comes first and we strive to have the freshest and highest quality products. We ensure a pleasant experience for our customers. In addition to an extensive range, customers can, for example, receive advice on a wine that goes perfectly with a dish, or they can get tips on how to put together dishes. We also provide luxury Christmas hampers that can also be customised.

How did you end up at HANOS?

When I was 16, I started working in the warehouse at HANOS as a part-time job. I had completed an IT training course and then wanted to study logistics and economics. It turned out that this course was not for me. I quit the course and started working full-time at HANOS. I've had various jobs. From forklift truck driver to order management to logistics employee for the Christmas hampers. But I was still interested in IT and at HANOS I was given the opportunity to go into IT. I was first a system administrator for six years and eventually moved on to the role of functional tester.

"I think it is important to train our testers. This also raises awareness about the importance of testing".

What is your current role at HANOS?

When the SAP implementation started at HANOS over three years ago, I took on the role of test coordinator. We thought it was important that the business itself should test, but there had to be a degree of control. At the moment, we have finished rolling out SAP and are busy optimising it. The changes we make are implemented on a release basis. The Change Advisory Board (CAB) determines which changes are implemented in which release.

I am now doing the preparation and coordination of the testing of the releases. For this, I have created test sets and datasets. Our team consists of four consultants (functional administrators) and two ABAP developers. Together (in the CAB), we compile the releases. There are also about fifteen people from the business (key users and end users) who carry out tests. The consultants mainly do unit tests and exploratory testing, the business testers do structured testing using the test and data sets.

We have a release every four weeks. The first two weeks, we specify the test cases and testing is done by the consultants and developers. If new processes need to be tested, I take the initiative to sit down with the business team and draw up the test scenarios. I use existing test cases as much as possible. The third week, the business starts testing. If the quality is good enough and there are no more blocking issues, the release goes to production. In the fourth week, aftercare is provided; high-priority incidents are resolved. In addition, in the fourth week, we start with the preparations for the next release; the functional and technical designs are made.

What does your day look like?

At 6:50 I am on my bike on the way to work. I only have to bike for five minutes. When I get to the office I start processing my open emails. Then I check which changes are ready in TOPdesk for the upcoming release. I set up tests in Testersuite for the changes that need to be tested. As test coordinator, I also often join project meetings. I also manage the SAP authorizations. I test the authorizations and roles myself, then I have SAP users test and accept the authorizations (the User Acceptance Test).

What challenges do you face as a test coordinator?

My greatest challenge is to get the people in the business to free up time for good, concentrated testing. In doing so, I strive to have the testers focus on the processes where the risks are the highest.

How do you solve this?

I schedule the tests a few weeks in advance so that the business testers have the opportunity to make time for them. This works well because it is fixed and agreed in time. When we start testing, I prefer to do it in a separate room. The business testers prefer not to test on their own workstations. In this way, I ensure that testing is concentrated and carried out properly. I also sit with the testers and try to turn off as many of the jammers as possible, such as telephones for example. This works well. When we are together, we can quickly coordinate matters if necessary. For extra support, we train our testers. Soon the testers will receive the course 'Structured SAP Testing' from PTWEE. The aim is to increase awareness of the importance of testing and to give them tools for structured testing.

You use Testersuite, how do you deploy this within the test cycle?

Test cases were created for all SAP transactions used at HANOS and we combined them into test scenarios. If a release is to be tested then I will prepare the relevant test scenarios and indicate which variants are to be tested. The variants are provided to me by the consultants and/or developers. The test scenarios contain the ticket numbers that are also in TOPdesk. The testers run the tests in Testersuite and immediately record the defects . I check the defects and determine which ones should be picked up by the consultants and developers. The defects are resolved and I am automatically notified when they are resolved. The business testers retest the defects and close the defects when they are properly resolved.

"Everything about Testersuite is convenience. You can pull an unknown person off their bike, so to speak, and have them work with Testersuite "

What is the added value of Testersuite?

For me as a test coordinator, it is very nice to have a good tool with which I can easily do test preparation and test coordination. With Testersuite it is very easy for me to prepare all the tests in the right order. It helps give structure to my test cycles. I find the Masterlist module a useful feature for managing and using (retrieving) the regression test cases and test scenarios. In addition, you can easily retrieve test results and defects in Testersuite . This allows us at HANOS to check if something has been tested in the past. Another advantage of Testersuite is that it is very easy to use. You can, so to speak, pull an unknown person off his bike and have him work with Testersuite .

I find it very positive that Testersuite informs customers well about new features. The changes are described in release notes that we can read in the help documentation. When there are new release notes you will be made aware of them when you log in to Testersuite. In addition, you have the opportunity to attend short webinars explaining new features. I recently attended a webinar in which, among other things, the import function was explained. The import function was something I was struggling with a bit in the beginning. After the demo and explanation in the webinar, it was completely clear to me how it works and what the possibilities of the import function are. What I also like about Testersuite is that they realize customers' wishes. When I look at where the product was three years ago and where it is now, it's a world of difference. My compliments! If it were up to me Testersuite would be a product that stays with HANOS.

How do you see your future as a test coordinator?

I want to further improve the test sets at HANOS. I aim for better quality, better tests and better testing by the testers themselves. I also want to see if we can do some more testing outside the happy flows. In addition, I want to investigate the value of automated testing for HANOS and I want to follow an Agile training course in 2018. So there are plenty of challenges on the agenda for me!

What developments do you see in the testing profession that are worth mentioning?

Automated testing is the future. Test preparation as it exists today will continue, only some actions will be automated. This takes less time. Checking the test results will also remain a manual job. I see the development of Agile working, also in SAP environments. Bringing short manageable pieces live, that is definitely the future.

Do you have tips for other test managers?

My first tip is the importance of planning ahead. Realize the importance of reserving your people at the times when they actually need to test. I also have another tip regarding Testersuite. Make good use of your Master List and keep your test set current. It is important that the structure of your products and requirements is good. Then you can hang your test set on that and easily select tests for test cycles.

Do you have interesting experiences in the testing profession that you would like to share? Let's talk!

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