SeaLights Case Study

How a Global Medical Company Scaled its Software Team and Improved its Product’s Quality with SeaLights

Overview

Founded in early 2000, a small startup company with a software team comprised of 4 members worked on developing a medical device. The team was focused on rapidly developing code for the sole product; time to market was the driving factor, and the software testing and quality processes were not fully mature. 

Seven years later, the startup was acquired by a global medical device company. With the acquisition, the team grew from supporting one product to developing and supporting eight products with interconnectivity between the products. As a result, the original team was divided into several teams, and the company’s future growth plans were to double the number of teams in the software engineering group. 

The teams’ Director of Engineering realized they had lost control over the quality of their software with this quick expansion. They could not continue working in this manner if they were expected to quickly deliver high-quality software in mass. The teams’ Director of Engineering needed to define his teams’ quality culture in order to ensure high-quality products in line with the global medical device company’s name and reputation.

With the help of SeaLights, the team was able to mature its engineering processes and increase its products’ quality, as well as improve its software development velocity.

The Problem

Developing software in a startup is very different than developing software in an established organization. As the software department in the global medical device company grew quickly, the Director of Engineering identified some main challenges:

  • Increase of Technical Debt – Like many startups with small teams, they tried to move fast and as a result, they created technical debt with the understanding that the debt would need to be paid at a later stage. The teams got to the point where they could no longer carry their technical debt as it was harming their quality and needed to decrease it in an efficient manner.
  • Lack of Visibility – As the teams expanded, more code was generated, more tests were written and more cross dependencies occurred. It became more difficult to gain visibility across the entire software development pipeline, understand the software quality status and effectively plan new activities.
  • Ambiguous Quality Metrics – The teams found it hard to define and measure their quality. Traditional software metrics like the number of bugs, pass/fail tests, or production issues were not sufficient for a deep understanding of quality.
  • Low-Quality Software – The teams’ old code was highly coupled and any change in one place caused problems in other areas of the code. Unit verifications couldn’t answer the need for an overall End to End testing, ensuring proper workflow across the board.

The Director of Engineering came to the conclusion that his department needed to mature and better establish its software development process, as well as implement a new quality culture. Without this, his department would continue on this downward spiral and their software quality would gradually decrease over time. 

The Solution: Quality Initiative Process

The Director of Engineering decided that the SeaLights Quality Intelligence Platform would be the perfect fit for his department because it provides software development teams with insight and visibility into factors affecting the quality and velocity of the software engineering processes and deliverables. 

One of the main reasons that the Director of Engineering chose SeaLights is the Release Quality Analytics feature which applies real-time analytics to hundreds of thousands of test executions, code changes, builds, historical data and insights from production to determine release readiness. These analytics provide automatic visibility into untested code changes, allowing teams to focus their test development on the most important areas and make data-driven go-no-go decisions.

Once the team started using the SeaLights Platform they were able to:

  • Build a testing plan for quality technical debt based on code modification in order to save time and avoid writing tests for unchanged code that end users had been using for years 
  • Make data-based decisions where additional tests should be written, avoiding unnecessary test development
  • Adopt a zero quality risk policy by identifying untested code changes and ensuring that new code is not released into production before it is tested
  • Gain visibility into the real quality status of their software across products and across teams

With the SeaLights Platform, the software department was able to build a quality culture, mature its’ engineering process, improve software development velocity, and increase the products’ quality. 

Next Steps

Going forward, the Director of Engineering is encouraging his engineering managers to also use SeaLights so they can adopt a shift-left approach and catch bugs earlier in the development process. He is also advocating that additional teams and environments use SeaLights and adopt the new engineering processes.

About the Company

The global medical device company is a leader in new product development and medical education in orthopedics. The company develops more than 1,000 innovative products and procedures each year.

About SeaLights

SeaLights is the #1 Quality Intelligence Platform for software development. The platform provides managers with actionable data analytics for both manual and automated tests so that they can focus their team’s development and testing cycles and make data-driven decisions about their releases, resulting in fewer incidents in production and a high-quality product. For more information, fill out the form to the right.below.