Upgrading safety solutions the Agile way
Rolls-Royce R2 Data Labs needed to create a new version of its web-based process safety solution called Visum KMS. The existing application’s hierarchy, security, workflows, and lists all needed to be updated. We worked together to build the new version of the application, using modern agile development practices to guide our process. We designed a more intuitive UI and developed a new infrastructure that allows users across the world to seamlessly connect to one codebase.
What We Did
Rolls-Royce R² Data Labs, a leading provider of asset risk management optimization products, offers its customers a web-based process safety solution called VisiumKMS. VisiumKMS is a fully automated, web-based suite of management tools used by some of the world’s largest oil and gas producers and refiners. It has a pedigree of almost 20 years, with over 65 customers and more than 500,000 combined end users.
Users of VisiumKMS in those organizations include staff in health and safety, and those with environmental focus, who are responsible for ensuring processes are adhered to by stakeholders. Since the launch of VisiumKMS Version 11 in 2012, demand had been building for a new version that included functionality customers wanted added to the tool. They approached SEP, who they had worked with previously on other projects, to assist them in developing Version 12 to meet demand.
VisiumKMS Clients Identified Four Key Features Requiring Updates:
- Security – SEP needed to update VisiumKMS from level-based security to a token-based security system.
- Hierarchy – SEP was asked to change the solution’s limited 4-tier hierarchy to an N-tier hierarchy, enabling companies to better define organizational levels.
- Workflows – SEP needed to adapt the system to include not just existing workflows based on OSHA standards, but also tailorable workflows that allow users to define steps and statuses.
- Lists – SEP was tasked with modifying an existing list of flat items that required users to cycle through every time to smart checklists, which allowed questions to be configured based on responses. As a result, only required questions would then show up in a list. For the VisiumKMS team, infrastructure was a core concern.
VisiumKMS team members are based around the world, so the overhead costs of sharing code were prohibitive. The company needed a system where everyone could contribute regardless of geography. “Team members in Houston, Texas, for example, were working with others in Sydney, Australia,” said Sean Gigremosa, Product Owner, KMS. “We approached SEP about creating a way to seamlessly connect all staff to one code base.”
SEP immediately landed on creating a hosted, secure code repository that could be shared between SEP and CDS to maximize resources and solidify the underlying infrastructure. Until then, the VisiumKMS team had been relying on an inefficient, manual process of version control. The hosted repository resulted in a substantial time savings.
SEP also brought in their user experience team to add more value. Feedback from users had indicated a preference for a more intuitive integration, which SEP was able to achieve.
Perhaps the biggest value, however, was SEP’s ability to guide the VisiumKMS team through the world of Agile development.
Unit testing and automated builds have provided rapid feedback to the team, reducing bug injection rate and time to fix. Sprint demos have provided chances for the product ownership team at CDS to quickly provide feedback to the team, enabling them to adapt rapidly. Sprint retrospectives have ensured the team has kept a focus on looking for opportunities to improve how they approach the project and the product itself. “Combining these elements – along with our excellent team of engineers – has led to a solid new version of VisiumKMS,” said Kyle Pinches, Project Manager, SEP.
SEP and the VisiumKMS team in Houston continue to work together on new releases of the version 12 software. Several customers are already using version 12 while the team works to identify and meet the needs of upcoming customers. One customer said, with regard to the ease of use of KMS version 12, that “if you can order off Amazon, you can use KMS.” “We have been pleased with the quality and value delivered by SEP,” said Eric Brown, Software Development Manager, “and look forward to continuing to work with them to roll out additional features for VisiumKMS.”
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