Tasktop Viz launch – DevOps Enterprise Summit 2019 – Day Two Recap

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Over the past months, a number of Fortune 100 customers have been testing Tasktop’s new product, Tasktop Viz, to implement the Flow Framework™. We’re delighted to announce a limited release to a community near and dear to us at the DevOps Enterprise Summit – learn more from our CEO and founder, Dr. Mik Kersten

Day two recap

Following an evening of celebrating the launch of Gene Kim’s new book, The Unicorn Project, Day Two of DevOps Enterprise Summit 2019 kicked off with a tongue-twisting session by fashion discovery platform Mode Operandi entitled ‘Fabulous Fortune, Fewer Failures, and Faster Fixes From Functional Fundamentals’.

Any lapses in concentration due to tired eyes and sore heads were swiftly banished by a fascinating insight into the world of fashion e-commerce and the back systems that support a smooth customer experience.

Photo credit: @DOES_USA

Scott Havens, Senior Director of Engineering at Mode Operandi, highlighted the benefits of event-based systems over legacy approaches, and how software architecture should be just as beautiful as the clothes on sale. “Just look at how ugly that service-oriented architecture is!” He demonstrated how a more elegant functional design—combining immutability, purity, and duality of code and data—can save larger enterprises millions of dollars, as demonstrated by his previous work at Walmart.

Obtaining the funding to spearhead your product ambitions

DOES and other tech events demonstrate that we’re not in short supply of great ideas, visionary people or cutting-edge technology to improve the way organizations build and deliver software. But IT’s ability to realize its vision will always need support and buy-in from the business, especially from the people who hold the purse strings. Compuwar’s CEO, Chris O’Malley, was joined on stage by the company’s CFO, Joe Aho, to provide tips on obtaining funding.

“Chris laid out his vision, which would change everything – the way we support customers, go-to-market, our DNA, infrastructure, software delivery,” recalled Aho. “I was like, “Wow! Ok. What’s next? Have you got a 12-month plan for this?” And he’s like, “No, we’re going to do it this quarter. I thought he was nuts.”

Aho fears were quickly allayed. Despite Compuware being “in a state of decline” at the time, O’Malley ignored it. “Chris had his sales hat on,” continued Aho. “He laid out a mission. He had a strategy. Led town halls, galvanized staff and he showed us tangibles early on. And in Salesforce we saw pipeline improving, software going out every 90 days instead of years. Results tied to the business.”

Having a clear plan, the right mentality and measurement enabled O’Malley to push forward with his plan unimpeded. “Joe can smell when something is off and if you can’t connect the dots,” O’Malley stressed that by focussing on customer satisfaction and employee engagement, you can foster a realistic growth mindset. “We work at the pleasure and service of our customers. Lose sight of that, you lost sight of everything. Immerse yourself in your customers and how you serve them. Customer obsession has to be on the backlog. I want the engineering team to be looking at those items like they’re prisoners in the Bastille and that the team are revolutionaries trying to set them free to liberate France!”

Product-thinking and secure delivery – DevOps Enterprise Summit 2019 – Day One Recap 

Auditors – a powerful asset to help you innovate 

A panel of auditors from leading firms—Matt Bonser, Digital Risk Solutions, PWC, LLP, Yosef Levins, MD, Global Technology Controls, Confidentiality and Privacy, Deloitte, Jeff Roberts, Senior Manager, Advisory Services, Ernest & Young, Michael Wolf, MD, Modern Delivery Lead, KPMG—participated in a ‘DevOps myth-busting’ session, providing insights into how you can work with them to build products safely. 

Compliance doesn’t need to scary, stressed Levins. “Compliance by design is a cool concept, makes life easier for developers. And we’re open to change – just to do it our pace and speak our language to reach an understanding.” Getting feedback from auditors from the get-go can simplify the process, explained Wolf. Roberts agreed. “Getting the conversation started with internal and external auditors” can very impactful in accelerating delivery.  

Excellence in action

DBS Bank’s commitment to DevOps and much of the research that formed the basis of Accelerate, it has been voted “Best Bank In The World” by Global Finance. Over the last three years, the bank’s transformation has been jaw-dropping. In a previous time, the bank would celebrate a release going to production with a party. “That would be very expensive now,” smiled Dapeng Liu, Senior VP, Development. “We’re now deploying 4-5 times a day!”

