Worldpay embraces bimodal development to speed time to market and motivate employees
A pioneer in payments processing technology and solutions for merchant customers, Worldpay processes over 40 billion transactions annually through more than 300 payment types across 146 countries and 126 currencies. Technology forms the backbone of Worldpay’s business, with 40% of the company’s employees worldwide focusing on the development of proprietary technology platforms and fintech services to enable merchants to accept a vast array of payment types, across multiple channels, anywhere in the world.
Historically, software development at Worldpay employed a ”waterfall” approach typical of a project management office (PMO). However, Jason Scott-Taggart, Head of Technology Operations, had big ambitions to embrace bimodal development to accelerate time to market for new services and create a more motivational role for software developers.
Jason explains: “We had a clear vision to move to a bimodal ecosystem that could accommodate our traditional, more predictable ‘waterfall’ approach to software development, while allowing our teams to experiment and develop in an Agile, iterative way.”
He adds: “Software developers are driven by innovation, not process. With such a large percentage of our workforce engaged in development, motivation and satisfaction of the team was also a key driver.”
With ServiceNow Worldpay facilitates company-wide adoption of DevOps practices
Jason set about redesigning the organisation around a service-oriented, capabilities-focused model, where DevOps practices would be embedded at the core. Rather than focusing on teams with a common skillset, Worldpay trialled cross-functional teams.
The approach required a fundamental shift in thinking around the people and processes for run/support. Jason explains: “We wanted to empower our DevOps teams to focus on the development of new services, but to achieve this we had to move support out of our technical services teams. Ultimately, we wanted to put the right skills in the right teams that would get the fix closer to the user.”
Using ServiceNow®, Worldpay created an organisation-wide platform to redesign the delivery of run/support, so the focus of the customer experience sits at the first level of support, backed up by Level 2. In this way, DevOps teams receive only the feedback specific to the micro capabilities they are focused on, which form the building blocks of more comprehensive business services for Worldpay merchants and customers.
Today, 70% of run/support sits with the first line team, which is accountable for the customer experience, and 20% sits within specific business services. Any problem tickets or requests can be triggered to be sent to the JIRA software development stack, helping to ensure DevOps only receives links to real incidents and not brain dumps from individuals.
The result is that only 5% of support now sits with the DevOps teams, where that level is manageable and specific to the technical service for which they are accountable. At the same time, the DevOps teams are given meaningful feedback on the Level 1 support experience from ServiceNow through to their stacks in JIRA.
ServiceNow helps Worldpay break down monolithic artefacts to drive Agile development
The adoption of ServiceNow also created the ideal framework to drive a DevOps culture within Worldpay, delivering on its vision to break down the monolithic artefacts and checkpoints to empower more Agile development.
For Jason the driver was clear: “It was hard to store everything up in the development process. Teams were doing two-weekly sprints, but we needed a way to size, touch it, change it, and automate the release process and delivery of those packages.”
Today, more than half of Worldpay’s development team uses Agile methodology, underpinned by ServiceNow. The platform supplements with automation and monitoring at every stage, from software construction to deployment, with seamless integration with Worldpay’s JIRA software development tool.
The service acceptance criteria, which Jason calls a huge spreadsheet, has moved as a workflow into ServiceNow, alongside knowledge articles, dependencies with other services, and mapping with configuration items in the CMDB.
ServiceNow enables shorter development cycles, more dependable releases, and increased deployment frequency
For Jason, the benefits are notable, with the DevOps culture driving operational efficiency and accelerating time to market for new services to meet customer demands. New requirements are also fed back to development teams more quickly for prioritisation.
“We wanted to automate and devolve, and ServiceNow has enabled us to start the move to DevOps,” says Jason. “The result is shorter development cycles, more dependable releases, and increased deployment frequency. Delivery to customers is faster and more predictable—and I get more control, not less.”
The impact of the restructuring and DevOps approach driven by ServiceNow was evident following an initial pilot that tasked a small Worldpay DevOps team with creating specific micro services around payments. Just three tickets a week are now filtering down to the team of eight.
Critically, Jason says the focus on DevOps has freed up his teams to work the way they want to work: “We see high satisfaction from development staff when they have ‘skin in the game’. They’re motivated as they see the benefits of their efforts more immediately, and being ‘on the hook’ is a challenge they relish.”
ServiceNow helps Worldpay engineer cultural change at scale
While the traditional waterfall approach continues for major, PMO-style projects at Worldpay, Jason says the next step is to move DevOps into large-scale operations: “We’re now looking for a big cultural change—and that becomes harder to orchestrate.”
However, Jason is determined: “Our vision of software development is only possible if we can achieve it at scale."