Do ALM tools make sense for DevOps


Change

It’s all about change, is that where we start?

Of all the boundaries between silos none is more critical than that between Development and Operations. “It’s raining changes” one service manager told me. Another said “We’re lucky if 50% of the changes go through release control, to be honest we don’t really know how many bypass the process.” When your release management processes are this immature finding the place to begin is as daunting as the task itself.

So a good place to start is to extend the code repository into the DevOps area by using a Release Vault. As the developers promote code through their test areas we can add DevOps test areas, pre-production staging areas and production itself. Using modern, release centric repositories to manage the code promotions reduces, error, effort and risk and adds audit trails, access control and notifications. The best in class tools provide blackout capabilities too.

If developers use more than one repository insist that their last step is to check the final version into the Release Vault. This way DevOps controls the code through testing and deployment and avoids those little “surprises” that often come late in the process.

A common ticketing tools is a must. All tasks for all teams that directly interact with DevOps must be on the same system. It is critical for effective collaboration that items can be passed back and forth quickly in order to ensure completeness and accuracy of the tasks. Common reporting, alerts and approval mechanisms mean nothing gets missed. It is time to consolidate multiple ticketing systems into one.

Test automation tools make regression testing possible and practical. If your release process allows for late delivery of new code and fixes right up to go-live it is essential to regression test those code deliveries. By investing in extensive automated test code coverage for your application you can test the entire battery against each delivery. This increases confidence in the release and reduces overall risk.

We should also look to automating the production build and deployments too. By reusing the scripts the developers use we can ensure that low-touch, even no-touch, deployments are possible. Keeping the development environment in sync with production environment helps reduce the customization needed each time the script is employed to move code from Dev to Test, from SIT to UAT, from staging to production.

And if you are in a place where Agile development is taking place you should look at matching their cadence in your own Agile DevOps team. Look at the releases coming as  a chance to fast track code to production, have daily standup meetings with your Agile release team, track the activities against the plan and monitor completeness against the glide slope and use automation to track all the activities.

Now, if only we could get some of the DevOps disciplines merged into the ALM tools.

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About Kevin

In the past year Kevin has spoken at 20 conferences and seminars on a range of leading IT topics, including methodologies, business analysis, quality assurance techniques, governance, open source issues, tool interoperability, from the mainframe to distributed platforms to the web and mobile and embedded systems. He is a much sought after speaker, recognized around the world for his provocative and entertaining style. Kevin is a 30 year industry veteran, holder of three technology patents and today is VP and Chief Evangelist at leading Application Development vendor Serena Software. He started his career as a software developer and rose to lead the engineering team as VP of R&D at Serena Software, a role he held for 8 years. In the past five years he has been crossing the globe and has met with over 4,000 people. At Serena he works closely with industry analysts, the press, customers, partners and employees to exchange ideas about industry direction and business issues. Today he is leading the Value Engineering initiative at Serena bringing measurable benefits to their customers. He was born and educated in the UK and lives on a boat on the San Francisco Bay and works in Redwood City California.
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One Response to Do ALM tools make sense for DevOps

  1. Agile development causes frequent software deployments and necessitates that developers be more involved in operations and deployments. The problem is everyone is focused on the deployment side and not the application support and operations side of DevOps. Frequent application deployments causes a lot of application change which leads to finding application defects. Development teams need agile support to keep up with agile development. Developers need more production access to troubleshoot these application defects.

    Thanks,
    Matt Watson

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