Welcome!

DevOps Journal Authors: Aater Suleman, Liz McMillan, Mike Kavis, Andrew Phillips, Carmen Gonzalez

Blog Feed Post

ITinvolve: Driving Business Agility with Metadata Management and Curation

Balancing Automation and Human Knowledge Curation

There are many metadata management tools on the market today, including Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Repositories, to name a few. Such tools seek to automate the collection and dissemination of policy-related metadata in hopes of automating policy enforcement – an important part of the automated governance critical to achieving business agility. And yet, such tools have generally fallen short, because they inadequately address the need to support policies that apply primarily to human behavior.

ITinvolve logoIn contrast, there are many tools on the market that focus primarily on supporting human collaboration and communication, either across an organization or specific to particular teams, processes, or tasks. Such tools include portals like Microsoft SharePoint, groupware of various sorts (email, wikis, and the like), and more focused tools such as Portfolio Management or Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) products.

When it comes to driving business agility across the organization, however, such human communication and collaboration tools have also fallen short, as they generally require an onerous amount of configuration and management from people who have scant time or attention to devote to such dull activities. This limitation leads to bloated repositories full of unsearchable documents, or email inboxes with thousands of messages, or knowledge management systems that contain information that is so out of date and incomplete that people refuse to spend any time updating them, thus defeating their purpose entirely.

ITinvolve has largely solved this combination of problems with their aptly-named Agility Manager. Agility Manager can be thought of as a next-generation knowledge management application that combines automated metadata collection and policy enforcement with broad human curation capabilities, balancing the need for automated governance and support for human activities within software development teams or more broadly across the organization.

Agility Manager also adds a set of objects to aid in projects including business goal, release, and iteration objects, as well as project planning functionality like Gantt charting and Kanban boards, as shown in the figure below. Furthermore, data need not physically reside in ITinvolve but can be federated so the object relationships are in ITinvolve but the full data set lives in a third-party source, for example, a pdf-formatted policy document on a file share or detailed functional requirements in Atlassian JIRA or Rally Software’s ALM platform.

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating project analysis Kanban boards (Source: ITinvolve)

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating project analysis Kanban boards (Source: ITinvolve)

Furthermore, the entire ITinvolve suite of applications (Agility Manager plus some value-added extensions) are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications built on the Salesforce1 Platform. This platform choice gives ITinvolve customers pay-as-you-go, per-user pricing that simplifies onboarding and ramping up, as well as the scalability and integration support you’d expect from Salesforce.

The ITinvolve Agile Architecture Story

Architecting for business agility in the enterprise requires far more than the proper application of architectural practices to Agile development projects. In fact, it requires a complete rethink of what it means to architect an organization. Business agility is a property of the organization as a whole, which means that the enterprise must be treated as a Complex Adaptive System, where business agility is an emergent property of the system.

Such Complex Systems are actually systems of systems; in the case of an organization, the component systems are technology systems and people. The challenge of architecting for business agility, therefore, extends beyond architecting the technology. It’s also critical for the organization to architect its people as well.

The way to “architect the people” in the organization is to apply appropriate governance policies and processes that encourage the desired behavior. Excessive or inappropriate governance typically backfires, however, as too many rules and policies can lower morale and productivity. Instead, it’s important to encourage desired behavior via effective incentives, coupled with tools that facilitate the desired behavior, yet make undesirable behavior difficult. To this end, ITinvolve empowers people so that they are willing and even desirous to adapt their behavior. ITinvolve helps people facilitate their work by giving them the information and analysis they require, and enabling collaboration with other relevant team members (even ones they may not know about).

Giving people better tools and rewarding them with free food or cash bonuses is only part of the story. In order to achieve the business agility goals of the organization, this human governance must be seamlessly integrated with the automated governance of technology. In other words, technology must support the desired human behavior by providing the right tools, but people must also be able to properly manage and govern the technology in order to support the flexibility necessary for the organization to be agile.

Furthermore, as emergent behavior is inherently unpredictable, it is essential that organizations take an iterative approach to directing human and technology behavior in order to increase the organization’s agility. Each iteration should include a feedback loop that reflects the resulting effects of any policy or tooling change in order to improve results of subsequent iterations.

ITinvolve’s combined automated governance and human curation approach brings together the essential elements of this Agile Architecture story. At its core, the Agility Manager is an application that simplifies and encourages the desired behavior from the teams using the application. It also supports multiple approaches to automating the collection and communication of necessary metadata, as well as the automation of policies.

Instead of discouraging active participation in knowledge collection as standard portals and knowledge management tools do, ITinvolve empowers people to share their knowledge, as shown in the figure below. This approach facilitates cross-team collaboration on projects and decisions by supporting more effective risk management using current and accurate information. As a result, people can get their jobs done and make better decisions by fully understanding the various dependencies among requirements, policies, applications, and other elements of their work environment.

