Wood Group Intetech (WG Intetech) is a leading asset-integrity company working with many of the biggest players in the oil and gas sector – these include Shell and Statoil. A Wood Group business, its software products are widely used to monitor corrosion rates and provide real-time risk ranking of operational well integrity. Its software team consists of a core group of around 20 developers, testers and project managers.
WG Intetech wanted to get software releases out to the market faster. It also wanted to increase the frequency of its product updates. In order to achieve this, however, it needed to speed up its development process by becoming more efficient.
“We had to become more agile in our approach. If we didn’t, the consequence would be slower releases and our time to market would suffer,” said Ged Lunt, Manager of Technology at WG Intetech. “We had to look at our business processes and the technology available to us. The pace of technological change is always getting quicker and we needed to stay on top of this.” WG Intetech realised it could become more efficient by introducing more automation to its testing processes but deploying this required some upskilling within its development team. “Our team wants to use state of the art methods and technology but it is difficult to always have the right knowledge internally – sometimes you need to bring in outside people.”
WG Intetech invited OpenCredo into the business to work with its development team and provide a set of recommendations which would deliver the efficiencies required. OpenCredo evaluated the business processes that WG Intetech had in place and technologies being deployed, before producing a roadmap of improvements. Consultants then worked on premise to train the WG Intetech team and help implement a series of changes. These included:
- The introduction of a new iterative development process. This broke down the requirement gathering procedure into manageable workloads and allowed the development team to become more responsive – and also reprioritise as business needs evolved over time.
- The creation of a new deployment pipeline. This provided a test environment which would support test automation and enable problems to be identified at the earliest possible opportunity.
- The deployment of testing automation. This would reduce the time needed to verify that requirements are being met. This can be introduced to regression testing so that previously verified requirements could be re-tested every time a new change was made.
The Business Benefits
WG Intetech established a more efficient development process which met the desired objective of reducing the time taken to get products to market. This was not all, however. By introducing new business processes and testing automation, the company also gained a number of additional benefits which have had a significant impact on the business.
Better products at lower cost
Greater efficiency has allowed WG Intetech to develop higher quality products, with more features, within the same time period. “It now takes less manual effort to get products out of the door,” said Ged. “It means we can develop features which would have just taken too long before. In the time that it used to take us to produce three features, we are now producing four or five.”The combination of testing automation and an iterative development process has also enabled WG Intetech to identify problems quickly and address them before they become a major issue – saving the company time and money in the rectification process. Ged said: “We are more streamlined and faster – and we catch problems sooner. We can deal with problems immediately, which is crucial as the longer we leave a problem the more costly it becomes to fix.”
The upskilling of staff alongside the deployment of cutting edge techniques and technology, has also had a significant impact on team morale, according to Ged. “People want to know they are working in the most efficient way. They want to be delivering things faster and know they are continuously improving,” he said. “Having OpenCredo’s consultants shadow working in our office was a very effective way of upskilling our team. It would have been hard to implement the kind of changes if we had tried to achieve this over the phone.”
More effective management
Creating a more efficient development process has also freed up managers to concentrate on other areas of the business. “I previously had to micromanage the development process but I don’t need to do this anymore as the team is much more self- sufficient,” said Ged. “This has allowed me to concentrate on other important things, such as medium-term planning. Instead of being continuously involved in the development process, I can take a look at what else is going on in the market and spend more time talking to customers.”