United Energy and Multinet Gas (UE & MG) provide a safe and reliable energy supply for more than 640,000 customers in Australia, across east and southeast Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. UE & MG are building a future of smart grids, smart meters, smart homes, and creating a more sustainable way of delivering and using energy every day.
“The Projects and Portfolio test environments support about $30–40 million of IT capital work a year,” says Danny Tobias, UE & MG’s Project and Portfolio Environment Manager. “The non-production environment landscape is comprised of about 30 core test environments and other time-sliceable test environments that are shared with the production support team. We release software anywhere between one and ten times a day in the non-production environments and about weekly in production.”
To improve their test environment and release management, UE & MG implemented Plutora. “We can now better predict and remediate environment contentions,” says Tobias. “Plutora has improved our ability to meet project environment timelines and quality goals.”
The high rate of change and strict delivery timelines are key challenges. Understanding the different releases and their test environment needs, as well as their interdependencies and the cross-impacts between them, are critical success factors for UE & MG.
“Inability to meet regulatory obligations is a key risk,” says Tobias. “Timely delivery to market of certain projects and work initiatives is critical. UE & MG have used a variety of non-integrated applications and spreadsheets. We were keen to use an application that has been designed and built from the ground up to address the environment and release management challenges.”
“I see Plutora as the glue that holds the delivery process together, communicating with project managers, development teams, test teams, infrastructure teams, and stakeholders.”
Danny Tobias, Project and Portfolio Environment Manager, United Energy and Multinet Gas
UE & MG use Plutora during the planning phase to help understand the various release phases, their time blocks and the associated test environments that they require. UE & MG receive clear insights into which specific test assets are available for allocation into projects.
“Plutora clearly articulates environment conflicts in the planning phase, which provides plenty of time to remediate these conflicts before project execution, by either creating additional test assets or implementing application virtualization techniques or changing the project sequencing all together,” says Bharat Anand, UE & MG’s Projects and Portfolio Release Manager.
UE & MG use Plutora on a day-to-day basis to address configuration alignments between projects and production changes. Because Plutora integrates with so many other solutions, UE & MG can track the production implemented changes that apply to project environments and import them as change requests into Plutora, where they can be completed by the Test Environment Management team or assigned to development teams as code merge requests.
“Release management is a demanding and challenging discipline, which delivers large-scale application development across complex environment infrastructures. While auditing and gathering sign off along the way and maintaining that vital link between the business change requests and the functional and non-functional artifacts that deliver them from a technical point of view,” says Tobias. “I see Plutora as the glue that holds the delivery process together, communicating with project managers, development teams, test teams, infrastructure teams and stakeholders.”
Results and Gains
“Being a very intuitive application, Plutora is easy to grasp at a conceptual level, which really helps to speed up implementation. In our case, it took a couple of months to get the basics and roll out Plutora to a number of projects. We continue to expand the capability to any new software development project,” says Tobias.
UE & MG can now continuously synchronize code and configuration between production and test environments, through their Plutora integrations.
“We now have improved the use of time and resources within the IT department,” says Anand. “By improving our efficiency and productivity with Plutora, we have removed the dependence on spreadsheets and improved our quality and predictability.”
“Plutora’s technical support is highly responsive. It not only addresses user issues but also assists by including new features requested by users into the tool’s development roadmap.”
Bharat Anand, Projects and Portfolio Release Manager, United Energy and Multinet Gas