How do you reinject a product vision into a delivery team?

Written by Baptiste Macé, on 27 October 2021

When it comes to a team's survival, the first instinct is often to think about cost reduction before considering possible dissolution. However, putting users at the heart of a team's strategy can be beneficial for it.

The Automation Apps Factory team positioned itself as a true partner in the implementation of the DEVOPS approach at GRC - DevOps Manager at GRC

From a team on the verge of dissolution at the beginning of the mission, it became a key player in implementing the DevOps approach within the entity. How did Aneo's support enable such a transformation? Baptiste Macé, DevOps Consultant at Aneo, explains in this case study.

The mission framework

An entity focused on the operational efficiency of the group

The GTS (Global Services Technologies) entity of Société Générale is the service center dedicated to managing the IT infrastructure of all subsidiaries and entities of the group.

Its ambition is to provide a homogeneous information system to the entire company. One goal is to implement a common cloud while ensuring operational efficiency and cost reduction.

Within this entity, there is the RCR (Retail Customer Relationships) entity, which provides packaged services to other departments of the group. It supported the Apps Automation Factory team. This team had two main roles:

  • Operational/maintenance/security of Ansible Tower and AWX instances.
  • Supporting a development team towards automation.

The supported team

In this context, we intervened with a team of 9 people on the verge of dissolution facing the following difficulties: lack of team involvement, misunderstanding of issues, and a non-existent organization (flawed Agile).

However, this team had some strengths to capitalize on: a solid Tech Lead, a highly involved Product Owner, and a Management eager to move forward.

To present this mission, we will use the image of a firefighter helping a team extinguish a fire and then accompanying them in the reconstruction.

Accompanying the team in its reconstruction in 5 steps

Extinguish the fire - Migration of critical applications

End of 2019 - April 2020

A vital migration from Ansible Tower to Ansible AWX had to be implemented to ensure the sustainability of certain critical applications.

Indeed, with licenses expiring, all 300 applications using Ansible Tower at Société Générale risked being unable to deliver to production by the end of the year.

The team attempted to migrate all data from the old version to the new one, but without success. We finally avoided this pitfall by prioritizing applications by their criticality. We migrated them one by one, relying on Agile principles.

Remove the rubble - Deconstructing bad habits

April 2020 - October 2020

The team organized its work around a morning daily, during which objectives changed daily.

Thus, we worked on the vision with the team and management to define shared objectives. We changed a number of habits:

  • Scrum methodology. We reinstated and re-explained it with iterations, each with a purpose and deliverable.
  • Fail fast. We explained its precepts, burying some projects with low added value, despite their progress.
  • We transitioned from rigid software automation of applications to empowering teams through training and coaching (reduced support).

Rebuild solid foundations - Simplifying usage through the development of a portal

March 2021 - October 2021

Only the largest applications had a budget to be supported under Ansible AWX. For smaller ones, we wanted to act differently. That's why we developed an onboarding web portal.

Indeed, it consisted of a user-friendly interface to simplify usage under AWX. The platform was thus more suitable for developers. It also contained less information.

To achieve the creation of this portal, it was necessary to engage all management. It also required the intervention of an agile coach. On the agenda: MVP and story Mapping.

Finish the reconstruction - The ultimate migration to the SG cloud

July 2021 - Early 2022

The migration to Ansible AWX resulted in a considerable cost reduction (license prices and resource rationalization). However, we wanted to go further. We therefore accompanied our client in migrating their applications to the Société Générale cloud.

Several benefits:

  • A significant time saving, no need for MCO (Maintaining Conditions in Operational) on infrastructures and middlewares.
  • More scalability. With the number of platform users increasing, performance needs to be adapted to usage.

In parallel, with work methodologies and product vision issues resolved, it was necessary to tackle the more technical aspect. This is how weekly code reviews, pair programming, and the generalization of DevOps were implemented within the team.

Take stock and tell the story!

Today, the team has nothing left to prove to exist. Moreover, its members are regularly sought after to support other teams facing similar difficulties.