(Best) Practice Makes Perfect at #DevDay

As part of its global customer event schedule, Micro Focus #DevDay’s relentless march continued as Micro Focus celebrated a 40th such event in North America last week. With more than 50 delegates in Toronto, and dozens more attendees at the NYC event, the Micro Focus community once again came together again in force at our latest Micro Focus DevDay event.

While we are no strangers on the blog site to reporting on DevDay, typically the detail of what is discussed is left at the event. To celebrate 40 and counting, we wanted to share some insights from the attendees regarding our new-look DevOps focus.

I was lucky enough to catch up with a number of delegates to find out what brought them to the event.

Do things well, do things right

Polarized forces from Operations (stability, risk), Development (velocity), and the business (speed, frequency) are causing a perfect storm of concern in IT, making a new way of thinking, a new way of working absolutely vital. DevOps has emerged as a label to help to do just that.

And no surprise therefore that this year’s key DevDay theme is the journey to Enterprise DevOps. Looking at the challenges, solutions, supporting technology and cultural impacts of using a DevOps-based process for application delivery. Unsurprisingly, results from our on-the-day delegate poll revealed that the majority of DevDay visitors, many of whom had already started down the DevOps journey, had come to “gain a better understanding of DevOps

Ah yes, that brand-new idea called DevOps!

OK, DevOps is itself not a new idea – it was first discussed in 2008. So why does it remain so topical in the Enterprise IT community?

We asked that question directly of the delegates. Among the responses, specific comments included, “I came to learn about what DevOps is and how Micro Focus fits in the DevOps world,” and, “[I] came to strengthen [the] DevOps methodology in current organization.” Other delegates sought to establish new “value-add” services from IT using a “DevOps delivery method”.

Pragmatists in the community argue that many of the core principles of DevOps are already well-established in most IT delivery teams. Goals around teamwork, transparency, quality and speed of delivery have been guiding principles for decades of software engineering, while Gene Kim’s “3 ways of DevOps” principles of systems thinking, faster feedback and continuous improvement are evident in many IT organizations, irrespective of whether they are a DevOps shop. One attendee said, of their DevOps adoption, “[we have] no formality to any program but it is a cultural and organizational task – we try to do this anyway without calling it that”. Another delegate confirmed “[we are] still exploring DevOps.  No active projects just yet.”

However, the fact remains that the checkmark of DevOps eludes many organizations – in a show of hands at DevDay, no more than 20% room said they were already “using DevOps”. It was clear from those in attendance that while the idea may not be new, and while some of the principles may be well-established; the hard facts are that Enterprise DevOps remains an aspiration for many.

Where are the challenges?

The goal to always get better to always support business improvement is a relentless part of IT evolution. Innovating quickly without risk is easy to say, but not easy to do. Our delegates talked about a number of specific areas of concern, shaped in some part by the variety of roles represented, covering development, testing, project management and operations. But even then, specific concerns raised were unique to the organization, as well as the role.

1) One major banking client, a regular visitor to DevDay, listed some their current challenges as, “quality of the code, familiarity with the code, having an inclusive test and dev environment without impacting mainframe cycles; faster provisioning of testing environment.”

2) One delegate asserted, “Getting applications properly QA’d and tested before it goes out. As a software vendor this is imperative, regression testing in particular”.

3) Another delegate talked about the importance of “quality of the code, familiarity with the code, an inclusive test and dev environment, and faster provisioning of testing environments”.

4)Finding ways for “Back office integration” was another delegate’s imperative, while a related concern of “tool chain integration” was mentioned as key.

Facing the Challenge

Micro Focus’ impressive coverage of the DevOps “life cycle” and continued investment in a world class toolchain was the cornerstone of the day’s discussions. Effectively, what are the best practices in adopting Enterprise DevOps? Be sure to check out a future DevDay meeting if you want to learn more – or visit our DevOps resources page.

As a helpful summary, the Micro Focus DevOps tool chain is shown below.

DevDay delivers. And delivers.

While DevOps was front-and-centre for this DevDay event, the wider benefits for the delegates was understandably diverse. A few comments we heard as to what DevDay offers our delegates include –

As always, well worth the time”.

[the event] hit on a couple of major issues my company faces” [then listed as TIAA, Delivery Bottlenecks & Bi-Modal IT]

I came for one reason, but ended up receiving something else which was great”.

Excellent content.”

I’m a fan! Our experience [with Serena] has been great. Happy to have the opportunity to meet with Micro Focus and others who are also using same tools as us. Thank you!”

The broader DevOps piece, more of the testing and delivery emphasis was of particular interest to us. The whole SDLC matters, not just development.”

One delegate fondly remembered an event a few years ago, where we ran a little competition for an alternative definition of the COBOL acronym. He remembered the winning entry being “Commonly overlooked but outstanding language”. This remark remains as amusingly accurate today as it ever was: COBOL remains the bedrock of many of the Enterprise systems upon which organizations rely for their core business services.

Next Steps

If you are looking at Enterprise DevOps – or just trying to tackle a specific bottleneck in application delivery, talk to us.And if you want to add some real value to your own transformation then book yourself in for a DevOps Value Profile Service…..

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