Enterprise-Wide Agile Process + Atlassian Tools Overhaul
Headquartered in Portland, Oregon (with operations spanning America, Europe, and Asia), Vesta Corporation is the only provider of integrated risk and payment solutions for digital goods. Since Vesta’s inception in 1995, the company has evolved from a pioneer in processing fully guaranteed card-non-present (CNP) payment transactions to their position today as a global leader in fraud protection technology.
With a mission to increase payment conversion and acceptance while eliminating fraudulent transactions and merchant liability, the Vesta team takes their responsibility to heart. Which is why Vesta’s CIO led an initiative to overhaul the organization’s product development process and tools in 2016.
When Contegix first heard from Vesta Corporation’s VP of Engineering, Shawn Montague, in the summer of 2016, he was working hand-in-hand with Vesta’s CIO to overhaul the development team’s methodology. Their goals with this initiative were to:
- Expand visibility and transparency within the organization worldwide
- Easily migrate to an efficient development process
- Accurately track and report on team progress and milestones
- Set a new bar for delivery of features and products, from code to deployment
For an established enterprise organization like Vesta, a transition of this magnitude represented a significant cultural and infrastructural undertaking. The engineering and QA teams (now merging to form one single “development” team) had spent years steeped in a waterfall development process, and cultivating deep working and institutional knowledge with their homegrown tool set.
Fortunately, Vesta’s transition to Agile had the full and enthusiastic support of their development team. “It was really inspiring to see our people rally around this initiative,” says Shawn. “We asked the team to step outside of their comfort zone, to completely transform the way they think about and do their jobs. Their enthusiasm was a key component to our ultimate adoption of the new tools and process.”
Vesta’s CIO understood this transition would require more than just internal working knowledge of the Agile methodology – it necessitated a significant investment in the right set of tools, and comprehensive training to support the tools’ adoption and mastery by the team.
“Prior to this initiative we were working in a variety of tools we had cobbled together or that we’d engineered over the years,” says Shawn. “We were using a lot of ‘glue code’ to get the tools to support one another. There was no doubt that they wouldn’t support our transition to Agile, but regardless of methodology – our growing organization would have out-scaled them in a short period of time.”
Shawn brought together a cross-functional team to gather requirements and research applicable tool sets. While investigating multiple solutions, his team remained diligent about considering only those tools that integrated and worked together out of the box.
“The last thing we needed was to invest in a set of tools that would require more custom code to make them work together. It was incredibly important that the tools scale and play well together. It became clear early on that Atlassian offered the best workflow experience – it is customizable, but defaults to simplicity. The choice was fairly easy.”
-Shawn Montague, VP of Engineering for Vesta Corporation
With the decision made to move forward with the Atlassian tools, 3 challenges became immediately apparent to Shawn:
1. Vesta needed help procuring the appropriate Atlassian product licenses at a maximum ROI
2. Their dispersed teams required training to bridge the gap between their agile understanding and practical application within the tools
3. The broad application of the tools warranted expert help with customization and configuration to ensure they were optimized for Vesta’s approach / processes
Shawn reached out to Vesta’s Procurement Manager, Natalie Blankenship, to get the ball rolling with the tools implementation aspect of their Agile overhaul.
Enterprise-Wide Agile Process + Atlassian Tools Overhaul
When Natalie first investigated Vesta’s options with the Atlassian tools, it took her some time to understand the best way to procure licenses and training.
Natalie had been researching Atlassian Solution Partners that offered licensing services as well as training, and was excited to find that Contegix was local to Portland and had the Platinum credentials to underwrite the team’s expertise. After meeting with Contegix's business development team, Natalie put them in touch with Shawn to discuss licensing strategy, training, and engineering services to customize the tools for optimum integration.
With the licensing strategy mapped out, Shawn and the Contegix team dove headfirst into planning a comprehensive training curriculum and subsequent customization strategy for Vesta’s Atlassian tools. Together they designed an engagement that would deliver on 3 essential aspects of the initiative:
- Timing – ensure the tools training and rollout to sync up with the agile methodology pivot
- Customization – ensure maximum ROI on the tools by optimizing their configuration for Vesta’s process
- Autonomy – educate the team on use the tools, and elevate their expertise to include best practices and opportunities for improvement
With Shawn’s guidance, Contegix engineers developed a robust training curriculum and administered the trainings over the course of 5 days to more than 80 Vesta team members around the world.
“Contegix engineers are very knowledgeable, they were able to dive into a multi-tiered curriculum with strong familiarity and comfort with our team,” says Shawn. “In many ways, I saw the team really understand the process because of the tools. Contegix's training offering demonstrated the practical implementation of Agile within the Atlassian stack, it was so easy to understand that I decided to open up the training recordings to every team in our organization.”
Simultaneously, Contegix engineers worked with Vesta’s TechOps department to launch and configure their JIRA, Bitbucket, and Bamboo environments.
With the proper setup and configuration of JIRA, Vesta had clean baseline data and the opportunity to leverage Portfolio for JIRA to roll up workflows across teams into the same board. Contegix guided Vesta through this process, uncovering opportunities to leverage Portfolio for time tracking, improved visibility for project managers, and projection power for multi-disciplinary work.
“When Contegix started showing us what our team could do with Portfolio, light bulbs started going off,” says Shawn. “We began building a process that not only monitors and manages our team resources, but routes them to the highest value projects in an agile way.”
Vesta successfully rolled out their process improvement and Atlassian tools infrastructure in fall of 2016. Since launching their Agile transition, Vesta’s Development team has seen many benefits, including:
- Comprehensive visibility of work and progress across workboards
- Quantified dependencies between projects
- Cohesive planning worldwide
- Data-informed projections for timelines, workloads, and resources
- Agility to reroute resources as business priorities shift
- Faster releases
- Higher quality deliverables
The initiative has spurred change across more than just the Development team. Shawn says that his team “got JIRA out in front of the entire company as a technology-specific solution – but now a lot of other groups are wanting to leverage it.” For example, Vesta’s Fraud department and reporting teams want to start working within the Atlassian tools so their data and processes will integrate and roll up with development. And because Shawn has made Contegix's trainings available to every team in the organization, “other teams are starting to see the power of Agile. They’re finding opportunities to apply the methodology not only to their teams, but we’re starting to discuss how all teams across the organization could work and implement an agile process together.”
Contegix is incredibly proud to have played a role in supporting Vesta’s transformational initiative. We look forward to working with them again in the future!