Much of the company’s transformation was born out of rethinking the whole software delivery pipeline. Despite efforts to improve the pipeline, developers would continue to revert to old means to complete their work. “We were confused why people weren’t using the automated pipeline when we continued to use new repositories and our codebase was so large. They responded that they only need to write 100 lines of code to get a ticket out of their hand, but it would take three days with the pipeline.”

By creating a self-service on-demand environment for developers, they could move to same-day delivery. All they needed was a ticket for a production release, and the technical outcomes speak for themselves – lead time, for instance, went from 32 hours to just three. “It means developers were no longer doing the non-value-adding heavy lifting” added Shaun Norris, Field CIO from Pivotal, enabling the acceleration that enables DBS to be considered an elite performer.

Tasktop Viz – what Flow Metrics can do for you

Fresh off the back of our launch of Tasktop Viz, Nicole Bryan—our VP of Product Development— took to the stage with Jeff Zahorchak from Select Medical, a customer already benefiting from the powers of Viz alongside Tasktop Integration Hub. Jeff has been leading his organization’s software delivery transformation with the help of Flow Metrics.
As the digital demands of the business increased “we had to be IT superheroes to deliver on time,” explained Jeff. “We wanted to maximize delivery, but we can’t be leading a death march for our developers. First, we had to take control of demand.” 

To maximize the delivery of Select Medical’s IS Group, they first set up a work intake form for the business to “give them skin in the game.” We would ensure that they had worked out the business objective and ROI with their product owners before the IS team started the work.” By running a Value Stream Mapping exercise with Tasktop to get an understanding into how flow worked to identify bottlenecks, he then looked at the toolchain to see where how he could model integration through artifacts and automate key handoff points through Tasktop Integration Hub.

By consolidating and streamlining the toolchain and automating the flow information between systems, Select Medical saw immediate benefits. “In the first 24 hours, 1,247 defects automatically flowed from ServiceNow to Azure DevOps.  We identified 671 duplicate items between systems, saving 4,750 hours of unnecessary work. We also eliminated the dual data entry to manually keep systems in sync… that’s 12 hours of work a day, equating to more than one full FTE of effort daily.”

With a handle on the data from end-to-end, Jeff was then able to use Tasktop Viz and the Flow Metrics to manage the value being delivered and identify where to invest resources to relieve constraints. The idea of simply increasing developer velocity wasn’t necessarily the sensible next step to generate more value for the business. It could, in fact, be a bottleneck.

“We were iterating too quickly for our users to keep up with us, as we were introducing changes faster than they could become trained and educated on their application. For instance, often they would file a ticket just because they didn’t know where a certain button was. To solve it, we said let’s delay the releases to once a month. That decision almost eliminated our entire incident count. Our developer engagement and happiness increased dramatically.”

By understanding where the real issues were through Flow Metrics, Jeff was able to change the conversation with the business. “It was no longer about why my team wasn’t performing, but why isn’t the organization performing. That was an important shift to improve how we could help the business and they could partner with us.”

Jeff and Nicole’s talk clearly struck a chord – many of the audience sought them after their session at Tasktop’s booth (403) to learn more about what they can achieve with Tasktop.

Tasktopians in action

What’s in store for Day Three?

Wednesday, October 30 | 11:10am – 11:40am | Chelsea Ballroom

Dr. Mik Kersten, CEO & Founder of Tasktop, author of Project to Product and inventor of the Flow Framework

Project To Product: Beyond the Turning Point – Dr. Mik Kersten (CEO & Founder, Tasktop)

In many enterprises, Agile and DevOps transformations are starting to get board-level visibility as the need to become a software innovator becomes critical to company survival and success. But how many of these transformations are on track in terms of producing the results that the business is expecting? How many of these organizations are tracking the results of these transformations, rather than just the activities, such as training and tool deployments? The fundamental problem is that the way these transformations are structured has a very different meaning to the technology side than it does to the business. Key concepts that should be shared by both sides, such as technical debt, are not part of the common language. It is these disconnects that cause large-scale transformations to fall off the rails.

In this talk, Dr. Mik Kersten will present the lessons and flow diagnostics learned from the past year of organizations’ shifts from project to product. He will then present predictions and prescriptions to help our organizations and careers thrive beyond the Turning Point.

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