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Summary

An award-winning, agile project – underpinned by accelerated, error-free testing – dramatically reduced the delivery times for new tariffs in a UK top 6 energy company. In a competitive market, rapid product introduction marks out winners from losers.

Challenge

Every time the client introduces new products into the energy market, it has to make underlying changes to the code base. New tariffs mean new documentation, new customer instructions and additions to the database rate tables. Get it wrong and it can have regulatory, financial and reputational repercussions. In the past, every change required four test specialist to run through 20 test scenarios, typically taking five days. A time consuming and largely manual process, it was prone to error and was a major contributor to the four-week timescales it took to rollout new products. For them to stand out in the highly competitive utilities sector, it needed to significantly reduce its time to market.

Solution

When they introduced agile project management methodology in order to get its products to market faster, SQS brought its own testing and methodology expertise into play, as well as its existing knowledge of their systems and processes. By fully automating the test and assurance regime, the SQS specialists who were embedded into the project team sought to reduce timescales and human error rates.

Outcome

The results were outstanding, bringing greater speed, efficiency and quality to product rollout. Testing timescales were cut from five days to two hours,
allowing product introduction to fall from four weeks to just four days. In addition, increased automation reduced error rates and meant that multiple products could be tested and launched simultaneously, bringing even greater efficiency to the process. As a result, npower launched defect-free products on to the market, helping it stay one step ahead of its rivals.
The success of a project was also recognised at the company's internal awards.

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