Ashley Owen Archive

Modernizing the application development and delivery lifecycle is top of mind for many organizations as they seek ways to meet the increasing demands for new applications and services. With speed and business alignment remaining the top app dev priorities in 2014 (see my blog post on this topic), we see a re-emergence in the importance of application change and configuration management, the adoption of modern development practices, and the visibility and transparency into the health and quality of application development deliverables.

One of the top “Aha!” moments from xChange13, Serena’s global user conference, was the positive reaction to the Dimensions CM 14 Preview Program, which allows customers to get an early look into the upcoming release of Serena’s process-based software change and configuration management solution. Now, six months later we have 130 preview program members across 95 companies, an incredible reflection of the interest in the best Dimensions release ever.

Preview Program members have had the opportunity to influence and contribute to product designs through Special Interest Groups, and track and validate implementation through regular product demonstrations from R&D. This has been a remarkable journey for our product development team and our Preview & Beta program members. We’ve been delighted with the contribution and feedback from so many customers.

Among the many innovative capabilities in the upcoming Dimensions CM release are:

  • The ability to graphically show the health and quality of changesets within development streams (screenshot above).
  • The ability to make informed decisions based on the status of CI builds and unit tests.
  • A seamlessly integrated collaborative peer review.
  • An intuitive developer experience.

As one of our Preview members stated upon seeing a preview of Dimensions CM 14 Beta 3:

“The visibility enables you to see if you are converging to quality or diverging from quality.”

Any SCM or Development practitioner will immediately recognize the value of simplicity over complexity, health and quality over failed builds and merges, and visibility and transparency over siloed tools and processes.

I highly recommend you check out the four short videos of new features in Dimensions CM 14 (links below), and invite you to register for the Preview Program to learn more, or simply to contact your Serena Account team.

If 2013 was the year to get down to business, 2014 is the year to wake up and deliver. However, it’s not so much that app dev priorities or resolutions have changed; it’s their importance and focus on execution and delivery that is more critical than ever. No surprise that this fact continues to hold true: delivering applications faster to the business is still the #1 application development priority for 2014.

At the Gartner AADI Summit in December 2013, Serena surveyed IT executives about their top application development and delivery priorities for the coming year and discovered some notable results:

  • 56% of respondents confirmed that faster delivery of applications is the top priority.
  • Better alignment with business needs and developing mobile apps were the second and third highest priorities, coming in 54% and 51% respectively.
  • Expanding the use of Agile was very closely behind at 50%.

We found that the priority “Continuously Deliver Apps” grew in importance the fastest (up 17%), followed by “Develop Mobile Apps” and “Standardize Our Methodology,” both of which recorded a 15% increase since 2012. A slight decline was seen in the importance of delivering applications faster, suggesting the focus is moving to execution of the top priorities.

Another interesting discovery was the significant increase in the adoption and importance of 4 key App Dev initiatives:

  • Managing application development as a business process
  • Having end to end traceability from the business request to production release
  • Providing a centralized or federated repository for all artifacts
  • Integrating all of the different tools in the application development and delivery process

While most software development delivery teams increasingly embrace agile, mobile, big data and cloud within the application strategies and portfolios, the biggest challenge for respondents is finding a way to define and deliver software faster and better while aligning with the business, market and customer needs.

See complete results from the survey in the graph below. Plus, check out the infographic, which will give you an at-a-glance view and analysis of the survey results.  You can also see survey results from the Gartner 2012 AADI Conference as a comparison.

KRMCI love it when I hear how Serena Business Manager (SBM) can help automate tedious paper-based processes, increase visibility and transparency, and eliminate resource waste. There must be many examples of IT and business processes that can similarly benefit.  So, in this holiday season of cheer, let’s give thanks to Kingman Regional Medical Center (KRMC) for showing us the way.

KRMC is a non-profit medical center (pictured above) that focuses on the work environment and continuous improvement so that they can provide the highest satisfaction to their patients.  When their Capital Expenditure Process was bogging down staff and practitioners with manual processes and approvals, KRMC turned to Serena for an automated IT process solution.

Learn how this helped KRMC refocus on patient care and enabled Andrea Williams, a KRMC Business Analyst, to realize the benefits of IT process automation with the full support of her manager and CIO.  Read the entire case study.

business-operationsWith the release of Serena Business Manager (SBM) 10.1.3, we are introducing some exciting new capabilities in the SBM platform, and driving considerable advances and improvements in both Serena Release Manager and Serena Service Manager solutions. I’m thrilled with:

  • The new Work Center UI that optimizes the collaborative user experience.
  • The powerful new global submit & search to streamline the creation and search of work items.
  • The in-line e-mail approval to speed transitions.
  • Support of a channel agnostic approach to work and task management.

