Achievements: Projects done
& other successes
Since its formation in 1998, Thompson information Systems Consulting Ltd has
successfully fulfilled contracts for:
- a major retail and financial services organisation (several assignments);
- an international UK-based banking group (on four separate occasions);
- the professional services consultancy of leading RDBMS-based technology vendor;
- a leading pharmaceuticals company; and
- an international fund management & life assurance company.
Most recently, Neil Thompson has been working on consultancy and training
- a large telecommunications company;
- an international bank;
- central government; and
- the investment management arm of a major banking group.
Large telecommunications company:
- Part-time consultancy to a
testing review and improvement assignment team. Also co-delivery of tailored
training courses in Unified Modelling Language (UML), testing risk analysis &
strategy, and acceptance testing.
- Enhancement and co-delivery of a training course in performance
engineering and performance testing.
- Advised on testing plans and risks for an initiative involving
several government websites.
- Input into a review of the software testing capabilities
involved in a merger of a wealth management company with a major banking
- This led to Neil being asked back to write the testing strategy for the
UK-based stockbrokers (part of major banking group):
- He recently finished a very successful assignment as testing strategy and
QA manager for a large programme which merged the European operations of a
leading international on-line stockbroker into the existing systems of the
private bank within a major banking group. The programme completed on schedule
and is very highly regarded by senior management. Neil's main roles were...
- revision of the testing strategy to strengthen the use of risk-based
principles, and assistance with steering the revised document and other
aspects of programme testing through a group internal audit;
- improvement of programme test progress reporting to incorporate trend
graphs and other innovations (this included chairing some of the anomaly
- planning of test environment usage, in particular to fit dependencies
around the programme such as business-as-usual, maintenance, and subsequent
- direct reporting to the programme director on progress and quality,
including wider testing matters such as methods and morale; and
- introduction of a scheme of testing review boards which brought together
all main stakeholders, including senior management, to assess risk-benefit
balance and examine in detail the residual risk from any considered
compromises in test coverage and anomaly resolution. Neil chaired the initial
meetings, produced materials for all the meetings, and handed over a working
and highly-regarded scheme.
Major retail and financial services organisation:
- Neil Thompson advised on supplier selection for
corporate testing services. He was retained following a series of
earlier assignments, primarily...
- leading the authorship of a testing strategy for the migration of hundreds
of applications to a new IT infrastructure (including some redevelopments, for
example to a strategic web architecture), and facilitating the supplier
- He then refined the justification of the proposed organisation structure
for this testing and beyond, and brokered consensus on planning for the
development environments, followed by the transitions to a tactical then a
strategic shift in roles and responsibilities.
- He also facilitated workshops and wrote briefing papers on metrics and
policy in the new corporate testing environments.
International UK-based clearing bank:
- For over 18 months, Neil was overall testing manager of the Business
Internet Banking programme. The assignment began with an invitation to write a
testing strategy, then developed into master test planning, negotiating with
the development partner (a prominent global "solutions provider") the respective testing responsibilities, and
integration of the two similar testing approaches. Next steps were
recruiting teams for the systems integration and acceptance levels of testing,
setting standards for all testing activities, and monitoring preparations for development testing and
Neil was also involved in preparing the programme’s testing approach for
assimilation into the client's corporate process improvement
initiative, and shared ideas with the consultants involved.
- The role included reviewing and approving all testing documentation, being
the only external consultant on the programme management team, and
liaison on behalf of the programme with related credit card and Identrus
public key infrastructure
implementations. Neil initiated a cross-workstream testing managers’ liaison
meeting, and chaired this weekly. The minutes were seen by programme
management as a key indicator of progress and prospects, and the test progress
metrics (which Neil designed) were passed upwards to senior management.
- The first
release successfully went live into a pilot mode, and a "testing lessons
learned" questionnaire and workshop were completed and documented as part
of preparations for Release 2 testing.
Professional services consultancy of leading RDBMS-based technology vendor:
- Neil reviewed testing of a telecommunications billing and customer care
application, as part of providing wider advice on testing techniques and best
practice. Invited to write paper on the opportunities for modifying the
testing components of the in-house methodology to approach best practice
whilst also fitting the object-oriented Unified Software Development Process
(from which the Rational Unified Process was developed). This paper was
presented by the methodology’s UK champion at the company’s worldwide best
- Retained to co-author, with a client expert from the USA, a testing
guidelines section to add to the company’s new methodology for developing and
testing enterprise portals, and to provide hooks into the overall methodology.
The result was enthusiastically adopted by the international practice.
Leading pharmaceuticals company:
- Key role in managing site user acceptance testing of a SAP R/3
manufacturing resource planning implementation. Neil's initial
responsibilities were risk analysis of prior testing and other readiness
factors, and definition & execution of a method and criteria for accepting the
outcome of systems testing. Alongside this, he worked as the testing expert
within business readiness proving, helping to define a method for business
risk management and successfully executing that method via risk assessment,
test planning and prioritisation. He defined the test management and execution
procedures and managed the technical side of the team, including an intranet
site of management information.
- The system went successfully live on schedule, and Neil was retained for a
period to help define and run incident handling mechanisms and metrics.
International UK-based clearing bank:
- Acted as testing manager for a programme to implement EMU enhancements to
systems which provide electronic banking facilities to large and medium-sized
corporate customers. The assignment began as consultancy in testing
organisation and methods, with a key objective to help the bank manage the
risk of the Euro implementations interleaved with year 2000 upgrades. The
systems went live before the Euro implementation date with no major problems.
- After initial review of, and assistance to, system and acceptance testing,
he was retained to help plan, design and execute end-to-end testing across
multiple systems and platforms bank-wide, and to drive the decision-making and
acceptance process. His involvement was further extended to make and agree
recommendations for future improvements to the organisation’s testing
- Neil later returned to help planning of testing for an internet banking
International fund management & life assurance company:
- Neil led a team producing test scripts for EMU and year 2000 upgrades to a
complex back-office investment administration package, having laid the
foundations by writing and agreeing a testing approach, testing plan and test
- He was then retained to define and implement test execution and management
procedures and to ensure a successful start to the test execution work. The
system went successfully live on schedule.
Prior to TiSCL, Neil Thompson worked on a variety of challenging projects
It has always been a priority for Neil to maintain and
enhance his skills. Examples include:
- Certified Management Consultant status
with the Institute of Management Consultancy in the UK;
- membership of the British Computer Society (BCS) and
Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE),
including access to the authoritative publications of these organisations;
- participation in the BCS
Specialist Interest Group in Software Testing
(SIGiST) and Configuration Management SIG;
- passing the ISEB certificate examinations for
Foundation and Practitioner levels (the Diploma is not yet available);
- numerous other training courses, for both technical and
"process skills" such as facilitation, problem-solving and leadership;
- attendance, sometimes as a speaker, at conferences in
Europe & USA, to broaden outlook and share experiences; and
- co-authorship of the book "Risk-Based E-Business
© Thompson information
Systems Consulting Ltd 1998-2004