Shift left: How Domino’s culture of prototyping led to digital dominance

eader in the digital QSR race for some time, and much of this, according to global chief technology officer Matthias Henson, is due to Domino’s’ culture of fast prototyping and ‘shifting left’. 

“We take a lot of different inputs, and do a lot of prototyping on the food side, but also on the technology side,” Henson said at New Relic’s Futurestack 2022 this week.

“Working across 10 markets, it makes it easier to trial something in one market, see how it goes, and then either throw it away or make it better [before rolling it out to other markets].”

Henson oversees Domino’s technology stack across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, as well as six markets in Europe. 

Shifting left

One of the key processes the team at Domino’s use is a software testing process known as ‘shift left’, which focuses on testing often and early during the software development phase in order to squash bugs and errors before they become a problem, and deliver a constant improvement of code quality to launch faster. 

This method was used to deliver Domino’s recent app launch in Australia, and will allow the business to continue to improve the app quickly and efficiently. But key to the success of this method is observability – the ability to detect and solve the root cause of the issues that crop up. 

“When you do things quickly, sometimes faster than you would want, you have to have observability,” Hansen said. 

“You can see what happens to your production when you put code in that is of a high quality, but maybe you would have liked another day or week to work on it. With that, it makes you able to launch new things quickly.”

Domino’s achieves this through a mixture of Microsoft Azure system, automated deployment system Kubernetes, and New Relic’s cloud-based data analysis platform.

“Every order counts”

While some businesses might feel uncomfortable sharing their data across the entire organisation, Henson does his best to ensure all data is transparent for everyone in the business.

“I’m quite nervous about creating [data] silos in the company. Metrics like conversion rates, customer [net promoter score], and feedback that we collect at the end of the ordering process should really be front and centre so that you have a common way to look at things,” Henson said.

“We have this motto, ‘every order counts’. Normally, when I’m ordering a pizza, it’s not because I have too much time on my hands. It’s because my kids are hungry, I’m hungry, and we need food on the table quickly.

“If [we’re slow to deliver], it’s a family or human being at the other end who doesn’t get their food on time, so that’s really what keeps us honest.”

Last year, Domino’s ANZ head of digital Stephen Wyber told Inside Retail that although the business is constantly testing new concepts, the core of Domino’s – food delivery – will always be the goal.

“Customers still enjoy value and convenience; a hot, fresh meal prepared fast and delivered safely,” Wyber said. 

“[But] we are always testing new concepts, from simple changes in online ordering that make it faster and easier for customers to process their order online, to concepts that rethink the way people can order entirely.

“This year, like every year, Domino’s will have exciting new changes coming to our online ordering platform.”

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