Continuous Improvement: Compuware, Our Customers and Me
Overview: Continuous improvement is a way of life at Compuware. Here’s how a first-year next-gen mainframe developer at the company perceives the importance of that model.
“Continuous Improvement” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot during my first year at Compuware. Whether it’s one of our CEO’s inspirational exhortations during a company Town Hall, an email from our VP of Development or another developer discussing the need to improve error reporting in a program—the theme of continuous improvement is pervasive.
We certainly aren’t perfect. “The Perfect Agile Software Company” doesn’t exist because processes, tools and norms for software development are always evolving. However, it is vital to continuously be learning and improving both as an individual programmer and as a company as a whole. It is vital to not be left behind in the ever-changing world of software development.
Improving as an Individual
Personally, I think lifelong learning is crucial for everyone. I also think it’s especially important for a programmer. I’m always trying to learn about new tools and programming languages and systems. As a new-hire with almost no mainframe experience (just what I learned from my previous internship at Compuware), I had lots of new stuff to learn: z/OS Assembler, JCL, COBOL, PL/I, DB2, CICS—and that was just the beginning.
It was exciting, challenging and a little bit intimidating. I was working on a program that was created before I was born, in a language I didn’t completely understand, on a complex system that was new to me. On top of all that, I was working with mainframe veterans who have been doing this for over 35 years.
Fortunately, those veterans are extremely passionate, knowledgeable and easy to work with. In my time here, I haven’t met a single person that isn’t excited to help me find solutions to my problems or, if they can’t, help me find someone else who can assist.
The culture of collaboration and teamwork at Compuware encourages individual employees’ personal development and learning. Instead of putting me in a box and insisting that I do one specific job, Compuware encourages me to try new things and learn new skills within the company.
I’ve grown so much, but I’m not done yet. There’s always something new for me to learn.
Improving as a Company
Compuware encourages employees’ individual development, but we are also continuously improving our company as a whole by advancing our organization and processes. A few months ago, at our developer town hall, our VP of Development, David Rizzo, announced a goal to improve our test automation and code coverage to improve our code quality.
Being fairly new to Compuware, I didn’t fully understand just how ambitious this goal was. I also didn’t understand why it made some of my more experienced coworkers a little nervous.
Some were skeptical that this goal could be achieved. It’s been difficult and we’re not quite there yet, but we’re now starting to see some of the benefits of our new automated testing and deployment system.
Soon, we will be streamlining steps in our building, testing and deployment processes to improve inefficiencies in the use of developer time. As a result of this and other continuous improvement efforts, we are actually seeing our metrics for code quality improve while we continue to deliver new features.
Improving for Our Customers
Especially in mainframe IT, not every software vendor is in the business of helping customers continuously improve—but Compuware definitely is. Recently, as a result of our “developer exchange,” I had the pleasure of meeting some developers from Lloyds Banking Group. It was interesting to hear how they use our products, but I also learned about something even more interesting when talking to them: what David Rizzo describes as “A Shared Journey.”
In talking with the folks from Lloyds, it really clicked for me how much we are in this together. They are also in the process of improving their automated testing and running into issues similar to those we have been dealing with. And like any large organization undergoing a massive business transformation, they also see reluctance at times within their organization to change the way things are done. But most importantly, they understand that if they stop improving and adapting, they will be left behind.
So, Compuware and Lloyds get it. We’re going to keep moving forward and innovating, helping our customers achieve their goals any way we can. That’s the reason we’re here. We succeed when our customers succeed. If you’re not a customer yet, give us a call. Let’s improve together.
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- Continuous Improvement: Compuware, Our Customers and Me - February 14, 2019