“Qual IT had a large role to play and their people were excellent. More than anything else I personally needed a strong test manager who I could trust and rely on to get the job done . . . I got that in spades and a safe pair of hands. In fact all the resources from Qual IT were of a very high standard.”
Personalised recommendation engineers
Localist is a modern take on the traditional business directory, using the power of the internet to enable people to give reviews and recommendations of listed goods and service providers. Five print guides, a website and mobile applications are offered by the company.
A subsidiary of New Zealand Post, Localist was founded in early 2010. The aim of the company is to be “a personalised recommendation engine for the best things to taste, buy and do in different regions of New Zealand.”
Quality outcomes at speed
Ken Holley was Head of Technology for Localist as they built the business. “In four months Localist went from a handful of people to over 100. In that time we designed and built integrated leading edge systems and processes to support and maintain a business launch. We had to be flexible and agile with rapid development cycles.”
The project involved a set of integrated cloud-based, open-source solutions covering customer relationship management, financials, the core website, mobile apps (Apple and Android), as well as a specialist print solution.
“Anything but a quality result was never negotiable and testing has a critical role to play in the whole system development life-cycle,” says Ken.
“Localist needed someone who understood the science of testing, was experienced in a wide range of technologies, who could communicate with management, sales and customer support staff, marketing and the development team. Recruitment was clearly not an option in this scenario, at least not till we were established.”
A safe pair of hands
With Qual IT already having a relationship with Localist’s parent company NZ Post, Ken decided to evaluate the company as a potential testing solutions provider. “I met the principals and was immediately impressed by their grasp of the vision, and their empathy for what we were trying to achieve. They understand the role of test management and test execution in contribution to the end product.”
The other aspect of the challenge was the need to scale rapidly, says Ken. Qual IT was ready with dedicated resources to conduct testing where the business agreed that they did not have capacity.
Ken’s technology team met the steep challenge, delivering a solution for Localist that was on time, under budget and one which exceeded expectations. “Qual IT had a large role to play and their people were excellent. We retained the test manager on contract for a year then on recruitment they managed a smooth handover.”
“More than anything else I personally needed a strong test manager who I could trust and rely on to get the job done who I did not have to manage, who would regularly check in and come to me with recommendations when things got sticky, not with problems. I got that in spades and a safe pair of hands.
“I also recognised the need to have a fall back plan and the Qual IT organisation provided that. In fact all the resources from Qual IT were of a very high standard."
 Ken Holley held this position during the implementation, he no longer works for Localist.