Compuware Podcast | The Modern Mainframe | 10 Steps to True Mainframe Agility | Step 1: Determine Your Current and Desired State
March 5, 2019 DevOps, Mainframe Agility

Taking Your First Step Towards True Mainframe Agility

Overview: For the first episode of our series “10 Steps to True Mainframe Agility” on The Modern Mainframe podcast, we spoke with Compuware VP of Product Development David Rizzo about the first step, Determine Your Current and Desired State. Here are some highlights from the conversation.


Probably the most intimidating aspect of a business transformation is taking the first step. What is that step? What will its outcome be? Then what?

In the context of mainframe organizations transforming their culture, processes and tools from waterfall to Agile, through our own transformation we learned the definitive first step must be determining your current and desired state.

As we explain in our eBook “10 Steps to True Mainframe Agility,” a comprehensive guide to achieving Agile development on the mainframe, “It’s wise to first be clear about what that transformation will entail” and “map out a transformation plan that all relevant stakeholders can understand and buy into.”

I discussed this with Compuware VP of Product Development David Rizzo on the latest episode of Compuware’s podcast, The Modern Mainframe, where he talked about the importance of this first step gearing around “looking at what are your objectives to meet for your customer. And really, the first part of it is your business goals, your business objectives, not the technical way to get there.”

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Setting goals is a critical part of Step 1 in our 10-step process to mainframe agility—which, by the way, was designed based on conversations with customers as well as other Agile companies we learned from, in addition to our own transformation experiences. Setting goals is a constant throughout the process, but it all stems from step one.

“Who are you doing work for? Who are you meeting the needs of? Which, again, we all have customers, whatever business we’re in,” David said.

It’s the customer that we’re working for and trying to fulfill our mission as a company.”

That’s why this part of the process is managed from a business perspective, rather than a technical one as many who try to shift from waterfall to Agile on the mainframe may be prone to attempt first—i.e., automating tasks before understanding how those impact business objectives.

It’s subsequent steps that involve “the technical way to get there and how you can help meet those business goals,” David said. “Because doing Agile development for the sake of doing Agile development is going to be difficult to get acceptance, get buy in from the teams. When they have a reason to be doing it and there’s a purpose, then they understand what they’re trying to achieve.”

David gets into the details around this and more during our conversation on The Modern Mainframe. It’s an additional perspective on the importance of determining the current and desired state of your mainframe organization and absolutely worth a listen.

To read more about step one as well as the other nine steps to achieving true mainframe agility, download our eBook “10 Steps to True Mainframe Agility.” Otherwise, keep an eye out for future episodes in this series where we’ll explore the other steps with Compuware experts.

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Mike Siemasz

Technology Writer at Compuware
Mike Siemasz formerly served as Content Strategist and Technology Writer, reporting on culture, processes and tools in relation to DevOps and the mainframe.