Ashley Owen Archive

Don’t miss this upcoming webcast next week on Wednesday, April 27 at 11:00 am EST:  DevOps – Development and Operations Working Together to Eliminate the Release Backlog.  I’m teaming up with Forrester Research, Inc. senior analyst Glenn O’Donnell to explore the value of release management technology, including release automation.  We’ll show you how to deploy applications more often, with more changes, and with fewer failures, to help solve the common challenge Development and Operations face – instituting new applications and changes to existing applications to grow the business faster and stronger.

I got a sneak peak at Glenn’s part of the presentation.  I’m not going to divulge too much but I will say that it has both an Ops and software engineering slant.  He drives home the point about applying some engineering principles to managing the release, and the importance of managing release packages. His bottom line: Dev and Ops must come together and get in the same boat.  Glenn also does a good job of explaining adoption of ITIL v3 and growing interest in Release Management from all stakeholders.

This webcast is the 2nd in a series of 3 Release Management webcasts with Forrester Research, Inc. The first one was with principal analyst Jeffrey Hammond – Five Ways to Streamline Release Management.  He provided “next practices” for improving release visibility and speed and a full report disclosing his research.  In the last webcast we’ll discuss the impact of agile development on release management.  Watch for it!

stethoscopeI’ve been on the road meeting and talking to Serena customers.  It’s always great to get first-hand feedback from actual users of our solutions.  What’s even better is when you find out how we’ve helped a customer solve some major application development challenges.  I recently visited one of the largest healthcare companies in the United States.  Their business is to work with their customer base of corporations, consumers, pharmacists and nurses and help them manage billions of prescriptions, medical claims and clinical visits each year.  You can only imagine how robust their technology needs are.

Here’s what they were faced with:

  • Tools for project management, testing, and software modeling operating in virtual silos.
  • Manual compilation of information across different systems.
  • An error-prone process for communicating the latest status to management.

This Fortune 100 healthcare company needed a way to orchestrate all of its disparate software teams, processes and tools together – essentially, orchestrate the entire application development process from initial project request to ongoing support.  The cure was thinking process orchestration first and systems second.  Serena helped them implement process automation and integration, requirements traceability across the development lifecycle and real-time enterprise dashboards.  The result was a 50% improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of their application development process.

Now that’s a successful customer visit!

Forrester logoHow would you rate your company’s release management process?  Are you in need of ideas to improve release flow and drive efficiency?  Do you want more release visibility and speed?  If you’re nodding your head, then keep reading.  Serena recently hosted a webinar entitled Five Ways to Streamline Release Management.  We featured independent research firm Forrester Research, Inc. principal analyst Jeffrey S. Hammond, who is a leading expert on improving software development productivity.

In the webinar Jeffrey talked about how top development organizations address release management, key industry trends, and opportunities for optimizing development organizations to support the release management process.  Plus, the results of Forrester’s market research and release management survey were revealed.

We learned that:

  • The velocity and volume of releases are increasing rapidly.  Manual and fragmented processes will not scale.
  • Agile adoption among development teams is highlighting the lack of release automation and an increasingly visible bottleneck is forming that does not satisfy the needs of the business, development or operations.
  • Organizations need to revisit release management in relation to other ALM practices, such as build and software configuration management, testing and quality assurance, project management and deployment.

To tie release management together with these ALM practices and streamline the workflow, while leveraging your existing infrastructure, Forrester recommended five “next practices” for improving release visibility and speed:

  1. Improve prebuild process.
  2. Expand release management throughput.
  3. Optimize release pipelines.
  4. Design software for rapid change.
  5. Create common release portals.

I just learnt from one of Serena’s premier customers about the results they’ve obtained from Release Automation.  This leading provider of business intelligence information has experienced a 90%+ reduction in application deployment time by leveraging Serena Release Automation.   By automating release tasks, they decreased the time needed to complete their release processes.  Tasks that took 30-90 minutes went down to an average of 2-3 minutes.   Not only did this accelerate the time-to-release but it also resulted in a huge savings and return on investment for the company.

They currently use Dimensions CM as the Release Vault for their next generation application platform.  They are heavily invested in this platform and need to manage the significant code deployments that accompany an agile development process.  By leveraging Dimensions and Release Automation the customer is now capable of scaling to support enterprise agile development (removing the bottleneck that was present in release management) and ensuring releases are consistently delivered correctly every time. 

Much of the release process was automated and improved, greatly increasing productivity.  They were able to save 25 man-hours a week spent on collaboration, coordination, and orchestration of releases with the database and middleware teams.  They eliminated the need for additional full-time employees and are now able to re-allocate current resources from sitting and monitoring releases to planning and working on other releases.

Wow.  It’s results like this that make this job fun!