No regrets: QA testing drives successful insurance core transformations

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August 2016


P&C insurers are making changes: transforming their core systems and processes, and adopting Agile methodology for development and quality assurance (QA) testing. Both steps are important, but insurers often don’t see the desired results—especially because there are steep learning curves involved. To succeed in the new setting, insurers should improve their QA testing function by looking at their people, practices, technologies, and core systems. Getting Agile right can make all the difference.

The rising need for Agile experience in insurance

Most IT organizations lack experience with Agile, with only about 50 percent of all insurers reporting using Agile for four years or longer. Further, just a quarter have at least six years of experience with the methodology.1 Unfortunately, this inexperience is causing many IT staffers to use Agile incorrectly, and they fall back on what they know... Waterfall.

The Agile QA testing disconnect

We’ve seen a variety of problems arise during QA testing when insurers are unfamiliar with Agile methodology and core transformations:

  • Insufficient Agile QA training, expertise, and framework
  • Teams not connected
  • Poor change management
  • Inadequate testing practices
  • Inadequate or insufficient testing environment and technologies

1 Agile at Insurers 2015, Novarica, July 2015.

Our recommendations

To help get the full value out of a transformation project, effective QA testing is key—and applying Agile techniques in the right way can make QA testing far more effective. We recommend using leading Agile QA testing processes and procedures to address several areas: people, practices, technology, and core systems.

People: A successful QA testing program requires Agile and core system testing expertise, a “one team, one goal” approach, and an established communication structure.

Practices: To plan and execute an Agile QA testing methodology appropriately, we recommend taking a customer-centric approach, using a “shift left” strategy, applying appropriate governance, and embracing risk-based testing.

Technology: The right tools and testing environments are essential for QA testing. Teams need collaboration tools to effectively work across locations, geographies, and time zones. Industry standard testing tools can make a big difference, too. Although specific tools will vary from insurer to insurer, everyone should consider using:

  • Automation tools
  • Defect and test management tools
  • Specialized tools for specific tests

Core systems: QA testing is hard when you’re unfamiliar with Agile, and core transformations up the ante because the quantity and quality of things to be tested is much larger than most insurers have seen before.

On the other hand, insurers embracing leading QA practices are usually much more likely to achieve success with “no regrets.” By building in quality from the start through effective testing protocols, they show improvements in production, code quality, streamlined functionality, faster speed-to-market, and reduced defects.

Contact us

Imran Ilyas

Principal, Global & US Guidewire Alliance Leader and US Guidewire Practice Leader, PwC US

John Holtrup

Director, PwC US

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