How Discover Financial Services Puts Engineering “Craftsmanship” at the Center of Our Digital Transformation (US 2021)

As a leader in the digital banking and payments industry, Discover Financial Services has transformed how it works as an entire organization to best meet the challenge of satisfying customer needs. The drive is to make Discover treat software as a craft, and ensure they don’t work in a vacuum. This means investing in their people and changing ways of working. Learn how Discover has driven cultural and technological change, enhancing programs and teams to modernize in an effective and lasting way. This includes both small efforts at team level and large-scale organizational shifts, as well as lessons learned along the way. Join Dr. Angel Diaz, VP Technology Capabilities & Innovation, and Sheila Lodhia, VP Business Technology, Card Applications as they share more about: - Building an open source community model that brings together code, learning, architecture, infrastructure, methodology and community. - Creating a developer experience to support collaboration and skill growth - Aligning teams to a value stream while also creating independence - Driving an engineering enablement program - Increasing focus on structured training and upskilling of modern engineering practices through pairing - The success of a 52-hour company-wide hackathon

plenaryuslas vegasvegas2021

Dr. Angel Luis Diaz

VP of Technology Capabilities & Innovation, Discover Financial Services


Sheila Lodhia

Vice President of Business Technology, Card Applications, Discover Financial Services



Thank you. Greta Denae and Jennifer. So I met the next speaker, Dr. onHealth Diaz almost seven years ago. Back when he was in the IBM research division, as the executive in charge for advocating for open source developers and cloud, I was delighted to reconnect with him in his new role as VP of technology capabilities and innovation at discover financial. I learned so much about discover that it goes far beyond just being the third largest card brand. If you look closely, you'll notice that they are what powers apple pay, which I absolutely love using. And they have over 8,000 developers. Dr. Diaz is responsible for helping elevate developer productivity and innovation and helping the entire organization learn. He will be presenting with Sheila Lydia vice president of business technology, application development for card here's on hill and Sheila.


Hello everyone. Uh, I'm angel Diaz discovers vice-president of technology capability innovation here with Sheila low DHEA, a colleague friend partner, or vice president of application development. You know, we are living in a technology field, business Renaissance. You know, the art of the possible is only limited by our imagination. So the question is how do we wheel that power responsibly? And that's what Sheila and I would like to talk to you a little bit about today, how we are building our craft with discover to continue our digital transformation and help our clients achieve a better financial future with that. Let me hand it over to Sheila, just to tell you all a little bit more about discover.


Thank you, angel. So this is a perfect slide of who we are today and where we're focused on. Discover started out as a credit card company back in 1986, except it only in north America. And today we're accepted over 200 countries and expanded our credit offerings. Well, beyond a credit card, we have home loans, personal loans, student loans, and a variety of deposit products. We started out with no physical presence and stayed on course to be today's leading digital bank. And to continue that leadership actively strengthen our foundation by growing internal capabilities, specially in space, in flight engineering, data analytics and product ownership, and for all of this to come to light, it is all being done under our runway and program, a program where both business and technology come together and improve on that product, countability automation and simplicity across the company. This is taking discovered to the next level of agility and ownership. So let's take a deeper look as to how we're accomplishing that.


Thanks, Sheila, we're going to start with getting a little bit deeper on how we're creating a runway for digital transformation, specifically, how we're building our craft with something we call the discover technology academy community. That's about building our products, building our communities, building our career and continuously building our innovation. And we'll close it out with a little fun thing about how we're building our house together. We have had leaps in technology that has then been paired by democratization of who can deliver value and how quickly you can develop value. However, this time it's different because it's not just about technology. It's about people. It's about process. It's about how you organize yourself. It's about communities and ecosystems. So it's all that pair together. And that's exactly what we're trying to accomplish here with the runway program. We're going value stream by value stream, across card bag payments.


Thinking about how centered around our customers, how we can better organize ourselves to meet those demands, to organize our teams, to take those teams and then organize them in a way that is isomorphic to our architectures, to our code patterns, to our infrastructure and becoming a product organization and a platform organization. That's at the heart of a runway program. It starts, it started in 2020. Uh, we're kind of ramping up seeing impact today. And then next year we start to fly. There are many ways and how we measure our success in our ability to improve with a runway transformation. Our ultimate objective is really to provide our customers a brighter financial future. So how do we do that? Well, we've got a series of, okay, ours that go down from business results, uh, customer engagement, all the way through to what we do in engineering.


