Submitted by Diane Gentile
An Introduction to the End User Services Quality Assurance Team
Were you aware? End User Services (EUS) employs a fully operational Quality Assurance (QA) team whose primary purpose is to ensure, via testing, that computers in use by WashU faculty, staff, and students run IT services effectively.
How we got started
This team grew out of the Shared IT Services (SITS) program and launched in the spring of 2016. The SITS program leaders knew they couldn’t roll out the new desktop to first adopters without a solid, fully tested and operational desktop platform. Enter the newly formed QA team. The original team was comprised of IT professionals from legacy IT departments, a contractor to provide guidance in process development, and a few part time students to assist in testing efforts.
Today, QA is a small team of three full-time employees. With SITS winding down, the group focuses more on operational testing for WashU communities across all campuses.
The team today
Two of the original members, Diane Gentile and Valerie Gaston, are still actively performing QA duties. While Diane Gentile initially spearheaded the team’s development, Valerie is now partially taking over the reins as Lead Analyst. Valerie has done a phenomenal job developing processes, and ensuring they are followed to produce accurate and trusted test results.
Charles Hurley joined the team in the summer of 2019 as a contractor and has recently been made a full-time employee. When Covid sent many of us home to work, Charles stepped up and offered to continue working in the lab so the rest of us could work from home, and he is typically the person you would see if you visited today. He’s a friendly guy, so feel free to stop by and introduce yourself if you happen to be in the neighborhood. He will likely have a joke for you.
In non-Covid times, we can all be found in and around the QA lab area on the first floor of the 4480 Clayton Avenue building.
You might wonder what it is we’re testing. Today the answer is, “almost any update, change or new technology that may affect computers of EUS users”. This includes the annual Windows and Mac Operating System updates, and how they may affect our use of mainstream campus or clinical apps. We test updates to Group Policies, Proxy services, VPN services, Wi-Fi, and many others. Most changes to these and many other services are thoroughly tested in the QA lab before any widespread deployment. During the SITS project, the team also managed User Acceptance Testing in many business units before computer migrations.
Our motto “We break things so customers don’t have to” helps us remember the importance of our role in assisting WashU IT deploy stable and effective desktop services.
QA by the numbers
To date, the QA team has completed almost 1900 distinct tests. Some of our most recent tests include the following:
- Windows Imaging: Ensuring new Dell model computers from the depot are compatible with our computer imaging process.
- Digital Guardian Agent for Windows and Mac: Part of the medical schools Data Loss Protection initiative for securing computers
- NAC 802.1x: Group policy update to support new network connection types