2 page Case Study
Posted: 12/11/2012
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XP Investimentos Financial Firm Invests in Development Process to Improve Proprietary Applications

XP Investimentos has grown 80 percent per year since 2007, when it first became a brokerage firm. Brokerage firms rely heavily on technology, but the systems the company originally developed could not keep up with the rapid growth and needed to be redesigned. To revamp and maintain its systems efficiently, XP Investimentos turned to Microsoft partner Lambda3 Informática to implement an application lifecycle management solution based on Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2012. By adopting agile development processes and implementing continuous integration for its primary web site upgrades, XP was able to save more than 1,600 hours of developer time per year on its build processes and deliver a new build to testers every 90 minutes.

Business Needs

XP Investimentos (XP) became an independent broker in 2007 and by 2011 was the leading brokerage firm in Brazil. It grew by offering a broad selection of investment options to its customers by promoting online investing for customers who want to make their own decisions; by developing a broad network of independent agents; and by delivering financial education to more than 500,000 Brazilians to help grow the investment market.

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* With Team Foundation Build we automated a
labor-intensive, daily build process. We are saving 1600 hours of labor per year just getting our web page code to user acceptance testing.  *


Rodrigo Moura Fernandes
CIO
XP Investimentos

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XP depends considerably on technology to deliver services to its agents and customers. Among the systems it operates are: a web portal for customers to check their accounts and make trades, an intranet for agents to manage their customer accounts, and a web-based trading platform for institutions.

Many of these systems were initially developed in 2007 when XP had only a few people on its IT staff. With 80 percent annual growth for the company, the IT staff grew at an even faster rate: the staff currently numbers 110 including 70 developers. These developers struggled to update the applications because they never had time to implement agile programming practices and efficient application lifecycle management (ALM). “We are a different company now than when we first developed our core systems,” says Rodrigo Moura Fernandes, CIO at XP Investimentos. “We needed to redesign them to support the high volume of transactions we manage on a daily basis.”

Fernandes recognized that XP needed to implement ALM to gain visibility into the lifecycle of the applications XP maintains. “I needed to know what my developers were doing,” says Fernandes. “I wanted to see metrics for utilization and hours spent on specific projects so I could manage the team more efficiently.” Because its applications had become so complex, XP faced challenges making any new updates and deploying them successfully. It experienced problems with nearly 70 percent of the updates to its test environment and had to roll them back to maintain a working version.

Solution

XP turned to Microsoft partner Lambda3 Informática (Lambda3) to help it implement a comprehensive ALM solution. Lambda3 helped XP deploy Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2012 to manage application development and the agile development processes.

The first application migrated to Team Foundation Server was the customer portal because it is the most important application for XP and had become the most troublesome for its developers. XP first moved the source code from Visual SourceSafe to Team Foundation Server. It then implemented a branching strategy to enable its developers to work on multiple updates at a time. “In the past all of our developers worked on the same code and we had difficulty tracking what code to deploy,” says Fernandes. “We frequently had packages that went into testing before they were ready. Then we had to roll back the code.”

XP adopted agile programming methods using the Scrum templates in Team Foundation Server. The agile processes provide the data to track developer productivity and project completion. In the future, XP will adopt the Kanban dashboards to help visualize the flow of tasks for the project and help make its workflows more efficient.

The next step was implementing the automated build capability of Team Foundation Server, better known as Team Foundation Build, to automate build processes. XP implemented gated check-in through Team Foundation Server to ensure that all code submissions will build successfully before they are accepted. It initially used only the default policies, but has subsequently incorporated unit tests into the gated check-in process. It also implemented continuous integration and now passes new builds to its test environment every 90 minutes using Microsoft Web Deploy, better known as MSDeploy.

XP also used Team Foundation Server to change its test processes, which were mostly manual. The company began using the feature-rich Microsoft Test Manager to track the items to test and assign bugs to specific tasks within Team Foundation Server. “Previously, the testers sent email with Excel spreadsheets listing the bugs they found, which was chaotic,” says Fernandes. “Team Foundation Server brings a whole new level of collaboration between our QA staff and developers.” With the planned implementation of the Microsoft Feedback Client, XP will add end-user input to further assist its developers.

Benefits

Under the guidance of Lambda3, XP has used Team Foundation Server 2012 to completely revamp its development processes. “We have made a monumental change here at XP Investimentos. With the help of Lambda3 we are not only installing and customizing Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server 2012, we are implementing processes to help our developers excel at their jobs.”

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* Team Foundation Server brings a whole new level of collaboration between our QA staff and developers.  *

Rodrigo Moura Fernandes
CIO
XP Investimentos

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Enhanced Source Code Management – XP can now create a separate branch for each new feature it is developing and control the code changes included in the build. XP no longer has to spend time determining which parts of its code should be included in a build.

Solid Metrics for Developer Productivity – By implementing agile development processes, XP gains deeper visibility into its development projects. “The Scrum dashboards in Team Foundation Server 2012 give me robust control and tracking abilities regarding developer allocation and team performance,” says Fernandes.

Automated Builds Save Time - “With Team Foundation Build we automated a labor-intensive, daily build process. We are saving 1600 hours of labor per year just getting our web page code to user acceptance testing,” says Fernandes. “On top of time savings via automation, with Team Foundation Build we can provide a new build for our testers every 90 minutes compared with once every few days.”

Improved Collaboration Between Developers and QA - The adoption of Microsoft Test Manager is improving the efficiency of the quality team. “Team Foundation Server enables better, more efficient collaboration between our testers and developers that we need to successfully deliver updates to our complex applications,” says Fernandes.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 760 employees

Organization Profile

XP Investimentos is the largest independent brokerage firm in Brazil. It serves its 63,000 clients through its website, 1,500 independent agents, and offices in 140 cities throughout Brazil.


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate 2012
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server

Vertical Industries
Banking

Country/Region
Brazil

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Lambda3 Informática

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