two-week cobol sprint
February 9, 2016 COBOL, Two-week Sprints

The Two-week COBOL Sprint: Why Mainframe Shops Need It

The digital economy is forcing mainframe shops to change their cultures at a pace way outside their comfort zones. Many developers still believe working slow means safely preventing missteps and ensuring stability. While it’s critical for shops to establish a high-quality delivery, doing so at the pace of a tortoise gives Agile industry disruptors the time they need to bring your company to extinction.

In the last few years, many companies have realized the digital world demands they move faster than the Waterfall processes they’re accustomed to. Technology is more accessible than ever, making competition ubiquitous—even two developers in a garage can become your nemeses overnight. You need to be fast enough to release competitive mainframe software before the next guy. To pull this off, your company must adopt Agile processes, like the two-week COBOL sprint, that let it function with the agility of a greyhound.

Why Use the Two-week COBOL Sprint?

Before elaborating, let’s clear the air of skepticism over COBOL’s relevancy. COBOL is still relevant, considering “global capitalism still relies almost entirely on mainframe applications to transact business,” according to Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley. In essence, COBOL is the digital economy’s “foundational language.”

Despite COBOL’s steadfastness in today’s digital economy, COBOL wizards are retiring in droves, and the impact is noticeable. Figuring out how to maintain the mainframe with an impending shortage of expertise is striking fear into CIOs everywhere. And as mainframe proficiency dwindles, the upcoming generation of mainframers must confront outmoded tools and antiquated development lifecycle processes, which O’Malley refers to as “non-Agile in the extreme.” Mainframe shops who can’t find solutions to overcome obsolete methods and who refuse to adopt Agile processes will water-fall to the bottom as Agile shops rise to the top.

If you’re still wondering why mainframe shops need the two-week COBOL sprint, the answer is that you won’t survive without it. Acknowledging this is easy, making it happen is hard. But Compuware is a prime example of how shifting to an Agile culture and using sprints can be accomplished. If you’re wondering where to begin, we’re here to coach you through the process.

Two-week COBOL Sprint Next Steps

Throughout this blog series, I’ll run you through the necessary steps to pull off the two-week COBOL sprint, including:

  1. How Agile mends broken trust
  2. Having a critical conversation about Agile
  3. How to build a scrum team
  4. Developing a process of continuous builds
  5. Using Agile feedback loops
  6. Implementing deployment automation
  7. Identifying software development bottlenecks