Renovating and decorating a home comes with hundreds of decisions. Whether it’s a new countertop for a kitchen island or choosing the right tools for a client’s bedroom addition, the best place to start is with the experts. With a total of 112,000 employees, 33 independent companies, and 555 store franchises in 15 countries, ADEO connects people to the projects and resources they need to build better homes in stores and online. Founded as a single store in 1923 in France’s Pas-de-Calais region, ADEO grew into a DIY superstore, expanded internationally in 1983, and developed a strong e-commerce presence. Today, ADEO’s global technology team delivers a reliable and consistent online experience, offering tailored services to customers, partners, and suppliers across franchises and time zones.
More than 800 developers manage the vast code base powering ADEO’s wide-reaching network. With a large and distributed team, collaboration and knowledge-sharing are key to innovative and efficient software development. A few developers might write a field-tested feature or leverage open source code that can be used across the organization. The faster these solutions spread, the better—and if they’re improved on along the way, everyone wins. Quick teamwork at scale is necessary in an increasingly crowded industry, but it’s hard to realize when source code is spread across disparate platforms. For ADEO, the first step to better collaboration was consolidating their code on GitHub using GitHub Enterprise Cloud.
Previously, the team was working in siloed Git and Subversion repositories and platforms, varying from country to country, said DevOps Domain Leader Serguei Smirnov. To share or reuse code, the team needed a better system—one that could break down the geographic barriers the team had built. The turning point came in September 2018, when ADEO’s CIO chose to create a more open and collaborative process and move all of the organization’s code to GitHub.
With all of their code in one place, developers could gain new insight into projects happening across the company. One benefit of organization-wide visibility was the ability to innersource projects and apply open source development methods to building proprietary software. The entire team could learn from, contribute to, and reuse open source and internal code—all just a search query away. “We want to share our code and we want others to use it—it’s why we innersource,” Smirnov said. “GitHub is known as the best tool within the community. All open source projects are using GitHub, so for us, it was natural.”
This was a significant shift for ADEO, but the goal of innersource isn’t just helping teams work together—it’s also helping them take more ownership over their work. Teams are invested in their contributions, and they’re all working toward the same goal. There are ambassadors for innersource in each country ADEO operates within, and developers remain conscious of exactly how their work impacts teams globally. “When people share their code, they help us grow the whole team’s skills,” Smirnov said. “It helps us innovate and work together even when we’re distributed—our culture isn’t about working in solitary.”
Working alongside millions of developers on GitHub, the team can easily connect to internal projects while securely taking part in the open source community. “Innersource paves the way for ADEO to introduce new open source projects and give developers more freedom,” said Innersource and Agility Leader Guilherme Guitte. Guitte acknowledged the benefits of community contributions. He’s seen ADEO developers make contributions to open source projects projects like Kubernetes—and write code in nearly a dozen languages—and feels that the advantages of open source filter from developers down to customers. When developers use the industry’s best technologies, customers benefit from more innovative and flexible digital experiences.
Embracing open source has also helped ADEO step up the speed of their software deliveries. Smirnov said, “The team improved our time to market, and when we improve time to market we can deliver faster.” He also noted that speed does not come at the cost of quality. With automated testing and tools like CircleCI, developers can be sure that fast, incremental iterations make products better for everyone.”This how we improve customer experience,” said Smirnov. “We have continuous integration, continuous deployment, monitoring and a complete DevOps toolchain to accelerate the time to market.”
Using GitHub Enterprise Cloud to store code versus storing code on their own servers helps ADEO’s developers focus on their goals and improve processes, rather than spend time on managing infrastructure itself. Only 10 people oversee the developers at ADEO, and only about one day per month goes toward administering their GitHub Enterprise instance. “We don’t need to manage or upgrade our own infrastructure,” Smirnov said. “Instead, we can focus on helping people make contributions and build better software.”
And instead of building custom apps to support every step of their DevOps pipeline, ADEO relies on trusted, third-party tools. “We use J-frog for the artifact repository and JIRA to manage backlogs. We’re working with Codacy for code quality analysis, and we use Vault from Hashicorp to manage secrets and passwords,” Smirnov said. “We use Terraform from Ansible for the deployment and Red Hat OpenShift to deploy microservices with the containers. We’ll continue to add and swap out tools to improve our DevOps chain.”
Improving their own processes is only part of why ADEO implemented GitHub—it also makes it easier to attract new developers and find candidates with the right skills. “It’s important that we work in the cloud and adopt tools like GitHub,” he said. “Today, developers start out with these kind of tools. We need to show them that, even though we’re a big company, ADEO is using modern tools that they already know.”
Smirnov also observed that when ADEO developers join knowing GitHub, it’s easy for them to get involved in the ecosystem. Even employees outside of traditional developer roles are sharing their work and collaborating on GitHub. Technical writers, operations, and security now use now use the platform, too. The team’s ultimate goal is to change the way ADEO works (and works together), Smirnov said. Although sharing code and offering more support for each other is new for them, it’s what they need to move forward.
“It’s something new for our company. Before, our teams were insular and closed off,” Smirnov said. “Now our world is open—and the technology we use helps ADEO take part in a global developer community.”
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