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July 18, 2016

Most banks have large, complex, and integrated systems, which may not be adaptive to a continuous delivery model. They have popularly deployed the Shift-Left approach for early testing, with subject matter experts (SMEs) guiding sanity testing of requirements and solution design sessions. Banks have also been experimenting with agile approaches to their light application portfolios, but when it comes to changes to their core systems, the waterfall methodology is still preferred. However, given the sequential nature of waterfall and the competitive pressure on time-to-market, development teams often do not go beyond basic unit testing before deployment. Also, in many agile projects quick and customized testing tactics are force-fitted, resulting in a significant number of bugs being identified at the end of the project. This has created the need for an alternative approach to testing.

Enter the Permeating Domain Approach

The Permeating Domain Approach in Change Management Testing (CMT) is based on real-time identification of defects. This is a domain led, user-based, predictive approach, coupled with strong operations knowledge, with a mechanism to identify majority defects at inception. This helps reduce the rate of re-work while facilitating first-time-right and optimizing the cost of quality. In a large development program, testing typically begins only towards the completion of code deployment, at a time when there are multiple change requests. This often results in high rate of defects, cycle of releases, and deferred schedules, leading to revenue leakage and impact on end user satisfaction.

In The Permeating Domain approach involves a transformation in the role of the CMT team. It identifies all functionality that can be tested in logical features during the development stage. Therefore, the CMT teams role goes beyond validating requirements, functionality, or modules and extends to contribution in design and architecture. Feature-based automation testing is implemented through coordinated planning of comprehensive end to end digital business flows. With feature testing performed in parallel to code reviews along with the build teams, ensures that by the time the code is deployed, all individual featured are tested thoroughly.

A Global bank came to us for skilled Change the Bank (CTB) resources with ask for improved and measurable efficiency of change management testing. They needed trained Change professionalsthose who understand the value of domain knowledge in transformational program, have the flexibility to shift gears in the agile business environment.

We moved our client into a new age of enterprise wide Permeating domain management. It was a big win, resulting in 31% in cost savings. Here’s how we did it:

  • On-boarded 5055% of our BPS business operations associate
  • Seamlessly transferred 50% of their high-level test design offshore, where comparable high quality can be completed at a fraction of the cost
  • Eliminated the waste of standing armies of Change management professionals whose directives continually change and implemented a core-flexi domain pool
  • Created customized competency growth path and domain certification for each associate and projects
  • Supported to create a culture and community for the need to respond to business change of all kinds across the bank

Preparing the Organization for Seamless Change

Permeating Domain requires an elevated level of collaboration between CMT and IT. In addition, this also requiresre-skilling of CMT teams, for greater technical competencies in grey box, integration, feature level, and other applied areas of testing. Financial institutions also need to account for market demands influencing rapid transformation, and ensure that quality standards are upheld across the change lifecycle.

While these concepts might not be entirely new, most banks face challenges in their implementation, ranging from strategic issues to larger organizational-structure concerns. For instance, a strong CMT function must be defined and established at the initial phase of the life cycle. Also, stakeholder mapping needs to be clearly defined for bug pursuing and resolution.

Benefiting from Structured Change Management

Most transformation and software projects face interruptions, not only due to gaps in the stated requirements but also as a result of ineffective capturing of unstated requirements. In fact, requirements validation and certification is the initial and often neglected part of the software development life-cycle. The Permeating Domain approach helps raise the correct inquiries and questions that highlight unstated but key business and user requirements and expectations. It further helps validate and certify these through quality checks. In fact, requirements validation and certification is the initial and often neglected part of the software development life-cycle.

IT cannot start development without requirements, and business cannot lay-off requirements as a problematic check-box. When done right, the correct set of well-defined requirements holds the potential to deliver bug-free software, and accelerate time-to-market. It helps prevent hastened release cycles with numerous change requests and defect fixes. The Permeating Domain approach is therefore structured to prevent major implementation failures and business roadblocks. It not just ensures the right product, but also helps develop and implement the product right!


Mital Shah is a lead at Change Management Centre of Excellence, Presales & Solutions at Tata Consultancy Services' (TCS) Business Process Services (BPS) unit. He has over 9 years of experience in Information Technology, and has worked extensively with customers in the European and Asia-Pacific geographies helping them create and innovate on Testing Practices within large transformation programs.


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