TechXLR8: J.P Morgan case study

Live at the Cloud & DevOps Summit at TechXLR8, J.P Morgan addresses the immediate DevOps challenges on a small scale and across the wider firm.

Fabian Basciani, VP Technical Lead, Equity Trading Technology, and Gleb Ivanov, Equity Trading Tech and Data Science UI Team lead, discuss the many challenges J.P Morgan has faced with DevOps.

Starting off the talk, both Basciani and Ivanov provide statistics. In 2013, “we [the team] have had approximately 13 different systems” and 40 releases with 10 critical incidents.

Basciani said:

“We decided this needs to change and… we need to move into a more Agile/DevOps environment but that might be challenging… people are lucky to keep the cars on the road and now we’re talking of incremental change and increasing velocity.”

Basciani describes that facing the challenges of moving into an agile DevOps world can be daunting as it seems unclear as to where to start. As a solution, their management introduced them to a principle called the “sphere of influence”.

The second challenge they were faced with concerned tools. Ivanov explained: “tools are critical, because if they are not fit for purpose and people are forced to use them,” many issues arise.

To resolve this the principle of Nudge Theory was used, which is Ivanov describes as a theory that “encourages behaviour rather than forcing people to do something…It encourages behaviour by making it [tools] easy, attractive, social and timely”.

Ivanov uses the example of an American grocery store that implemented Nudge Theory by introducing green arrows for certain produce which resulted in consumers being directed to the produce and thus more purchases.

J.P Morgan implemented the theory through the “AppFit” which measures include: JIRA tracking, commits, code review, continuous integration, automated testing, code quality, vulnerability scanning and automated deployment.

The third immediate DevOps challenge was technical debt, which was resolved by the “principle of marginal gains”, and fourth challenge was gaining buy-in from the team and the business.

Basciani said “we needed to remind everyone what we want to achieve” therefore mantras were utilised.

For example, we accepted that we always will have some issues, we will face some production issues right… so for examplewhat we wanted to achieve is that we never wanted to ‘see the same issue twice’.” Thus the mantra was repeated, and to achieve this the company had to introduce automated testing.

Both Basciani and Ivanov concluded by looking back at their five-year transformation journey. Their original 13 systems have decreased to 3, whilst the number or releases increased significantly to 450 per year.

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