Awarded to PA Consulting Services Limited (UK)

Start date: Sunday 28 May 2017
Value: £23,500
Company size: large
NICS Dept of Finance Digital Shared Services

Dept of Finance NI Digital Shared Services Agile QA Strategy

3 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 0 large

14 Completed applications

9 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Friday 7 April 2017
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 14 April 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 21 April 2017 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Digital Shared Services are seeking a supplier to assess our testing maturity level against industry standards and best practice, identify a target level and then develop a strategy and implementation plan to achieve that target.
Latest start date
Expected contract length
25 Days
Northern Ireland
Organisation the work is for
NICS Dept of Finance Digital Shared Services
Budget range
Estimated £18,000 - £25,000

About the work

Why the work is being done
Digital Shared Services (DSS) exists to support business transformation through the delivery of digital solutions for the Northern Ireland Civil Service. To meet the growing demand for these services and deliver change more effectively the organisation must improve its testing capability.
Problem to be solved
Lack of necessary capacity and expertise to align our quality assurance and testing processes to an Agile way of working.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a Dept of Finance Digital Shared Services development function we need an agile test strategy so that we can deliver change more effectively.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
The supplier is required to work within the existing development teams made up of existing internal Depf of Finance staff and external resources.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Stormont Estate, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast
Working arrangements
Supplier staff will be required to work on-site as part of an agile development team, reporting to an DSS team leader from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, excluding Northern Ireland Public Holidays. All necessary additional costs such as flights, day to day travel, subsistence and accommodation costs to get to and from place of work must be included in costs to establish total cost of engagement. Where travel is needed to facilitate face to face meetings during the working day these will be met by the Department
Security clearance
All resources must be BPSS (Baseline Personnel Security Standard) compliant or equivalent (or prepared to undergo clearance process prior to commencement of work).

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Supplier must provide evidence of having assessed an organisation, within the last 3 years, against QA industry standards and best practice. 20 points
  • Supplier must provide evidence of successfully developing a QA test strategy, within the last 3 years, including gaining senior management approval, and directing implementation . 20 points
  • The supplier must have experience in developing and documenting strategies. This would include producing a formalised strategy document to a professional standard. 10 points
  • Experience, in the last 3 years, of leading agile transformation in newly established agile teams. 10 points
  • Experience, in the last 3 years, of coaching client personnel in all aspects of quality assurance and software testing. 15 points
  • Experience of Test-Driven Development (TDD), Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) and Continuous Integration (CI) and associated industry standard tools. 15 points
  • Supplier must provide evidence of having used industry standard test tools to support functional and non functional testing. 15 points
  • Experience developing and executing test plans, cases, scripts, and creating test data for Agile development teams, including functional, integration and regression testing as well as assisting with uat. 10 points
  • At least 3 years experience of Agile testing in a .Net environment. 10 points
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Testing qualification e.g. ISTQB, iSQI - 5 points
  • Testing in an Open Source environment - 5 points
  • Testing in a Drupal environment - 5 points
  • Mobile Application Testing - 5 points
  • Experience of working within the NI public sector in a Quality Assurance role. - 5 points
  • Experience of developing GDS Digital Service Standard compliant services - 5 points

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Proposed approach, methodology and timescales. 15 points
  • Skills and experiences of the team. 20 points
  • Evidence of knowledge transfer to in-house teams. 15 points
Cultural fit criteria
  • Evidence of working as a blended team: Government team, other suppliers. 5 points
  • Evidence of working with clients with different levels of technical expertise. 5 points
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Work history
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Hi, is there a specific testing standard you aspire to align to, TMMI for example?
No, there is no specific testing standard which we aspire to align with.
2. How does an applicant enter pricing details? There does not appear to be an opportunity to enter them before pressing the Submit Application button.
Please consult the Supplier’s Guide or address query to Digital Marketplace as the service provider
3. What is the size of your organisation that will need to be part of the test maturity assessment? For example, project teams, business teams and key stakeholders
There are 30 staff in our organisation, al of whom could potentially be impacted by this exercise.
4. How many members of staff across your organisation would need to be involved through the test maturity assessment?
Up to 20 staff may be involved
5. Is there a deadline as to when you are expecting the delivery of the implementation plan to be achieved by?
We would expect delivery of the implementation plan by June 30th
6. How long have the Department of Finance being using agile as a project delivery framework?
The Department has been using Agile for approximately 6-8 months.
7. Other than the Agile Test Strategy and implementation plan, what other outcomes would DSS like or hope to achieve from this engagement?
Expected outcomes are the Agile Test Strategy, the implementation plan and an understanding how best to implement it.
8. Which project disciplines are currently involved in Agile Development teams? e.g. Business Analysis, Developers/Build, End Users
Product Owner
Scrum Master
Business Analyst
Development staff
Project Support
9. Are the QA team present in any current Agile Development projects
Although QA testing is undertaken as part of normal sprints, QA Teams do not exist.
10. To ensure we understand the starting position, what development methodology is currently used on any current projects/programmes
11. If TMMi was used as the assessment method would you be interested in achieving certification at a certain maturity level?
We are not aligning ourselves with any assessment method, but would be open to achieving a maturity level accreditation, regardless of method used.
12. Can you confirm the number of projects in scope for the assessment?
at time of engagement we are likely to working on up to 4 projects.
13. Can you confirm the tooling used to support your agile processes
All tools are open for review but we currently use:
JIRA for task / issue management;
Jenkins, GITLAB and SourceTree for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
14. It appears that some of the work can be conducted remotely would you be prepared for us to work offsite for some of this engagement
Our preference is for on-site working as much as possible but open to agreeing at the commencement of the engagement to some off-site working for write-ups or for necessary engagement with own colleagues.
15. Question with regards to the Nice-to-have skills and experience: “Testing in an Open Source environment” – Is this question pertaining to open-source development environment or an environment using open source test tooling (JIRA etc.)?
This refers to testing in an open-source development environment