Uh, we look at engagement of the communities, number of teams that go through dojo's the improvement of those teams over time, whether it's velocity burned down, story points, committed story points, delivered our Dora metrics, our uptime or availability. All of those things are metrics that, that we use as a compass to make sure that we're headed in the right direction and we're headed fast enough to achieve those objectives. You know, this work that we're doing here, uh, at discover is so important from our executive committee CEO, all the way through to every single engineer or business person in the company. Let me hand it over to Sheila, to talk a little bit about how this comes alive in practice, Sheila, where do you? Yeah.


Okay. So now we have our product structure and our product team. How do we make sure all of these teams are applying the agile and dev ops concepts consistently one way is through DTA dojo experience. A dojo is truly a hands-on learning experience with a coach where this coach is sitting side by side with the engineers and the product owners on building their dev ops capability. And the best part is they're applying it to the actual work from their products backlog. So let's take a look at DTS offering of the dojo experience.


Discover dojo is a four week immersive learning and holistic transformation model where engineers pair together while still growing work with the objective of improving their way of working based on well-defined metrics. Now, as teams go through a dojo, they not only leverage the experience of our coaches, but also actively contribute back and improving the craft so that others can share within discover technology academy experience is as simple as taking a piece of documentation, doing a pull request on GitHub, and then adding your knowledge to the system. Every product team has a home and discover their craft is continuously improved and shared and reused across discover itself.


So now the question is, are we getting faster and better? And we applied these Devaa practices. Well, that is where we're using the door on that trip to help us measure. How fast are we getting the features out to the customer? How predictable is our delivery, the maturity of our engineering practices in terms of releasing changes into production, what's the quality of those releases and how fast can we restore back upon a failure to actually see the results of these dojo's and metrics. We selected three product T that recently went through a dojo. Now all of these product teams are modernizing their entire staff from legacy platforms to a cloud native app, providing many opportunities to reap the benefits of DevOps. All right, you're about to meet these three product team. They are key to discover in terms of customer experience and key financial metrics such as sale, then receivable.


You are going to see how they're in the beginning stages of their dev ops journey. But at the end, we should see the team become a lot more Panama because as a right and a hell, they have multiple dependencies, especially because how their architecture is, will one big ball of spaghetti code with varying high technical debt with them achieving team autonomy. They can drive the vision and plan independently and release it to production six times faster than today. And I'm saying this based on my experience, it actually unlocked a whole new world for the engineers. They are now at the table driving that product vision with that product donor and no longer in closet, turning up code with no idea how it provides value to the customer or the company meet team CAD. They are a platform T where they are the decomposing 16 monolithic soap services.


They have about 40 methods to them each. Um, they support the actual entire card business. So these are critical of services. Um, and we're converting them to individual microservices and event driven architecture. And as each component is stood up, it will be federated back to the product team that owns the data. Let's meet the next team team. L I R, where they are modernizing the entire customer journey that allows customers to request a credit line, increase this transformation. It's taking a legacy mainframe OneSphere application to a cloud native app. So these teams are learning core agile essentials, TDD blue-green deployments, and testing automation. And finally our last P the authorized user team, where they're also modernizing he legacy mainframe OneSphere and to a cloud native app, this customer journey and supports the ability for a customer to add authorized user to their credit card. And it is very key to driving sale for discover. This team is learning also CSED with blue-green deployments and Canary releases, TDD Tufts automation and UX optimization. So let's hear from all three of them on their Jojo experience.


So basically my team is called customer and account team, and it's the platform team, but then discover within portfolio values frame. So our goal in this team was to break apart. These monitoring, let me see aggregators into domain centric API. When these started in this team, I'd had three employee engineers, and we were not exposed to the newer diaries of wording. And, um, before Boggio started us, we pretty much were on our journey to implementing the newer drivers of working on not old boot you came in, and they really helped us in reinforcing the concepts to the T. And then what it did was it helped the team in embracing those concepts in a much faster timeframe. And ultimately, you know, today, um, my trooper for the team has increased and the quality of school is getting better and better. And we, we are pretty much when our Pratt for deploying and developing and deploying iteratively.


