Efios Rail is an all-round provider of support and executive work for test activities – both from infrastructure perspective as well as rolling stock perspective. These activities include:
- General Test Management: developing, designing and guiding test programs based on testing requirements or functional specifications
- Test Coordination and Logistics Arrangements
- Capacity Management and Test Program Management
- Test results analysis and requirements verification
Test Campaign Setup
The essence of a test campaign is that the entire test program, as part of the verification and validation program, meets the requirements of the end customer. That is why test campaigns always start with the definition of the technical and functional objectives by the customer with help of the test organization.
Test Campaign starting points
Many times, technical and functional requirements for railway testing already exist based on national or international V&V specifictions. The same goes for the safety requirements, although a Safety Authority on national level may require additional rules.
In some cases, especially for testing of operations rather than technical systems, functional requirements may have to be defined by the operational parties; such parties may include Traffic Control, Safety Authority, Infrastructure Manager and Train Operating Companies.
On the other side, the customer is influenced by the business reality of risk, time and cost. Most test campaigns are costly (up to 30% of the project cost) and should therefore be considered with these three aspects. Sometimes a fourth aspect, political engagement, can be addressed.
The test organization – lead by the test manager – translates these requirements into a test plan.
Master test plan, managing the total test process
When the test manager, after consultation with the parties involved, decides what the boundaries (scope) and boundary conditions are the global outline of the test campaign comes forward. At this point, the Test Manager with his test organization is able to setup the framework for monitoring, control and reporting.
A test manager, in consultation with the client and other stakeholders, makes a total overview of the distribution across test levels as to what must be tested when and with what thoroughness. All of this is conveyed in the Test Plan. This plan constitutes the basis for the entire testing campaign.
The Test Plan allows the Test Manager to plan and control and turn the client’s requirements into a tangible and structured campaign.
The Test Plan includes amongst others:
- Context of the Test Campaign
- Boundaries and scope (in scope, out of scope)
- Identify stakeholders
- Organizational structures
- References and compliancy (e.g. policies)
- Description of the test organization
- Roles and responsibilities
- Testing methodology
- Coordination and monitoring process
- Major resources and infrastructure
- Adjustments to test campaign (change management)
- Quality Control
The Test Plan includes a high level outline of the planning, from start of the test campaign to the delivery of the test results, including major milestones. The planning is a tool for the Test Manager to adjust expectations with the stakeholders and the customer, and for the test organization (especially the test coordinator) to adjust the details of the test execution itself.
The test planning should take into account the following items
- Different test stages and phases
- Long lead items, such as infrastructure possessions and rolling stock
- The readiness of test specifications
- The availability of certificates and type authorizations
- Major change events, such as infrastructute and software updates
To prevent problems in test environments processes need to be in place for managing the setup and maintenance of the environments.
These management processes are:
- Configuration management
- Change management
- Infrastructure management
- Incident management
- Problem management
- Data management (for larger campaigns)
- Interface Management
- Test tools
The Test Coordinator is the center of the test operation. The main job of the TC is to create the right test environment, to review the test campaign progress and keep control. On a day to day basis, the TC monitors and adjusts the program where necessary, always bearing in mind all the aspects of the logistics and test objectives.
The Test Coordinator is responsible for the logistics operations of the test execution, and should therefore issue the “Logistics Operations” document to all parties involved and all the stakeholders. This document contains all the relevant information of the test execution including all logistics.
The Test Coordinator can also advise the Test Organization – and in particular the Test Manager – on quality and risks.
Once the testing has been completed, the test results are sent back to the test specialist for analysis. The interim results are usually based on signed-off “pass / fail” lists and help the test organization to assess whether re-testing is necessary.
The final results should help the Test Manager in delivering his results according to the original Test Plan to all the stakeholders and the client.
Throughout the entire test campaign, the test process needs to be evaluated and ajusted where necessary. The experience from the ongoing tests needs to improve the quality of the test program and help to reduce the time and cost of the entire campaign.
Some of the tools that can be used for the preparation and execution of the test campaign include:
- Project Management tools, such as MS Project, Primavera
- Track Occupancy Schedules to communicate track occupancy, both for rolling stock (using timetables) and for works
- Test Resource planning, to plan detailed resources for the execution of each test, such as test specialists, train drivers, rolling stock, engineers, safety crew, test coordinators, operators, etc.
- Issue List database
And for the supporting processes:
- Requirements Compliancy overview or database
- Risk register or Risk list
Test Coordination is an online platform to manage your Track Occupancy Schedules and Infra Capacity control, Test Organization and Test Resources Management, Export and Publication features.