Agile Digital Transformation

Agile Digital Transformation

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Agile Digital Transformation Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Jason Bloomberg

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Can DevOps Really Shift Everything ‘To The Left’?

Just as in the fictitious Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average, in the DevOps software lifecycle, we shift every step in the lifecycle all the way ‘to the left.’

The ‘shifting to the left’ metaphor dates to the 1990s, as software development organizations realized that the industry-standard waterfall methodology led to poor quality software and expensive fixes.

Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. -- Garrison Keillor

Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. — Garrison Keillor

The problem: the testing step was far ‘to the right,’ that is, late in the lifecycle. By moving it earlier, i.e., ‘to the left,’ software quality improved and any necessary bug fixes were far less expensive to address.

Shifting testing to the left is now an established software best practice. “It has been well known that defects are more difficult and expensive to fix the later they are found in the lifecycle,” explains Donald Firesmith, Principal Engineer at the Software Engineering Institute. “One of the most important and widely discussed trends within the software testing community is shift left testing, which simply means beginning testing as early as practical in the lifecycle.”

Shifting Operations to the Left

Today’s modern practice of DevOps adds operations to the mix, as teams now shift deployment in particular ‘to the left,’ what we call ‘continuous deployment’ or CD. “Shifting left requires two key DevOps practices: continuous testing and continuous deployment,” says Dr. Darrell R. Schrag, Watson and Cloud Platform Architect at IBM. “Continuous deployment automates the provisioning and deployment of new builds, enabling continuous testing to happen quickly and efficiently.”

In fact, one way to look at this ‘shift everything to the left’ mentality is ‘continuous everything.’ “Continuous everything is really around how do you do continuous testing and continuous delivery,” explains David Williams, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Strategy at CA Technologies. “When you’re delivering on a test infrastructure, it’s continuous throughout, whether it’s from development, thorough to release, into production, back into plan, and that is a continuous environment.”

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Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, CA Technologies and IBM are Intellyx customers. None of the other organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. CA Technologies covered Jason Bloomberg’s expenses at the CA Built to Change Summit, a standard industry practice. Image credit: ladysnap50.

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More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.