Background:

This case study will focus on Innovative Defense Technologies’ application of  automated software testing to software included in physical modules (e.g. containers) which are rolled-on/rolled-off the decks of specialized ships.  These containers are routinely swapped on and off ships during an in-dock time period for various critical missions.  When the mission is completed at sea, the ship would return to the dock and be equipped with a different module for its next mission.   When a mission module is swapped or installed in preparation for its next at-sea mission, the software contained in the mission module requires a rigorous checkout procedure to ensure mission readiness. The manual Installation Checkout test requires approximately 12 hours and multiple test personnel to complete. This case study explores the efficiencies gained when using automation during this software checkout process.

Strategy & Approach:

The automated test strategy focused on identifying the specific requirements of automating the execution and verification steps of the existing Installation Checkout test.  The test includes steps that require the user to enter information on system consoles and verify the response on one or more consoles.  The test also includes steps that require messages be sent over a network to the applications in accordance with the interface definition and verifying the appropriate response by the applications is generated by information displayed on the display consoles. Automated Test and ReTest (ATRT) capabilities support both the automation of operator actions and message-based test steps, and are ideal to support Installation Checkout test requirements, so ATRT: Test Manager was identified as the technology to be utilized to support this project.

Using the ATRT: Test Manager, the Installation Checkout test steps were successfully automated.  The test steps are designed to verify the system is functioning as expected and is suitable for use during deployment.

Conclusion:

Installing a modular mission container on a specialized ship is a complex event that must be completed within a narrow timeframe.  On average, the Installation Checkout test for this particular system requires approximately 12 hours to complete using several test personnel. Automation efforts for Installation Checkout test were successfully performed, resulting in all goals and benchmarks being met or exceeded. In fact, an 85% decrease in time and manpower required to conduct the test was demonstrated. Use of automation resulted in decreased run times, decreased manning levels, increased consistency, and increased reliability.  Automation with ATRT: Test Manager enables dockside installation timely and successful, with maximum confidence that the system will operate as designed.