AHEAD | Just Retirement Case Study
Following the Pension Reforms announced by the Chancellor, Just Retirement decided to enter the SIPP platform market using GBST Composer technology. Having previously focused on internal development for their applications, using a large 3rd party supplier was culturally a large shift from their tried and tested internal delivery and change mechanism.
Following a challenging delivery to launch a regulatory conformant platform within aggressive deadlines, AheadMG were engaged to review the testing operation and design and implement changes in the approach to provide a more structured, measurable and repeatable outcome.
At the outset of the engagement, focus was placed on the definition of a common test strategy and defect methodology to underpin all testing on the platform. As work on these artefacts progressed it became evident that the consultancy engagement would need to also tackle ‘non-test’ issues around the governance and oversight of change onto the platform. AheadMG designed and implemented a platform acceptance group whose role was to oversee all releases and seek to optimise delivery onto the platform by centralising change under clear ownership and control. Due to the need to react dynamically to changing plans and defect positions, the governance group focused on release planning, ensuring all involved in the platform understood the scope, release dates and position of each release.
Following the implementation of the new governance model, the focus reverted back to the core pillars of the engagement, the test strategy and defect management approach. By working side by side with the existing Test Manager, the creation of the test strategy was geared at providing Just Retirement with an achievable model which provided the organisation with clarity around approach, phasing and most importantly accountability for the activity. By working closely with the business, projects and IT, AheadMG was able to gain buy-in for a number of new processes, not least a new defect process and project within Quality Centre, including a direct reconciliation process for ensuring client/supplier defect records remained in sync which allowed Just Retirement to speak in the same ‘currency’ as the supplier.
Over the course of the engagement AheadMG, working in tandem with Just Retirement, were able to introduce an efficient and structured platform test approach underpinned by a holistic and cross business governance group. As a result of the changes in the test strategy, Just Retirement are now witnessing wholesale improvements which are a direct result of the following changes;
• Introduction of a single platform release plan, supported by clear environment utilisation and ownership;
• Continuous regression, based on business end to end processes;
• Holistic Platform Governance group providing oversight to all test activity;
• Streamlined defect management process which interlocks with the supplier processes and terminology, allowing for a single view of the truth and high degree of confidence in the numbers;
• Real time reporting across both Test and Defect data allowing for enhanced decision making and monitoring against plan;
• Introduction of a test once approach, underpinned by increased confidence in the control of code/configuration/releases within a given environment;
As a result of the engagement platform testing at Just Retirement is now more closely aligned with both the supplier and best practice seen at other similar platform organisations.
“The implementation of a third party solution was a departure from the core strengths of Just Retirement’s Change functions. In order to quickly establish new working practices to cope with this new dynamic we engaged the services of AheadMG, as specialists in testing but with a particular insight into how the package works. We allowed AheadMG to steer the direction to be taken and I feel we are now strongly positioned to continue responding to the demands of our business. AheadMG proved to be a strong and collaborative partner and I would not hesitate to engage them again should the opportunity arise.”
Pete Sovegjarto (Director of IT and Live Services)