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Many of the successful case studies of BDD apply to specific kinds of organisations: start-ups, digital innovators, technology companies. Lloyd’s, however, is 325 years old. It is a fascinating, important organisation, but it is neither a start-up, nor a digital business. In this kind of organisation, how could you apply BDD, and what would be the challenges?
In 2014, after tinkering with BDD for a couple of years, the opportunity arose for Lloyd’s to really develop its BDD practice. A major, greenfield financial system was planned - transacting many billions of pounds between Lloyd’s, its members and its underwriting syndicates. The stage was set. It was time to see if BDD would deliver its promise of “accelerated development”, “happy customers” and “bug free software”.
However, developing software is hard, and unlike some other development practices, BDD can make that painfully clear. This is the story of how the practices were tried, failed, and tried again - and how, eventually, we realised some of those benefits, breaking a few cherished BDD rules along the way.
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Developing the BDD Practice at Lloyd’s
Mark Davidson is the Agile and Solutions Design Principal at Lloyd’s. With a background in data analysis, development and architecture, Mark has headed-up data modelling, test and business analysis functions. Mark is passionate about the use of practices like BDD and Impact Mapping to remove functional silos and focus teams on delivering business value.
Mark Reid is the Principal Solutions Architect at Lloyd’s. An agile practitioner, architect and software developer, he has delivered projects in banking, oil, news media, automotive, retail and financial services. He now spends much of his time talking about and applying BDD, DDD and design thinking.