Moving a Giant Towards Synthetic Test Data

NAV, the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration, is a major governmental organization holding sensitive data about more or less every citizen in Norway. Moving away from the use of production data in such an organization is less about tools, methods or enterprise software suites. It is more like game of thrones. It is a lot about politics, motivations and marrying the right forces. NAV moved from Plan-Build-Run, full fledged outsourcing and testing on production data, to insourcing, agile principles and synthetic test data. This talk is about how the former IT organization, project funding principles, sourcing contracts and delivery methods were rigged to oppose NAV’s test data initiative. Errors and pitfalls at a management level will be illustrated. The talk will also go through the changes NAV undertook, and the effects achieved through insourcing, reorganization and installing agile delivery methods. New organizational alliances were formed, real world motivations were played upon, and strong business cases lay the ground for fast-tracking NAV towards synthetic test data. A few political scandals in Norway and Sweden added some extra push along the way of course.