STMicroelectronics (ST), aka Europe’s largest semiconductors manufacturer, is a French-Italian multinational group whose headquarters are based in Geneva, Switzerland. The company reaches out to many different end-markets, such as: the automotive industry, the manufacturing sector, communication equipments as well as computers and peripheral devices. In this challenging context, quality assurance plays a key role both in products success and in customer satisfaction. Kirk Adoniadis, Quality Manager, shares the test management policy that has been set up at STMicroelectronics in order to ensure delivery of stellar software applications with Tuleap.
The speaker: Kirk Adoniadis, Quality Manager,
Agile and Software Engineering group at ST
Compliance with software development norms at STMicroelectronics
ST manufactures microchips which are at the very heart of high-tech products. The company design electronic circuits for the automotive industry, for mobile phones, for wireless applications and also microcontrollers for computers. In other words, they manufacture products that require cutting-edge technology as well as strictly regulated software engineering processes.
Not only have we to ensure high quality, but we also have to succeed in proving consistency of what we build. We have been relying on a software quality assurance process for some years now, in order to comply with the norms and quality standards of our industry.
- ISO 9000:2015 Quality Management Systems – Fundamentals and Vocabulary
- ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems – Requirements
- IATF 16949:2016 Quality management system requirements for automotive production and relevant service parts organizations
- ISO 9004:2009 Quality Management Systems – Guidance for performance improvement
- ISO/TC 176/SC 2/N544R3 Guidance on the Concept & Use of the Process Approach to quality management systems
- ITIL, the IT Infrastructure Library from the UK Office of Government and Commerce. The best practice processes promoted in ITIL both support and are supported by the British Standards Institution’s Standard for IT Service Management (BS15000).
- SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) Act, Control 404.
Traceability: the way to demonstrate quality assurance
Without traceability there can be no quality assurance. Let’s take SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) as an example. SOX is a legal requirement for ST as for other large companies. SOX principles are enforced exclusively on those applications having a financial impact on our operations. In our case, thanks to Tuleap end-to-end traceability (with backward and forward cross-links), we can prove to auditors that we have effectively monitored and dealt with all requirements.
Tuleap ensures both the validation process and the links among « Change Request => Requirement => Requirement Test. These links are accessible and visible through reports I generate. If necessary, auditors can check out our tools to verify our workflow compliance. We can easily show that we have addressed a « Change Request » here, added a « Requirement » to our product at this time, and that we have also tested this latter on.
Migrating from Micro Focus ALM to Tuleap
Previously, STMicroelectronics used Micro Focus ALM (formerly HP ALM) to manage test plans. The quality department decided to change to Tuleap for two reasons: a more efficient traceability and more sustainability with open source tools.
Moving to an integrated and future-proof solution
There are two reasons to this transition:
1/ HP Quality Center is compatible with Internet Explorer 11 only. Since the navigator will no longer be supported by 2020, we’ve decided to find a more sustainable solution.
2/ At STMicroelectronics, 10.000 people are already using Tuleap to collaborate on 5.000 software development projects (read ST company story). Teams largely use Tuleap agile plannings, Tuleap Issue Trackers and integrated Git. Now look all the challenges you can solve with Tuleap and the potential of the Tuleap Test Management module integrated with Release Planning and Jenkins, that simply makes sense to us to work exclusively with Tuleap. This is life-long solution. Tuleap is an all-in-one integrated solution, as well as a modern tool, monthly updated.
Tuleap ensures the management of quality assurance and requirement at the same time. So that it’s easier, in case of audits, to prove that what we deliver complies with what has formerly been requested. Everything is traceable and linked in Tuleap. This way, our teams can set the QA steps and then plan, implement and generate reports of validation campaigns, all under one roof. »
A progressive migration
Migration is done step by step. The fist phase was made on automated testing. At STMicroelectronics, the 30.000 automated tests are very complex ones; most of the time, they are UI tests at a high level, each test typically requires 10 to 15 minutes of processing. They are complex, slow and fragile. They require a standardized Jenkins environment to avoid false-positive results. The integration between Jenkins and Tuleap Test Management enables to monitor the CI test results directly into Tuleap test campaigns.
The biggest effort is to move the 150.000 manual tests. Up to now, automated tests were done with MicroFocus UFT. They are progressively move to Jenkins and Tuleap tools.
What is Software Quality Assurance at ST?
The general quality assurance workflow is the following: Software Development Plan
Afterwards, STMicroelectronics implement one of these 3 processes, depending on the project and the availability of the stakeholders:
- Waterfall approach,
- Adapted-Agile approach, more flexible but it still has some framed steps,
- Full-Agile approach.
V-Model (Waterfall approach)
This workflow is used when ST internal customers are less committed to the projects – or strongly committed but for a short period of time – and when product specifications have clearly been detailed. Also, it is a project approach we use when we are strongly dependent on external stakeholders.
Adapted-Agile approach (Flexibility within defined boundaries)
This quality assurance process is used when internal customers are fairly committed to the projects for a long period of time, when specifications haven’t been set clearly in earlier stages and also when we have little or no dependence towards external stakeholders.
A full-agile approach is deployed for projects when ST internal customers are pretty committed, for a long while, as well as when customers accept not to define every and each aspect of the product specification from the beginning, so that it is possible to go on with the project step by step, progressively validating hypothesis (it is a « discovery » approach). As for the previous approach, it is used when teams have little or no dependence towards external stakeholders.
As far as our Digital Transformation initiative is concerned, our teams are increasingly adopting the full-agile approach, even though we keep on carrying out some projects following the V-models, basically for the reasons mentioned above.
Through the migration of our projects into Tuleap, we have succeeded in implementing the full-agile workflow using Tuleap Test Management module.
Moreover, thanks to Tuleap Open Roadmap™, we are involved in the Tuleap product evolution; we can make it grow as close as possible to our testing processes.