Significant improvements to reporting and a user-configurable dashboard elevate the power of SBM.  Together with a raft of additional features and enhancements, we are delivering significant benefits to users of SBM, Serena Release Manager and Serena Service Manager.

We look forward to showcasing the considerable advances and improvements in upcoming weeks, and continuing to deliver innovations in both our core SBM platform and SBM-powered solutions.  Register for the live demonstration on December 17: What’s New in Serena Release Manager, Serena Service Manager and SBM.

Gartner AADI boothI’m thrilled to announce Serena’s sponsorship at the Gartner AADI summit from December 3-5 in Las Vegas.  I will be available for face-to-face meetings, along with a number of my Serena colleagues, at booth 313 at the Sponsor’s Pavilion.  We look forward to answering your questions and enquiries on Serena Application Development and Delivery solutions and sharing details of imminent and future Serena product releases that will allow you to modernize, innovate, enable and empower your business.

On Wednesday December 4th, I will host a lunch discussion on how “Agile Requires Modernizing the Rest of the Development Lifecycle.”   I look forward to hearing your views and sharing insights from both customer implementations and our strategic roadmap.

If you or your colleagues are attending the Summit, make sure you swing by our booth to view demonstrations, simply get your questions answered, and participate in a survey for a prize. And remember to keep calm and release more!

Business man runningI’m often asked by customers how they can best modernize their software development practices. After all, many organizations are under increasing pressure to respond to their business or customer needs faster, while delivering with higher quality to on-premise, virtualized and increasing cloud environments.

Many early adopters of agile have seen the challenges of responding faster move downstream, from development to release and operations, while the business continues to request better transparency and visibility into the status of development and release streams. While development and test practices are increasingly coupled, and there is increasing adoption of continuous delivery practices to further automate delivery to production, development teams are still challenged with the complexity of managing multiple development and release streams. In talking recently with a director of software development, a large part of the discussion centered around his desire to assess and view the health and quality of his multiple development streams while streamlining the assembly of his release configurations in preparation for deployment.

As a former manager of development, I can recall placing significant focus on understanding the health and quality of our development branches/streams at all phases of development, the frustration many of us shared with the increasing complexity of project and branch merging, and the encouragement of collaboration and communication across all stakeholders and functional teams, so we did not waste time unnecessarily in preparing reports. While agile planning is no longer new, and we are seeing a growing focus on addressing release management challenges, I maintain there is tremendous innovation and potential for organizations to modernize development practices further to complement both agile planning and continuous delivery.

Returning to the discussion with the director of software development, we focused discussion on the need to advance and improve parallel and concurrent development practices, in particular around the introduction of visual indicators of the health and quality of development streams (to include the status of associated changes, automated builds and tests), and improving integration of the collaborative peer review process directly into the development activities. While a Peer Review process is often seen as standalone, I believe it should be integral to a modernized development practice.

I was delighted to share the investment Serena is making in the next generation of Dimensions CM, which directly addresses the evolution of modern development practices and further streamlines the complexity of managing multiple streams and streamlining the assembly for release.  We are seeing great customer reaction and participation in the Preview Program, which speaks volumes to the ongoing customer interest and demand for modernizing software development practices.

Here at Serena we’ve long viewed the Application Lifecycle as a process and we need to see it in the context of the Agile Lifecycle, ensuring we not only modernize development practices but ensure orchestration with upstream planning and work item management, and down-stream release management and service management.

DevOps Drive-InGet your ticket to the next feature presentation of Serena’s DevOps Drive-In webcast series, “How to Achieve DevOps Nirvana” on April 25.  Along with release management expert Eric Kunkel from MMA Technologies, we’ll share our experiences designing and implementing release management processes and solutions for several different organizations.  Many of the companies that Eric has worked with have already enjoyed benefits like:

  • Reduced application development time by 90%
  • Reduced application failures by 80%, and
  • Reduced application delivery costs.

Whether you’re new to the DevOps movement or an experienced practitioner, I guarantee you’ll gain some knowledge from this webcast that you can easily put to use immediately.  Plus, I’ll throw in a bag of popcorn.  Register now for the “How to Achieve DevOps Nirvana” webcast.

