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Continuous development - It's working

Fundamental to our major transformation programme is ‘J2FM’, a working name for a project that is replacing the end-of-life middleware software that transports about 90% of Inland Revenue’s data. This ‘foundational’ project supports and prepares us for transforming to the new revenue system from 2017. Given its business-critical nature and the potential implementation risks, we’ve taken a different approach to delivery.

For the J2FM project, we’re adopting an iterative continuous development approach that is relatively new to Inland Revenue.  Historically, large scale projects have only used traditional waterfall methods involving large manual testing efforts in integrated test environments in the latter phase of the project. Many defects are therefore identified at a later stage, resulting in greater risk and more costly fix and retest efforts. The continuous development approach has opened us up to new ways of working – and it’s working!

Progress so far

The first tranche of the upgrade has been successfully delivered within six months. Working with our local delivery partners DeloitteAsparona and Assurity, we have embraced the continuous development approach to deliver progressively into production, targeting defects early and iteratively, and learning at each deployment. This approach has helped us achieve higher quality delivery against challenging timeframes.

Our development and test framework automatically deploys and tests the code once the code is checked in. The testing is carried out in a zero touch test environment, running hundreds of thousands of tests daily. This large scale testing coverage of middleware is giving us a high degree of confidence and delivers quality prior and during integration.

Benefits speak for themselves

With seven deployments now in production, we are reaping the benefits of the continuous development and test approach. The majority of defects are discovered and resolved early, saving significant effort and cost, and achieving higher quality delivery and minimal business disruption.

Changing the approach to software delivery in the public sector is a key factor in improving service delivery to our customers. This new innovative way of working is setting Inland Revenue up for better results as we follow the same approach for future projects, patches and implementations with our delivery partners.