Fight Cultural Debt by Connecting Your Value Stream

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“In a world where tools are a proxy for process, the disconnected worlds created by domain specific tools result in broken workflows, reduced visibility and obstructed collaboration.”

The business world is often blissfully ignorant of how technology decisions can introduce ‘cultural debt’.  And when an organization takes on cultural debt unknowingly, the interest payments accumulate and everyone suffers without really understanding why.

One common cause of cultural debt is the disconnected toolchain. Here at Tasktop, we regularly speak to businesses that are using many different domain-specific tools, such as Agile planning tools like Jira and testing tools like HPE ALM. While these tools effectively accommodate the specialized roles needed in the development of software products, they also create a divide between people and teams.

In a world where tools are a proxy for process, the disconnected worlds created by domain specific tools result in broken workflows, reduced visibility and obstructed collaboration. When people get indiscriminately cut off from the processes, information and lines of communication they need to do their jobs, the result is a lot of blaming, finger-pointing and infighting.

Organizations have therefore developed a number of anti-patterns – i.e. counterproductive solutions to reoccurring problems – to cope with their disconnected toolchain, including:

  1. More, and longer, meetings: spent cycles checking if everyone is in sync. And then checking again. And again…and again
  2. Spreadsheet entanglement: reverting to workbooks to capture and collate information otherwise stored in unconnected artifacts
  3. Noisier communication: spamming multiple channels to ensure everything is heard
  4. Double-entry: forcing technical people to enter information into multiple tools.

All of these activities consume an enormous amount of resources and only act as a levee against the debt interest from compounding, and they don’t even touch the original debt. That’s where Tasktop comes in.

How Tasktop helps

Our customers have discovered that they can address these problems through their infrastructure – namely, by using an integration layer powered by Tasktop to enable workflows to work together across tools.

Integration allows information to automatically flow to where it needs to go as quickly as possible. When a test run finishes and the QA team updates their User Story in HP ALM, the corresponding story in Jira gets updated immediately. Then when the dev team completes their done review and closes the epic in Jira, the project manager has immediate visibility on their Gantt chart in a PPM tool like Clarity (not a week later in a status update meeting!). All that painful manual work, that unmanageable debt, is eliminated.

While these types of integrations are normally very tricky to maintain, and even create their own burden of both technical and cultural debt, Tasktop’s Integration Hub makes it easy and painless to set them up. Integrations that take a development team months to setup and require active long-term maintenance can now be configured via Tasktop in a minute (and, crucially, with no extensive coding).

And as the organization evolves, new tools can easily be introduced the stack thanks to our unique model-based approach to integration. Pretty quickly that disconnected toolchain transforms from an organizational archipelago into a connected value stream.

If you’d like to know more about how to solve your integration problems and pay down that cultural debt before it becomes a problem, check out our webinar with DevOps.com ‘Don’t Let Cultural Debt Bring Down Your Business’. Or speak to directly to our team of experts by requesting a product demo today.