BlueSky’s client had a very large, geographically diverse application development department covering over 100 application teams. The core challenge was a lack of consistency with several different software development lifecycle (SDLC) methodologies being used across the organization. This made it extremely difficult to manage the teams effectively and resulted in a very high number of system outages and incidents which caused downtime across several mission-critical applications that the business relied on. BlueSky was brought onboard to help develop a new SDLC methodology that could be standardized across the organization.
BlueSky worked closely with several senior IT directors to build a steering committee that would shape the new standardized SDLC. The steering committee consisted of 5 teams with each team focused on a different phase in a typical SDLC: 1) Planning, 2) Analysis & Design, 3) Build, 4) Stabilize/Test, and 5) Transition/Deployment.
We focused our initial efforts on the larger Tier 1 applications in use across the organization. Representatives from each of the Tier 1 development teams worked closely with BlueSky to conduct an assessment of the current SDLC process and to begin developing a future state vision and roadmap for an improved methodology. This assessment, along with weekly steering committee meetings allowed us to quickly identify the core challenges we needed to solve. These challenges included the integration of on-shore and off-shore technical teams and the different way in which each team worked with stakeholders and business partners to identify requirements and coordinate testing and release events. The first step in addressing these challenges came with the decision to use the Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) as the enterprise-wide tool that would provide a foundation for a standardized SDLC.
BlueSky’s next move was to partner with Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) to create a consistent approach to leveraging TFS across the organization. We focused on improving quality and decreasing the number of outages by making fundamental changes to the basic SDLC methodology. Coding would happen in smaller, iterative intervals that would last 4 to 6 weeks. Training would be provided to help each team build in automated unit and integration testing and to shift the overall philosophy to one of “test early, test often.” Working with MCS, we refined this approach over the next 6 months to roll out a standardized but flexible SDLC that fit the global needs of the organization while accommodating the unique regulatory and legal requirements of each application team. We supported this roll out with hands-on coaching and training and used our technology acumen and deep program management experience to bring our client’s goal of a more effective and efficient enterprise-wide SDLC to life.
BlueSky delivered a successful process improvement plan and solution to our client’s IT organization with over 700+ members split between on-shore and off-shore teams. We worked with over 50 application development teams to assess their unique needs and challenges and identify the specific process changes and the necessary skills required to develop and roll out an improved SDLC. We drove the adoption of the Microsoft Team Foundation Server across 180 project teams which allowed each team to report its progress using standardized metrics. Our program management solution included the development of a training program that encompassed software testing, requirements management, build management, release and deployment management as well as project management and SCRUM master training. We helped create a steering committee of process change owners, made up of representatives from each application team that served as a center of excellence to guide the roll out and adoption of the new SDLC. Key results also included our ability to rally a very large, geographically diverse team around a common goal and the creation of a foundational reporting and metrics platform that will allow our client to better align their IT resources to meet critical needs, manage demand and ensure their IT department is running as efficiently as possible.