Interview with Gudrun Olafsdottir, Development Director for LS Nav.
A few months ago, the LS Nav team revolutionized the way they think, work and deliver products. This change enabled the team to deliver releases faster and more efficiently than ever before. Gudrun Olafsdottir, Development Director for LS Nav, told us about the team’s journey, and the plans for the future of LS Nav.
How did you use to work?
“In the past, we used to release big upgrades every few months. These releases were large and time-consuming –the testing and packaging alone took 2 months’ time. Then, at the beginning of 2015, the team was given an ambitious goal: become the best in cloud.”
Why change your processes, when they had always given good results?
“The world is moving at an unprecedented pace. Our customers demand better service and new functions, and they want them now. If we want to keep up with market demands, we need to be agile: deliver fast, get immediate feedback, rapidly release fixes and improvements. The cloud environment is all about speed and simplicity: systems need to be easy to learn and install, and upgrades must be frequent, quick and painless for the user. That’s how the idea of continuous delivery – frequent, quick-to-install updates instead of big, infrequent upgrades, which take long to install – came to be. “
Big changes required
How did you go about revolutionizing your way of developing?
“We realized that our process was too unfocused, and that some parts of it were too time-consuming. In order to deliver quick and frequent updates, we needed to
shorten the delivery process
get total control over our codebase.
We needed to make drastic changes, starting from our way of thinking.
So we did.
We started using automated testing. We took inspiration from Microsoft’s tests, and built our own testing environment. This was no small step: we ended up changing our whole process to test-driven development. Now every time we release a new functionality or fix an error we create a test.
We started taking quick decisions, to eliminate and keep down queues in the backlog.
We set a goal for zero bug tolerance; this helps us maintain focus on what is important, strengthening our discipline.
We created a steering committee with ownership over the product, which decides what fixes and upgrades to prioritize. This means we are better organized and have a much clearer and stronger direction.
In other words, we made the process leaner. Changing our way of thinking was difficult, but the team was eager to improve, and made amazing progress in a very short time. All the hard work was worth it.” Do you want to know more about the improvements that continuous delivery brought about? Do you want to know what is in the near and distant future for LS Nav? Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview, where you will find answers to these – and more – questions.