Uh, our product is a line increase request. So this product gives the ability for customers to request lining lists. As a team, we were working as more of a feature delivery team, quite a bit, definitely wanted to have a refresh. And you went through an exercise called . So, um, we got sat Saturn sort of seven coaches for us to help, uh, to go through this Jojo exercise. So this Bilodeau helped us do, um, establish a fundamental understanding on how to operate as a, as a product team. So the results of this Delta was phenomenal. We have, our features were taken almost like three months to deliver. Now we have, uh, six weeks feature delivery and also we automated a lot of things. Um, so it's more iterative, a way to kind of below where the product itself, we have delivery, that's going out, uh, that can be deployed any time rather than waiting for a big release.


So, yeah, right team, um, is responsible and owns the product called Audra and students range gives members users willing into dojo's. They were looking for practices they can utilize, which will help a move from the legacy system to the modernized system, using apps, as well as microservices. And yeah, I'm using all these and the same time using best rack. And since far like TDD and BDD, when we came out of this, we will see that nutrient process is gradually increasing. And we are applying every, every two Springs. Now RDN means to delivery six sprints. We are looking at spring, starting,


Thank you so much, you, and thank you to the team, amazing results. And it really shows our passion shining bright here at discover. I want to cover two more, really important elements of how we're trying to continuously improve here at discover. And one is around community and innovation and learning. You know, we have the saying, when you learn, you teach, when you get, you give we're good partners and we develop others, we kind of have a community and the way we've implemented digitally, and also physically is kind of what I think of as a semantic graph, backed by inner open source principles. So it all starts with the individual and everyone has the ability to kind of, you know, explain who they are, their competencies, um, you know, where think of it as a radar diagram of skills, you know, how much do I really know about no JS or Jenkins or whatever, right?


Then, uh, you back that out, uh, back that up with a connected to their roles in the organization, in their teams, a technology technology that supports that. And then of course, content learning, path, blogs, videos, articles, patterns, et cetera. So what does that give you that gives you the ability to traverse anywhere in this highly connected graph? You can go from someone who's contributed a blog to a whole set of education around that topic area, to individuals who are experts in that to ask questions, the investment in learning pays the best interest we develop ourselves, and we always stay ahead. So we've got different approaches to how folks can continuously learn. And we really, really do value our most important asset, which is people. We have learning paths where folks can go in and follow a set of courses, certifications, et cetera, to just improve.


We also have the ability and I had talked about this kind of radar diagram of skills for people to start to choose their own adventure, or they're learning jungle chin, right, where they can kind of go and bring in different pieces and create their own path around learning or what I find most exciting. In context, learning you wake up in the morning, you have a particular task and need some help. How do you go find out how to go do that, or other people who know how to do that, or maybe even surface information within your favorite ID, right? To help you get your job done most effectively. Now innovation is doing new things. We at discover, we're curious, we innovate and you simplify, but you know, there isn't an innovation ivory tower at discover innovation happens everywhere. So the question is, how do you empower that?


How do you create the gym equipment right. Needed to exercise that muscle? So we have a set of programs that we, that we kind of have within discover to help do that. Whether it's doing an innovation design thinking sprint, you know, within your value stream delivery, or whether it's a global hackathon or a hack in the box that a team of six just wants to do an experiment or what we do, uh, around the external communities. You know, no company in organizations in Ireland, we're not an island. We're active participants in meetups conferences and of course, open source communities. So at the end of the day, it takes a village. It is our house and we build our house together. And let's just take a moment to listen to some folks and their passion around our house. We discovered technology academy experience is my house. This is my house,


The night house. This is our technology house.


this at my house. This is my,


The house to show what a deck. This is my house, my house,


My house, you know, Sheila and I are so proud to be part of discover. And we'll be, we're so proud to be part of this movement. So proud to be talking with all of you. However, you know, we can't do this alone. We're not an island. We need your help. As we continue to build our house, many different ways, we need to collectively, as an industry evolve the art of the possible, still in war that we need to do around pipelines dev ops, et cetera, to start to really blend in, not just DevSecOps, but SRE and everything else into that waging of how we deliver products. You know, we need as a community, more access on standard best practices that we can easily share and contribute. You know, imagine this academy experience that we're talking about, an industry scale, where everybody shares some of their best practice. Those are the kinds of things. I think Sheila, that, uh, that are so important for us as a community and as a practice, let me hand it over.


Great. Thank you, angel. Um, really appreciate all of you taking the time to hear like angel said our discovered type experience under the runway program and its importance in scaling product centers and dev ops capabilities across discover. So please reach out to either one of us for any comment or question, or if you just want to simply join our house, let us know till then. Thank you very much.