Double social impact through cooperation with the Police

Specialisterren has been working with the Police for a number of months now. We are supporting a DevOps team within the Investigation Department by carrying out test work. This is a great opportunity for us because it allows us to contribute to the social objective of the Police: making the Netherlands safer. This cooperation also contributes to our mission to employ as many people with autism as possible. The anonymous interview below gives an insight into the cooperation, and was conducted with someone from the Investigation Department..

The Police is of course a very large organisation, could you tell us something about the department that Specialisterren does testing for?

Within the Police we know the ICT department. It consists of approximately 2500 people. These are managers and developers, but also advisors and administrative staff. Within the ICT Service, there are different sectors. The two largest are Supply (management) and Development (programmers). Within these sectors, Specialisterren has been hired to support a DevOps team within the Investigation Department. This team builds and maintains the applications of the General Investigation Department of the Police, NVWA and FIOD. These are registration and process systems used by investigators when starting, guiding and completing complete investigations. Specialisterren is responsible for test automation for two of these applications.

How did you come to Specialisterren?

An HR colleague drew my attention to a special budget for corporate social responsibility. She also told me about Specialisterren. I then made contact and had an introductory meeting.

What issue are you facing that Specialisterren is addressing?

Test automation is relatively new within our organisation. There are teams who have fully mastered and implemented it, but a great deal of testing is still done by hand. The two applications for which Specialisterren is hired are very large and complex. Since test automation is new to our team, Specialisterren will not only automate it but also transfer knowledge to ensure that quality is guaranteed in the future.

What does the collaboration with Specialisterren look like?

Actually, it was relatively simple. We gave the Test Engineers access to the test environments and discussed our functional wishes. Based on those wishes, they issued a plan of approach and a schedule. Once we had made the necessary environments and tooling available, the automation could begin. Specialisterren has one point of contact, and that’s the Test Lead. This Test Lead reports on the progress and any blockages in a stand-up session at several times a week. Intermediate demos of the test automation are also given every now and then.

Did you need to make any major adjustments to your working methods in order to work with Specialisterren?

No, not at all. The Corona virus meant that everyone had to work from home, which was quickly taken care of by the DevOps team and Specialisterren. The contact between Specialisterren and the DevOps team is always good and without any problems.

How do you personally experience the cooperation?

Very pleasant: the Test Engineers all have a lot of experience and knowledge. They are involved and have quickly mastered the applications. I quickly got the feeling that they had become part of the DevOps team of the Police.

How do you experience remote cooperation in these Corona times?

By now, the entire team has been working at home for three quarters of a year. Actually, we are all used to it and we don’t want it any more. Of course, it’s also nice to make fun of each other in the same room or have a nice conversation at the coffee machine, but we have become more effective and responsible since we have been working at home. There are few distractions that would otherwise occur when we are 14 in a room. However, we are careful not to isolate our colleagues. In our collaboration with Specialisterren, we haven’t encountered any obstacles to working remotely either.

What added value does Specialisterren provide for you?

Experience, knowledge and skills. The DevOps team has no experience whatsoever with test automation and the tooling that goes with it. We know what we want but the how is taken care of by Specialisterren.

How do you view the social return you are now providing through this cooperation?

We think it’s great that through this cooperation we can generate concrete social profit, in addition to the ‘normal’ profit. It feels good to create employment for people who are distanced from the labour market. If you have to hire people for specialist knowledge and skills, I think it’s obvious that you also think about the social impact.

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