Over the course of the programme, we completed approximately 270,000 tests of various types. We had a dedicated testing team and brought in subject matter experts from the business to test different products and services. Customer testing was key to ensuring that our products and services would deliver the outcomes intended.
The testing environment was highly complex with the need to extend our digital borders and test with multiple third parties. The testing team partnered with Assurity, an external consultancy to help develop solutions which overcame some of these the challenges.
One such solution was a cloud-based platform, which allowed self-service, automated testing by third parties, through Inland Revenue ‘Application Programme Interfaces’ (APIs), independent to and decoupled from Inland Revenues infrastructure and which was therefore secure.
Note: In the context of APIs, the word Application refers to any software with a distinct function. Interface can be thought of as a contract of service between two applications. This contract defines how the two communicate with each other using requests and responses.
Customer-centric design through testing
With software playing a big role in the transformation, there was a risk that technical change would drive an internally biased view of the world. Getting those details right was essential, however as the purpose of our transformation was to make tax and social products simpler, more certain and open for customers, we needed an outside in perspective to understand what good looked like for our customers.
To make this happen, we introduced customer interaction testing early on in the design process. This meant inviting customers to take part in sprints to define key functional areas which we then built bit by bit. Using customer engagement and rapid prototyping, we were able to discover what customers liked and quickly understand areas we needed to improve.
This and other innovations allowed us to take a customer-centric approach to the extensive, exhaustive, and continuous testing of new systems and processes as they were rolled out across the transformation.
Throughout this time, we learned many lessons in testing and to a large extent these have shaped the testing practices we use today. This has resulted in a single test strategy across Inland Revenue.