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Neurodiverse Solutions

Bringing automated testing solutions to the University of Pittsburgh

The CAI Neurodiverse Solutions team implemented new automated testing practices to streamline IT infrastructure management for the university.

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Nestled in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh is a leading public research university. The school serves a large body of undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate students and employs more than 8,200 staff members.

When Cindy Wertz, the Information Technology department’s Chief of Staff saw a presentation on CAI Neurodiverse Solutions, it piqued her interest. She brought it to the attention of Jamie Craig, Associate Director for Enterprise Applications, who has a personal interest in assisting neurodivergent individuals with career development opportunities. When he became aware of what was possible by working with CAI Neurodiverse Solutions, he readily identified areas within the IT department that would benefit from the program.

Challenge

The University of Pittsburgh began to uncover a need for additional IT resources to help support their application testing routines. Initially, all routine testing was performed manually by Quality Assurance (QA) staff, which could become time-consuming and at times, take several days to execute. In addition, it became tricky keeping up with updates and changes being made in Salesforce over time.

The university had a growing tech ecosystem to maintain, and updates and fixes to applications required significant manual testing, leaving little time to devote to automation. Their QA team’s bandwidth was challenged with balancing regular testing, the creation and monitoring of automated tests, and their day-to-day duties.

Solution

The CAI Neurodiverse Solutions team built an automation testing solution for the university and established ways to conduct testing and track results efficiently. They also developed daily monitoring of the tests and automated solutions for the execution of those tests. The associates scheduled test runs through Azure DevOps daily and created customized reports in Azure to analyze the results of their tests and provide root cause analysis of failures. The team then distributed issues to appropriate teams for resolution, as needed.

CAI Neurodiverse Solutions associates and the existing team collaborated to uncover applications in the university’s software environment that would benefit from automated testing. To enable a more routine cadence, they created a test bed of “smoke tests,” or nightly application availability tests, that validate systems are operating smoothly. These smoke tests target 35 application areas, composed of 68 separate scenarios, across 3 browser types. With these in place, if there’s an application or network outage, it’s reported to the university administrators immediately.

The team also created a framework for automated test execution around 3 major functional areas in Salesforce. These 3 areas include:

  • Salesforce PAE (Philanthropic and Alumni Engagement): A tracking application of critical importance for visibility and monitoring of donation funds for the school.
  • Salesforce CoVax: An employee and student vaccine tracking application. This became necessary for scheduling COVID vaccinations for all University of Pittsburgh employees and students. It has since expanded to include all necessary vaccination scheduling.
  • Salesforce Federated Authorization: A user access application for employee and student approval requests and tracking for access to university applications in their digital infrastructure.
icon bullet point with details 83% Percent of functional testing requirements are now automated
icon half dashed line half solid line of circle with checkmark 120 Number of tests running daily
icon solid circle shape with check mark 94% Success rate of Salesforce testing

Results

The success of the CAI Neurodiverse Solutions team at the University of Pittsburgh is significant. Testing that would have previously taken several days to perform can now be done in a couple of hours by this team. They have automated 83% of the functional testing requirements and delivered an average of 16 automated functional tests per month. Additionally, they’ve set up the framework for 120 tests to run daily, with 90 regression tests deployed in Salesforce. These regression tests are crucial, as they verify the operability of the software has not changed with updates. Because of these efforts, the Salesforce testing now averages a 94% success rate.

The successful implementation of these automated testing solutions led to the creation of a QA department at the university, under the leadership of the CAI Neurodiverse Solutions sponsor. This united testers from different groups into a single team. This has also streamlined the testing routines and enabled the CAI Neurodiverse Solutions team to add immense value to the school's IT resources.

As a result of the diligent work of the CAI Neurodiverse Solutions team, and the advocacy and support from the University of Pittsburgh's executive staff, automated testing and career development for neurodivergent individuals were successfully launched at the school, simultaneously.

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