Week one of the Serena App Vision Tour has ended successfully. Three cities, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta and three more in two weeks’ time, Milan, Paris and London. Tom Murphy, industry analyst, has been speaking about Gartner’s view of application development over the next 3 to 5 years. I have been speaking about Orchestrated App Delivery as the best approach: being a process-centric way of thinking about development. And, in addition we have had local customers telling their stories to round out the day. So far we have had Wells Fargo, Western Southern Life and BBVA Compass.
Driving End-to-End Efficiency – Tom Murphy, Gartner
The Gartner presentation is very interesting. According to Tom’s and his ALM team’s research application development is at a cusp. The old ways of doing things are starting to creak because the demands placed on IT by the business are requiring more and more accountability, stakeholder involvement and transparency. IT needs to deliver more, faster, to more platforms, with greater accuracy, using leading edge technologies and with brand new tools and methods. The more complex the problem, the more sophisticated our technology infrastructure, the more we try to use the latest and greatest in order to gain competitive advantage. And the more we introduce risk and uncertainty.
There is an estimated half a trillion dollar backlog of projects that are not been attended to and this will rise to one trillion dollars by 2015.
The good news is that the cures for development ills are well known. The main areas of focus amongst the Gartner clients seems to be addressing defect detection, increasing project cycle time and tracking activity with metrics.
Finding defects sooner is critical. It is estimated that the cost of finding and fixing a single defect in the requirements phase is about $14. But this rises to $14,000 if the defect makes it into production. Requirements must be a special focus for businesses as defects that make it into production are 3 times more likely to come from bad requirements than coding defects.
Increasing the cycle time for projects is driving much of the adoption of Agile methodologies, especially Scrum. With smaller batch sizes to projects the incremental change and therefore the incremental risk is much less. Features are delivered more frequently and the business starts to see their requirements sooner. Often Pareto’s law applies and for just 20% of the effort 80% of the given functionality can be delivered. Indeed Gartner are seeing as much as a 30% improvement in time-to-market as a direct result of adopting Agile methods in the enterprise.
Metrics has long been the grail of development but we have never had the tools to collect metrics in a very automated way and the tools that can collect them are in different silos and not connected. While progress is being made in the definition of what are the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for development collating them is still largely manual. Gartner is seeing some of the Hawthorne effect, a temporary blip in productivity due to the fact that metrics are being collected but which goes away in time, and is advising their clients to be careful to validate all data and triangulate it if possible.
One of the most surprising conclusions that Tom Murphy asserts is that Release Management has also become a critical battleground in terms of automation. He tells a story of one client who has a 542 line Excel spreadsheet containing the details of how to release a particular piece of code. The complexity of releases, the massive interdependence of systems, the velocity of change of platform and infrastructure components all make release management one of the most sophisticated disciplines in modern IT organizations and an area crying out for automation.
Thriving in an App Centric World – Kevin Parker, Serena
The points Tom makes are nicely counterpointed with Serena’s Orchestrated Application Delivery. For more than 30 years Serena has delivered process-centric solutions to the application demand management, application development management and application delivery management parts of the lifecycle.
In collaboration with a large number of our customers we have extended our solutions to connect all parts of the demand to development to delivery lifecycle with end-to-end process automation based on the Serena Orchestrator platform which is powered by SBM, Serena Business Manager.
This automated ALM process enables the real-time gathering of information and metrics for those KPI’s that Tom suggests IT management is starved of. It supports both traditional waterfall and more modern Agile methods with and delivers increased cycle time to both ways of delivering code. The solutions allow for process optimization thus eliminating rework and driving the detection of errors to be earlier in the lifecycle.
But this process-centric approach addresses two other important issue also.
It squarely takes on the need to integrate all the tools we use in application development together into one coherent infrastructure. We have many tools from many heritages and we need them to work together. Point-to-point integrations don’t work, are inflexible and are brittle. It is too expensive to rip out all of your tools and replace them with one suite and, besides, there is no one vendor with the best-in-class set of tools for all parts of the lifecycle. You need to be able to keep your tooling but have a common overarching infrastructure placed on top of them.
Secondly it shines a light on the myth that a common single repository is all that is needed. This is total bunkum. A single repository would be nice but it is expensive to achieve not just in terms of buying whole new product sets but with migrating all the data and retraining the entire team and the lost productivity, introduction of errors and risk that follows. A single repository just makes it easy to know where everything is. It does not provide any level of intelligence around those artifacts. If a requirement changes it is a process that is followed to make sure the approval for the change happens, that the specification is updated, that the code and test scripts are updated, that the project plan reflects the rework and the resulting schedule delays are communicated.
What is going on here is that we need to get end-to-end connectivity between and amongst our people, our processes and our tools. If we don’t we will continue to waste time and money by constantly doing unnecessary rework, constantly having manual processes that could be automated, constantly duplicating effort because we either don’t trust and/or don’t communicate.
There is a giant opportunity to Empower Change in the application delivery process.
Check out my Tweets (www.twitter.com/kevinparkerusa) to see the real-time summary of the content from 9:00 to noon Central European Time on October 5th and 6th and 9:00 to noon British Summer time on October 7th.