Our teams were working on a large scale, complex and highly sensitive programme designed to both digitise and transform service delivery.
Fimatix provided Release Management services, tailoring and employing our release management approach to the programme staged Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Our Release Managers planned, monitored and controlled the final stage of the delivery process; collaborating with business change, delivery teams, devops, service transition and production operations services teams to release working software into production. Our team of Release Managers ensured that code releases were production ready; that all agreed quality checks were passed, that release run books were available, that knowledge transfer was performed and that all release assurance was completed.
The MVP was released to time and piloted as part of a closed beta.
After the MVP, the programme was experiencing delays in releasing subsequent functionality and confidence was being lost in the programme’s ability to deliver. This led to the business case being reviewed and challenged by the Client.
Our Release Managers worked with the business SMEs to help explain to the senior stakeholders that the size of features / increments were too large and were limiting delivery capability and generating waste. The programme leadership, including Release Managers, collaborated to create a staged delivery process; a series of workshops led by the business and business architects in the Preparation Stage (stage 0) focussed on reducing feature size.
Reducing feature size and staging the delivery process led to an increase in the frequency of development completed features, however this led to a backlog of features waiting to be included in the monthly release cycles.
Our team worked with the senior stakeholders to identify the issues that were impeding the frequency of releases, to find solutions and to enable delivery teams. This included engaging with the operations, devops, security and testing teams to embark on a shared mission to meet the challenge of weekly releases. To this end they:
- Collaborated with development to create and socialise a definition-of-ready for every feature to be released.
- Advocated for a repeatable and consistent release regression test suite that could be fully automated.
- Saved time by supporting devops colleagues in the test execution of different profiles in parallel, across multiple development environments.
- Streamlined the entire process of merging code to master, creating a release candidate, moving features through the release pipeline and running the regression test suites to remove any unnecessary blockages in the software release pipeline.
- Orchestrated the integration testing and assurance activities related to every release based on its complexity and size and any external third-party integration and connectivity requirements.
- Engaged with the business change team to support business continuity at every stage of the process.
- Collaborated with all the relevant teams and functions, including operational services, Application Management Services and business change, to create tactical measures to address any immediate high priority issues until an appropriate long-term solution was developed and delivered.
- Introduced a documented manual test of the referrals functionality, which was subsequently automated via journey tests for every weekly release, ensuring that any new software released did not regress any production functionality.
Multiple customers were successfully on-boarded with approximately 1000 complex tickets progressed through the platform every week. The service successfully passed assessments and moved to a successful national roll out.
The challenge of regular weekly releases into Production was met often exceeding target with multiple weekly releases. As a result:
- There is no-longer a back-log of features waiting to be released.
- The programme is still releasing weekly and at the same time ensuring existing functionality in live has not regressed.
- Release Managers have created the ability to release multiple features together in order to meet the key programme milestones.
- Our Release Managers have cultivated a culture of continuous improvement, they are using forums to drive for more improvements, for example; containerisation and automation of smoke tests.