Tasktop helps enable successful DevOps

Source – sdtimes.com

Complexity stands in the way of effective DevOps, especially among large, regulated companies. Some of the world’s most successful organizations employ thousands of developers, in addition to testers, QA engineers, product owners and operations personnel. The amount of artifacts, such as features, requirements, test cases and defects in any one area, can be overwhelming, let alone all the artifacts that comprise a DevOps value stream. Tasktop addresses that very problem so companies can innovate more effectively.

“I talked to a group recently whose whole growth model is M&A, acquiring and divesting companies. When you’re trying to implement a DevOps strategy with that kind of complexity, it presents a set of problems that the textbooks don’t address,” said Nicole Bryan, Tasktop VP of product. “DevOps is about the full end-to-end value stream. If you don’t have that complex, full end-to-end value stream connected, you really don’t have DevOps.”

Most companies want to deliver software and get feedback faster, but when there are tool and process disconnects, it’s hard to succeed. Regulated or not, today’s companies need traceability throughout the entire SDLC to make sure products align with customers’ expectations, whether that’s a better user experience or regulatory compliance.

“If you don’t have traceability throughout all of the complexity it takes to build software, your business will absolutely be affected,” said Bryan. “In our world, this complexity boils down to the fact that building software requires many specialized roles, not just developers, which in turn translates to a tremendous number of tools, all of which operate on artifacts.”

Tasktop enables DevOps teams to create a network of tools and associated artifacts so they can build true DevOps value streams. Using the Tasktop Integration Hub, DevOps teams can create a value stream, complete with tools and artifacts, manage them and get visibility into them, all with point-and-click simplicity. There’s no limit to the number of tools or artifacts that can be connected, which is necessary to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of customers and governmental entities. It’s also essential for companies who are actively evolving their businesses through mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.

“Once you realize you can’t have successful DevOps at scale without having integration and connectedness, you realize you need more visibility into it as well,” said Bryan. “Our tool allows you to have visibility into all of your integrations, manage them and change them over time.”

Understand the Value Stream

Understanding an organization’s value stream and its true end-to-end flow is tantamount to enabling a successful DevOps journey. Comprehending the flow of artifacts starts with a request, whether it comes from users or the government. That request is combined with similar requests, all of which are collectively analyzed and turned into features. In highly regulated fields, those features must also include detailed, documented requirements.

“When you realize even the most complicated requirements are just a small piece of the end-to-end value stream, you realize the need for connectedness and traceability between all of the artifacts,” said Bryan. “You realize that features need to be broken down into epics and user stories because that’s how developers work. Now you’ve increased your network dramatically.”

Testing needs to be added because automated testing needs to connect to the originating stories, which are connected to the epics. The epics connect to the features, which connect to the original mandate that came from the business or government. Once testing has been connected, the next step is to connect security testing and compliance.

Bryan said Tasktop recently challenged customers to draw out their value stream on a white board at its first user conference which opened their minds to a new way of thinking.

“When customers step back and begin to think about their value stream, they see they need to be thinking about DevOps and architecting from the perspective of full value stream management,” said Bryan. “We recommend starting with either alignment and connectedness between developers and testers, or between ITSM support team and developers and flow of defects between those teams and then grow from there.”

Clearly the successful delivery of features depends on more than just code. DevOps teams need to think about the problem end-to-end, realizing that the core artifacts can make the difference between secure software and a security breach, or innovation versus business as usual.

A Layer to Connect Tools

Changing one’s view of DevOps is one thing. Building an infrastructure layer that connects all the tools and artifacts in a DevOps value stream is another.

“Enterprises can’t do this themselves. You can’t just build this and it just works,” said Bryan.

Tasktop has more than 500,000 API tests running continuously to ensure all the endpoints work as necessary. As recent history proves, one missed patch can literally change history.

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