See also past and upcoming presentations in the DevOps Drive-In webcast series.  A couple have sold out and the ones coming soon look to be blockbusters!

Serena Federal User GroupSerena looks forward to hosting a vibrant, interesting and breakout-session-rich Federal User Group at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on April 3rd, 2013. This year’s agenda is directly driven by the feedback from Federal agencies, customers and partners.  So please mark your diaries and sign up here.

This year’s tracks include:

  • Orchestrated Application Development
  • Service Transition through Orchestrated Change and Release Management
  • Orchestrated IT / Serena Business Manager

Among the advances and improvements, you will hear about how to bring agility into application development and delivery processes, including agile planning and continuous delivery. Within Service Transition, you will learn how to optimize and drive efficiency of change and release management processes while securing tremendous business value. Finally, you will hear about key and critical updates to orchestrating IT from Demand, through Development, Release and Service management.

Greg Hughes, Serena CEO and President, will be on hand to discuss Serena’s strategic path ahead with your agency in 1:1 meetings.  Another highlight is The AnswerZone, where Serena product experts and gurus answer any question you have, on any subject.  Finally, all Federal User Group attendees are eligible to attend the free Federal Boot Camp sessions the following day, April 4th, also at the Newseum.

We very much look forward to meeting you, hearing from you, and understanding how we can best service your agency’s requirements and the needs of your customers.  Register now!

Continuous Delivery is all the rage for dev teams and the release management / application delivery marketplace.  And rightfully so, as it is the application delivery methodology that lets App Dev deliver the code.  It saves time and money as it cuts the time for applications to be delivered into production.

A key driver for Continuous Delivery has been the adoption of Agile as a development methodology.  Most of our long-term application lifecycle management (ALM) customers have implemented at least some agile development processes, and Continuous Delivery is next up for them.

At Agile 2012 last year, we surveyed the audience and found that 49% of the respondents’ companies have significantly adopted the use of Agile for development.  And 55% of those respondents said that they are “already there” or “getting there” in the use of Continuous Delivery.  Take a look at the infographic from the Agile 2012 conference and survey.  Note also that we’ll be at Agile 2013 in August and we’ll rerun the survey and provide our annual Agile Conference Survey report for you!  We’ll see what the adoption rate for Continuous Delivery is after another year.

While Continuous Delivery does provide great value, it is not appropriate for all application deployments.  Many applications require a separation of duties: App Dev develops and IT Ops deploys.  Hence, deployments into production follow the traditional stage gate methodology and are handled by IT Operations.  This hybrid of Continuous Delivery and Stage Gate Delivery is Continuous Deployment; it can be implemented with Release Automation plus release process control and management of the hand-offs between App Dev and IT Ops.

To learn how you can implement Continuous Delivery as quickly as possible while still supporting the traditional stage gate delivery process, watch our recent webcast “Implement Continuous Delivery with Traditional App Dev Processes“ featuring Julian Fish, Director of Development for Serena Release Manager.

Agile2012 Survey InfographicAnother survey, another clear sign that IT needs to focus on the entire IT lifecycle in order to be more successful. Earlier this year, we surveyed about 1000 IT professionals, who indicated that development was doing relatively well. However, when it came to upstream and downstream processes like defining requirements and releasing apps into production, they told us a very different story.

Just recently, Serena conducted a survey with Agile2012 attendees and they tell us a similar story.  While agile software development was getting good marks for customer satisfaction, it was clear that communication across the enterprise was a major challenge facing IT organizations who wanted to make all of IT more “enterprise agile.” In fact, more than 50 percent of respondents indicated that understanding and also prioritizing customer demand needed the most improvement for agile to be successful. What’s more surprising is that when it came to deploying releases into production, only 30% – 40% of Support and IT Operations – the teams that are the first line of defense for helping customers – had any visibility into releases. Check out the full infographic.

With this in mind, it’s comforting to hear that many of our customers are already looking across the whole IT application and service delivery lifecycle and embracing the concept of Orchestrated IT. By orchestrating planning, development, deployment and service, while optimizing visibility through an executive IT dashboard, IT organizations can better understand how they can better deliver what the business really needs. In fact, Serena customers that have orchestrated information and communication across the whole IT lifecycle have realized some amazing results.  “What is Orchestrated IT? Check out this short 2-minute video that explains what Orchestrated IT can do for you.