Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon and Medallia’s Project 24

 

By Guido de Caso, enterprise software architect, Medallia

The combination of Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and a strategic Medallia initiative might not seem logical, but for me, they are an experience of a lifetime.

I recently had the opportunity to share Medallia’s DevOps story at an internal CloudBees meeting in “Sin City.” It was my first trip to Las Vegas and I traveled from Argentina just for the opportunity (and to take a few days of vacation with my wife). But before we got to see the bright lights of the Vegas Strip or the Grand Canyon, I had a job to do. In front of 250+ CloudBees employees, I shared the details of Medallia’s Project 24 - an aggressive initiative with the ultimate goal of deploying any code change within 24 hours.

To reach that goal - and we’re not there yet - we’ve had to tackle our tools, our processes and our engineering culture. We know this goal is business critical because our market leadership depends on it and our customers expect it.

The customer experience market has recently been sized at somewhere between $10 and $17 billion.  As you can imagine, it’s a market with many different players – both old and new – all trying to get a bigger slice of that pie. The pressure has increased to deliver a better experience and better products faster than the competition. All of this is why CI/CD and DevOps have become so important for my team and the almost 300 engineers in the Medallia development organization. We believe that DevOps has to be part of our DNA in how our engineering teams operate and how we engage with our customers.

 


“The primary goal of this initiative is to deploy any code change, whenever it is ready, to every one of Medallia’s enterprise customers within 24 hours.”


 

Our DevOps strategy, which was launched by Naggi Asmar, Medallia’s vice president of engineering, is manifested in the Project 24 initiative. The primary goal of this initiative is to deploy any code change, whenever it is ready, to every one of Medallia’s enterprise customers within 24 hours. This initiative, which is supported by our top executives and powered by our developers, is based on our ability to run CI/CD at scale with the help of CloudBees software.  

As Naggi recently noted: “The CloudBees software has been instrumental in transforming our engineering practices to embrace DevOps as a way of life. Every engineer can confidently launch an on-demand pipeline to verify the deployability of her merge and obtain feedback on the overall health of her code within minutes.”

Prior to launching Project 24, our development organization had experienced a period of significant growth, expanding from about 20 engineers to hundreds. The tools we used for a team of 20 were not adequate for a team 10 times bigger. Ultimately, our capacity to innovate was being hindered by our tools. Recognizing that Jenkins was a mission-critical system for us, we partnered with CloudBees because our customers expect enterprise-grade everything - from auditability, security, compliance, availability and more.

 


“Recognizing that Jenkins was a mission-critical system for us, we partnered with CloudBees because our customers expect enterprise-grade everything - from auditability, security, compliance, availability and more.”


 

Though we have not yet achieved Project 24’s ultimate goal of being able to deploy any code change within 24 hours, we have made significant strides. We are currently running roughly 20,000 jobs a week across 1,000 projects and we expect double-digit growth in the next quarter alone. We’ve reduced build times from two or three hours down to 20 minutes on a project that has more than one million lines of Java code.

The increased productivity made possible by these improvements has led to happier developers. When you’re an engineer who no longer has to battle the tools you are using, you’re happier because you can focus on the creative and rewarding aspects of your work.

Our developers have recognized the difference. One year after we started using CloudBees software, we surveyed our development team on their experiences with it using Net Promoter Score (NPS). We measured a 63, which is incredibly high. That level of satisfaction leads to greater retention rates, which is one of the key challenges for any engineering team today.  

Having made great progress on the CI side, our focus for the next year has shifted to improving performance on the CD side. As we enter this next phase, we are continuing to work with the CloudBees team and expect our partnership to continue to have an impact.

Maybe our work will get me invited to another CloudBees event. I wouldn’t say “no” to an invitation to meet up with Sacha Labourey in Neuchatel, Switzerland. One can dream, right?

If you’d like to learn more about Medallia’s Project 24, check out our case study and video.