More Than Movers (Part 1): Test Automation

By James Hartley, application/software tester Technology SupportJames Hartley

Whenever I tell someone I work for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, they typically respond, “That must be really hard work”, to which I smile and respond, “Yes it is”. Many people assume that if I work for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, I must be a mover. This is because they do not realize the work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure our customers have the best possible moving experience possible.

For instance, our proprietary move management software (Movers Who Care® 2) is developed in-house. According to Corey Lasley, the application development manager here at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, Movers Who Care® 2 consists of more than 228,252 lines of code and 8,174,736 characters. These numbers are very impressive, especially when taking into consideration that Movers Who Care® 2 was released just 17 months after development started.

This is the first blog in a series I am calling “More than Movers”. In this series I will write about the work being done behind the scenes that directly impacts the quality of service we provide to our customers. I will begin with a project that is being jointly developed by the Application Development and Quality Assurance teams.

Test Automation

Test automation is the use of special software to execute tests and then compare actual outcomes to expected outcome. There are several benefits to automating software testing.

1)      It allows for the addition of test cases that would normally be too difficult to perform manually.

2)      Automated testing is much faster than manually testing. Therefore, the Quality Assurance team can cover a larger portion of the software being tested on any given build cycle.

3)      Automated testing can be more effective in finding certain classes of defects than manual testing. This allows for the delivery of more reliable software to the end users.

The Software Development Team at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is known in the development community as a “Microsoft Shop”. This is because they are using Microsoft products such as Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server (TFS) for all development. It turns out this was a huge benefit to our test automation project because we were able to fully leverage the testing capabilities built into TFS. Therefore we have one single integrated system for creating software and then testing its functionality.

Having a fully integrated system allows testers and developers to break through barriers that typically exist between the two teams. As a result the quality of software goes up. This is a good thing considering poor software quality costs the United States economy $59,500,000,000 every year. Lost revenue is not the only consequence of poor software quality. At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® poor software quality affects our ability to deliver the best possible service to our customers. For example, if Movers Who Care® 2 is not functioning properly, it can affect the speed and accuracy of estimates we deliver to our customers.

So you see TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is much more than a company of movers. We are developers, software testers, customer service representatives, movers, managers, etc. … all working together as one system. I think President Randy Shacka put it best:

“In everything we do we believe in moving people forward. We do this by living our core values, providing opportunities for employees, giving back to our communities, and treating each customer’s items as if they were our own with care and respect. We just happen to provide relocation services.”