Accelerating product delivery for Mastercard

Overview

Global payments technology company Mastercard works to connect and power an inclusive digital economy – by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible across more than 210 countries worldwide. Recently, Mastercard’s prepaid cards business worked with Elsewhen as a strategic partner to help enhance and accelerate its product delivery and user acceptance testing (UAT) processes – based on Elsewhen’s experience in quality assurance (QA) and wider strategy. We established an implementation plan for Mastercard to achieve rapid improvements to team structure, methods and workflows.

Highlights
  • Assessing product delivery, QA and UAT issues, and recommending improvements to team structures, processes and practices.
  • Creating a practical plan to implement lasting change to delivery pipelines, and helping to hire a UAT director to drive the process going forward.

The challenge
Transforming a complex and inefficient delivery process

Mastercard faced a challenge to meet the growing market demand for its prepaid card services. Their testing process was siloed from the rest of the development process. This lack of visibility and collaboration meant they were unable to respond effectively to demand. The team was also very under-resourced and lacked senior input from the business.

Elsewhen worked with Mastercard as a strategic partner to clarify the underlying symptoms of the problem. We made a set of recommendations to help them implement positive change. Key issues to address included:

Asses: we conducted a detailed assessment of the current internal state of play. This involved mapping out each stage of the current processes, the key pain points and their impacts – and the causes behind these issues. We interviewed team members and stakeholders, building trust and hearing their perspectives on the problems.

Recommend: with the insights gained, we developed recommendations for Mastercard on building an improved UAT team structure, defining new roles and responsibilities. On a broader strategic scope, we also identified ways to Improve wider QA and delivery practices.

Implement: finally, we developed a practical plan for Mastercard to implement our recommendations. This included an in-depth handover to equip the teams with the required insights, skills and methodologies. We also helped the prepaid business recruit its first specialist UAT director, to drive and oversee the process.

Our Services
  • Qualitative research
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Organisational process mapping
  • Team structuring
  • Resourcing and hiring
  • Testing automation
  • Quality assurance
Transforming a complex and inefficient delivery process

Our strategic approach
Following a phased path to better delivery

We undertook a 12-week engagement on the project, with work in three strategic phases:

Assess:

Recommend Implement We conducted a detailed assessment of the current internal state of play. This involved mapping out each stage of the current processes, the key pain points and their impacts – and the causes behind these issues. We interviewed team members and stakeholders, building trust and hearing their perspectives on the problems.

Recommend:

With the insights gained, we developed recommendations for Mastercard on building an improved UAT team structure, defining new roles and responsibilities. On a broader strategic scope, we also identified ways to Improve wider QA and delivery practices.

Implement:

Finally, we developed a practical plan for Mastercard to implement our recommendations. This included an in-depth handover to equip the teams with the required insights, skills and methodologies. We also helped the prepaid business recruit its first specialist UAT director, to drive and oversee the process.

Following a phased path to  better delivery

Our solution
Building more efficient delivery pipelines and teams

We helped the team “shift left” and start testing earlier in the delivery timeline

Mastercard’s teams had faced a ‘brain drain’ caused by staff turnover and over-reliance on contractors. We recommended skilled new hires in the areas of the bottlenecks – bringing leadership and knowledge to open the lines of communication between teams.

In terms of team structure, we recommended better alignment of UAT with product owners and Scrum teams, with a UAT analyst for every two teams. We also clarified how the Agile Scrum process should operate.

Finally we recommended they “shift ‘left” along the timeline – starting testing, collaboration and risk assessment earlier in the development process. We also encouraged more automation of testing, rather than the reliance on manual regression testing.

Building more efficient delivery pipelines and teams

The outcomes
Enabling better, faster delivery with less effort

87.5% reduction in UAT effort, thanks to new test automation

Elsewhen was proactive on team resourcing issues, helping Mastercard hire the right people – including a senior leader – by putting together a detailed process to follow.

By reinforcing how testing should operate, we provided a structure for better and earlier collaboration in the wider product processes employed at Mastercard. This has enabled quicker, more rigorous testing – so any problem is caught earlier, by teams empowered to resolve it.

The primary outcome of our recommendations was a much better product process throughout, as well as key improvements to the QA and UAT layers. For example, the introduction of automated end-to-end regression testing has reduced UAT effort by 87.5%, – helping to accelerate delivery and assure quality for Mastercard.