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Carterra noticed that gradually rising technical debt was slowing their ability to deliver product innovations.

Challenge

As a leading biotech research company, Carterra has a lot of code and an ambitious backlog of innovative new features that they want to introduce to the market.

Being innovative at heart means that Carterra’s software development teams must deliver new features and keep technical debt to a minimum. But, gradually rising technical debt was slowing their ability to deliver product innovations. To address this, Carterra’s Lauren Swanson, lead software engineer, tackled the overarching problem by taking a long term view of code quality. Carterra’s success is important because their innovations improve medical science and affect society.

With that level of importance, the no-comprise statement of intent by Lauren Swanson framed the strategy. This approach entails a shift from unintended degradations in code quality that progressively slowed delivery, to a sustainable software delivery strategy.

CHALLENGE #1 Coding innovative new features was more difficult and slower than it should have been. Software delivery became an exercise in managing uncertainty instead of rapid, high-value delivery.
CHALLENGE #2 Carterra knew they needed to bring technical debt under control, but how do you go about addressing technical debt and delivering new features at the same time?
CHALLENGE #3 Knowing where to start and identifying areas to prioritise within a large codebase, was daunting. There was no way of visualising the business impact of technical debt.
CHALLENGE #4 A remote software development team relied on pull requests to integrate their contributions into the main codebase, but there was no way of easily addressing the quality concerns before production.

Key analysis used

Interactive Hotspot Map Carterra’s software development team used CodeScene’s interactive hotspot map to explore their codebase, which helped build a shared mental model of what the code looks like, and where the weak and strong parts are. They were able to pinpoint the exact files that are under active development and their associated code health. This helped Carterra prioritise their efforts.
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Lauren Swanson Lead Software Engineer at Carterra
“Other similar tools don’t have the analysis of what files you are working with most and what code quality these files have. So, we can make sure that we are improving the files that we constantly need to update and that we don’t maybe need to update them as much in the future.”
Pull Request Analysis and Quality Gates For Carterra, CodeScene’s pull request analyses have been a game-changer. Pull requests must pass CodeScene's quality gates before merging into the main branch, which helps developers address quality concerns before going to production. Over time, Carterra’s developers became proactive in recognizing, understanding and addressing code quality issues before merging into production. This was a way of ensuring that new technical debt was not being introduced.
Virtual Code Review The virtual code review helped Capterra improve code health. It lists all the code issues found and recommendations on how to fix them. CodeScene drills down to the exact few lines in a file that are the highest contributors of technical debt. Then, CodeScene makes refactoring recommendations to improve the code.
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Lauren Swanson Lead Software Engineer at Carterra
“I would recommend CodeScene, especially to someone who is coming into a really large application and has poor code health. It feels really daunting to try to fix everything at once. CodeScene helps you prioritise what files to work on and which ones will have the most impact if you are to improve code quality.”
ABOUT THE COMPANY
logo-carterra 1

Carterra, a biotech research company, is a leading provider of innovative technologies designed to accelerate the discovery of novel therapeutic candidates. A significant driver of their success is managing a healthy codebase for the software intrinsic to their research and innovative
instruments.

 

Learn More About Carterra ->

CODESCENE INVOLVEMENT
CodeScene

CodeScene helped Carterra pinpoint the exact
files under active development and their associated code health, and made refactoring recommendations to improve the code health.

Key Insights were gathered from:

  • Interactive Hotspot Map
  • Pull Requests Analysis and Quality Gates
  • Virtual Code Review

 

Key Results Achieved:

  • 25% improvement in code health
  • 82% reduction in unplanned work
  • Rapid delivery of new features
  • Better team-code alignment
  • Sustainable flow for software delivery
FURTHER READING

Read the full Carterra study

Read more about Technical debt and Automated code reviews.


If you’re interested in learning more about CodeScene, please reach out to sales@codescene.com

Results

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Improvement in code health

Carterra improved the code health by approximately 25% over 12 months by using CodeScene's code health analysis.

Icon-Reduce Technical Debt
Faster time to market

The code to be improved was the code that needed to be changed for the next important feature under development.

Icon-Automate pull request reviews
Reduction in unplanned work

Carterra reduced nearly 82% of unplanned work by using CodeScene ́s Planned vs Unplanned work tracking.

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