If we’ve seemed a little quiet recently, it’s because we’ve been very busy behind the scenes developing, preparing and testing software critical to support priority business functions planned for this summer.
On the SIS programme, we ensure that any software we develop and implement for staff or students across the university is “fit for purpose”. To ensure this, we systematically gather requirements from various departments across the university, convert them into “User Stories” which then get developed in Agile Sprints (SIS Development Approach) and tested before deployment into live.
CAS functionality goes live
The good news this week is that CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) went live on Monday evening (5th June) so we can now produce a CAS from the SITS live environment.
A CAS is needed to support Tier 4 student visas required by some international students to live and study in the UK. More information can be found on the government’s website.
What is UAT and why do we do it?
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) – is the final test phase in our assurance approach where software is tested with ‘live like data’ by the business users who will be using it to carry out their work on a day to day basis in live. They’re the ones who know exactly what it needs to do and can confirm that it meets the needs of the business and hence is “fit for purpose”.
For the last couple of weeks we’ve been focusing on the SITS CAS module where we’ve concluded User Acceptance Testing (UAT) carried out by a selection of end users from Admissions, Visa Compliance and Finance teams spread over six days. The activities were co-ordinated by the testing team with support from the Product Owner and Developers.
How does UAT work?
So, for example, for Admissions we would develop business scenarios where an applicant who has applied for a single course and requires a Tier 4 Visa is then able to complete the questionnaire for the CAS which is subsequently sent to the applicant and to UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration).
For this we create dummy applicants (you know the ones called Micky Mouse or Lady Gaga) and test their experience of using the system to make sure it can handle the required tasks in ‘real world’ scenarios. Only when all business critical functions work as expected does the system (or upgrade) go live.
Given the challenges we faced in testing and delivering the solution to schedule, we delivered training in parallel to the User Acceptance Training so that users were able to familiarise themselves with the system ahead of it going live.
As CAS generation is expected to ramp up during June, we’ve offered users the support of the development and testing teams and space in our office, to make sure we are nearby should they need us.
Next up, we’re testing for Clearing, and will bring you an update soon