How a Financial Services Organization’s Technology Team Sparked an Organization-wide DevOps Transformation
In a retail market that has been thoroughly disrupted by technology, it is critical that the application delivery team can efficiently develop, test and release updates to payments software and rapidly respond to merchants’ needs – which evolve as quickly as the technologies consumers are using.
The ability to accept a specific payment type can mean the difference between a sale and a lost customer. In a recent study, 42 percent of online shoppers said that the types of payment options offered significantly influences where they decide to shop. By increasing the number of available payment methods, retailers have an opportunity to provide a more convenient customer experience – and gain a significant advantage over their competitors.
This organization’s software addresses that need for millions of customers by enabling them to offer seamless payment experiences in person, online, via mobile devices and through convenient cashless transactions called unattended payments – and to analyze transaction data over time. The organization’s recent DevOps transformation has played a critical role in getting that software into the hands of its customers faster.
The Test Engineering Team Becomes an Agent for Change
After hearing a talk on DevOps at an industry event, the organization’s VP of Test Engineering and Delivery Acceleration Nick Jones was inspired to initiate his organization’s own transformation. Jones, who heads up the test engineering team, sought advice from industry leaders and began socializing the idea among his team.
Next, Jones and his team developed a DevOps roadmap and created a cross-functional QA center of excellence to begin sharing the idea with executives across the business. The idea was like a spark – with the right fuel, it has steadily spread across the organization.
“We have our CIO and all of senior leadership behind us now,” Jones says. “We are now in the middle of our cloud journey and as part of that, we’ve built 15+ operational pipelines to deploy to beta merchants, and we now have our first production workload.”
The team plans to take its first DevOps pipeline live this month, in time for the start of retail’s busiest season. The pipeline will provide rapid updates to a data and analytics product that Jones says is extremely important to customers. It’s how they assess their performance across payment types, which helps them evaluate and evolve payment strategies to keep pace with shifting consumer demands.
Modern Tools Lay the Foundation for Long-term Success
Getting the right tools in place was a critical first step in the transformation, Jones says. Previously, the test engineering and development teams had used legacy ALM and test management tools.
“ALM had fallen behind drastically, and we knew it would not serve our needs as we moved towards a CI/CD model,” Jones says. “After we completed the DevOps roadmap, we knew that one of the foundations was going to be dumping our existing ALM and finding one that was more suited to the automation journey that lay ahead of us, and the other part of that was I was desperate to get rid of on-prem applications. The need to maintain that piece of machinery was a huge burden to us.”
The team needed a test management tool built for agile, with a CA Agile Central integration for real-time developer-tester collaboration, advanced reporting capabilities, and integrations with test automation frameworks and CI/CD pipeline tools. After evaluating several tools against these requirements, the team selected qTest as the best match.
“We want to be able to innovate at speed, and we really think qTest is going to help us do that,” Jones says. “With agile test management, we’re going to be able to respond faster to our merchants’ needs and do canary releases, which will really help our product team.”
Jones says his team particularly appreciates the ability to integrate automated test scripts with test cases. “When we had a legacy ALM, the automation scripts were standalone and there was no traceability. qTest’s integration with the automation tools has helped us develop a better approach for our requirements traceability matrix,” Jones says.
“Traditional QA, the manual testing of legacy apps – those days are over,” Jones says. “We are now moving to a different type of testing, with a very high percentage of automated testing right across the portfolio.”
qTest’s automation integrations have also reduced maintenance time and offered a way for the team to scale and measure their test automation levels, which recently topped 80 percent.
Embedding Quality Across the DevOps Pipeline
Once a siloed organization, the test engineering team is now engaged at every step in the software delivery pipeline, from inception to design to delivery. Code isn’t deployed into production without the team’s acceptance. The team engages partners in the business to champion quality assurance principles and test engineering practices in two distinct ways: A cross-functional QA center of excellence and a community of practice.
The QA Center of Excellence helps build trust and reinforce partnerships with development and business leaders as their teams move to a significantly modernized way of working.
The community of practice is a grassroots effort by Jones’ test engineering team to evangelize automation, orchestration, transformation and to share knowledge with other teams across the enterprise.
“It’s a grassroots effort that has become a point of reference across the whole global organization,” Jones says. “We are now being increasingly reached out to from other business units for help with modernizing tools and processes, and we are now rolling out qTest to them and helping them modernize their testing practices.”
“It took as many years to become a siloed org, so we’re not going to change overnight, but we are really beginning to gain momentum across the organization,” Jones says.
“Software engineering is now a partnership. It’s a group of different skill-sets who not only work together but are a group of people who trust each other, Jones says. “Delivery acceleration emphasizes the cultural change that is required to successfully transform how individuals think about their work and realize faster value for our business.”