Compuware DevOps Transition Workshop | Top Trends
November 12, 2018 DevOps, Mainframe Agility

The Top Trends Across Our DevOps Transition Workshops

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Overview: Here are the top trends we’ve been observing across DevOps Transition Workshops we conduct for Compuware customers who are working to modernize mainframe systems delivery.


We’ve been hosting DevOps Transition Workshops for about a year now to help customers around the world understand how they can include their mainframes in a modern DevOps ecosystem. Like everything we do at Compuware, we’re constantly re-evaluating our methods and approaches, taking feedback from workshop attendees and figuring how to best implement that into what we do to help customers improve.

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Based on that feedback and our observations over the course of numerous DevOps Transition Workshops, here are the top trends we’re picking up on.

1. Agile and DevOps Education Is Still Critical

As far as customers like Standard Bank have come in modernizing mainframe systems delivery, others are just beginning this process and are struggling to understand what DevOps and Agile are from a practical standpoint. There’s a lot of talk about Agile, iterative development, automation, etc., but organizations are transitioning slowly.

Aside from continuing to explain these things in our DevOps Transition Workshops, we’re recommending internal education at multiple levels within your organization—from developers on software development practices and tools, to mid-level managers and executives on how to implement, structure and manage Agile at enterprise scale.

2. ISPF Dependence Is Diminishing

The good news is, despite there still being a strong need for the mainframe development community to truly understand Agile and DevOps, many people are realizing the need for change, especially with tooling. Out of this, dependence on the ISPF “green screen” is diminishing, which is a necessary and positive trend we want to continue.

As next-gen developers who are less experienced with the mainframe enter this industry and are given the massive responsibility of taking over for retiring experts, they need tools they are familiar with to lessen onboarding time—tools that are modern, intuitive and support Agile and DevOps best practices.

3. ISPF Advocates Still Struggle to Change

However, it’s also true many developers who have used ISPF for years or decades and aren’t retiring anytime soon are struggling to transition to a modern graphical Eclipse-based IDE. On our end, we continue to try and make this transition easier for them, whether its through training or by releasing improvements to our Eclipse-based tools each quarter.

A large part of the struggle to transition is due to fear of change and cultural complacency for mainframe teams. Again, this is why education is critical to helping change mindsets. We discuss this deeper during our DevOps Transition Workshops. You can learn more about driving change from these blog posts, too:

4. Mainframe Teams Want to Increase Efficiency

It gets us fired up to see how enthusiastic attendees of our DevOps Transition Workshops are about becoming more efficient in mainframe development. We’re starting to see next-gen programmers take on the responsibility for legacy systems and making modifications as experts retire, which is a catalyst for finding solutions that improve productivity—after all, mainframe teams increasingly have more workloads to manage with fewer experts to manage them.

5. Next-gens Are Taking on More Responsibility

As organizations move more functionality, services and capabilities to cloud and mobile platforms, they’re having to make more frequent changes to systems of record to leverage information, data and intelligence in new systems of engagement. When given the right tools that act as force multipliers in mainframe development, less-experienced people who haven’t been exposed to the mainframe are doing a great job from a productivity standpoint—they can maintain quality and increase velocity and efficiency.

Hearing and seeing this in our DevOps Transition Workshops is a validation for us and customers that learning new languages—COBOL, PL/I, Assembler—and understanding how these systems are architected is not an overwhelming challenge if we can provide new developers with the modern tools and processes they’re comfortable with.

6. Testing Phases Aren’t Well-Understood

More education around what good unit testing is needed and how to do it well—hint: automated, not manually—not to mention the difference between unit, system integration and functional testing is crucial right now.

Traditionally, mainframe developers had to be very particular about the code they produced because they were responsibile for supporting it. But today, code is promoted to an SCM tool and QA is relied upon to ensure software is working properly and that problems are identified before passing code back to developers to be fixed.

In DevOps, we’ve found this isn’t a good process, as it impedes velocity and efficiency. Instead, we need to help mainframe teams understand shift left principles, so they can solve problems as close to each development step as possible. The cost of resolving defects is so much lower at that point.

7. Test Data Management Is a Growing Concern

Given the increasing threats to data privacy and a growing canon of data protection laws being established in response, test data management has become a huge area of concern in large enterprises, especially as it relates to the mainframe, which is responsible for storing and processing most of the world’s sensitive business-critical data and customer PII.

It makes sense that customers are asking us to explain more how we can help accelerate the creation, management and masking of test data with our suite of enterprise data capabilities.

Attend a DevOps Transition Workshop

We’ll continue to keep an eye on these and other trends we’re seeing in our DevOps Transition Workshops around the world to make sure we’re providing the most relevant and useful education we can to help your mainframe teams enter the DevOps world.

If you’re a Compuware customer, we highly recommend scheduling one of these workshops. You can learn more about what the workshop offers and reach out about scheduling yours here.

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Rick Slade and Stuart Ashby

Rick Slade Compuware’s executive DevOps Solution architect. A DevOps evangelist, Rick has over 30 years of experience helping customers develop enterprise DevOps ecosystems to excel in the digital economy. Rick is a certified Scaled Agilist from the Scaled Agile Framework group and an Open Group Distinguished IT Specialist. Stuart Ashby is a DevOps specialist for Compuware, where he is responsible for evangelizing enterprise DevOps and helping customers develop and nurture enterprise DevOps ecosystems. Prior to Compuware, he worked as a DevOps engineer/architect at a UK retail bank. He has extensive enterprise knowledge acquired over the past 30-plus years.

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