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating interrelationships among various diverse types of people and objects in the organization (Source: ITinvolve)

ITinvolve Agility Manager illustrating interrelationships among
various diverse types of people and objects in the organization (Source: ITinvolve)

ITinvolve also brings together and integrates varied data sources, including documents on portals, metadata in asset management tools and CMDBs, automation scripts and recipes, and other information that would otherwise be scattered about the organization or locked up in the heads of key personnel. This “tribal knowledge” of each expert in the enterprise is a critical asset that is always at risk of being lost, either through people leaving the organization, or simply forgetting the details over time.

Not only does ITinvolve facilitate the collection and dissemination of such tribal knowledge, but the application also supports the continuous review of such information by other experts in the organization. The result is an iterative, continuous-feedback approach to ongoing improvement of the information that ITinvolve manages. In fact, by bringing various individuals together from across different departments within the organization, ITinvolve supports flexible collaboration across the enterprise. Such cross-silo collaboration is critical for Agile projects, DevOps, and other initiatives that drive greater agility in the enterprise.

The Intellyx Take

One area where Agile development methodologies and the Agile Architecture approach to treating the organization as a Complex Adaptive System overlap is with the focus on self-organizing teams. Top-down approaches to creating teams – essentially, managers formally assigning roles to individuals – limit the flexibility of the team and thus impact the agility of the organization. Allowing teams to organize themselves addresses this issue.

And yet, as teams expand beyond a handful of people, especially when such teams are cross-functional and involve a variety of people in different roles, then self-organization can potentially begin to break down. The challenge isn’t necessarily the competency of the individuals involved, but rather their ability to communicate effectively and maintain coherent, up-to-date tribal knowledge, even as the team’s personnel might change or their tasks may evolve.

Solving this challenge is central to ITinvolve’s value proposition, because it both facilitates and supports the self-organization so critical to Agile teams, while at the same time addressing the communication and knowledge management challenges endemic to cross-functional teams. As a result, ITinvolve fosters a self-regulating system that provides greater transparency to all team members and management alike, as well as automated constraints on the behavior of associated technology assets, in such a way that facilitates the iterative feedback loop essential to driving agility long-term in large organizations.

ITinvolve is an Intellyx client. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this post.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

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).

@DevOpsSummit Stories
We live in a time when seconds – even milliseconds – can have a dramatic economic impact on your company’s future. With technology being the primary conduit for consumer interaction, the user experience is at center stage. User experience will be a deciding factor in separating the future winners from the losers. By building more speed and agility into the application delivery process, DevOps promises great rewards. However, with this promise, also come significant ramifications for failure. In his session at DevOps Summit, Tom Lounibos, SOASTA CEO, will explore both the benefits and the som...
Our expectations for buying all sorts of consumer goods has gone through a radical transformation we now take for granted. Why should we not expect this same level of service from IT businesses? We accept the status quo for how software delivery exists today but would reject it without hesitation if it were applied to pretty much any other online consumer experience. Take pizza delivery as an example. Fifteen years ago ordering a pizza meant trying to choose an item from a grease-stained menu somebody shoved under your door. You'd make a phone call and end up speaking to somebody who sounded ...
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is correlated with 2...
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets and other modifications to the corporate security infrastructure. Connecting a public cloud to the ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grid Dynamics, the leading provider of scalable eCommerce technology solutions, will exhibit at DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grid Dynamics is a leading provider of open, scalable, next-generation commerce technology solutions for Tier 1 retail. Grid Dynamics has in-depth expertise in commerce technologies, wide involvement in the open source community and a modern, global workforce. Great companies, partnered with Grid Dynamics, gain a sustainable business...
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their smaller footprint, shorter boot times, and higher consolidation factors, they also bring a lot of new fea...
For better or worse, DevOps has gone mainstream. All doubt was removed when IBM and HP threw up their respective DevOps microsites. Where are we on the hype cycle? It's hard to say for sure but there's a feeling we're heading for the "Peak of Inflated Expectations". What does this mean for the Enterprise? Should they avoid DevOps? Definitely not. Should they be cautious though? Absolutely. The truth is that DevOps and the Enterprise are at best strange bedfellows. The movement has its roots in the tech community's elite. Open source projects and methodologies driven by the alumni of companies ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Serena Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Serena Software supports DevOps and Continuous Delivery by providing application deployment automation and software release management solutions to replace slow and error-prone manual processes. 2,500 enterprises around the world trust Serena to help them develop and deploy better software.
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing companies that have reshaped their Operations to enable the business to get full value from their Clo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gigaom Research has been named "Media Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, will also lead a Power Panel on the topic "Choosing the Right Cloud Option." Gigaom Research provides timely, in-depth analysis of emerging technologies for individual and corporate subscribers. Gigaom Research's network of 200+ independent analysts provides new content daily that bridges the gap between break...
Sanjeev Sharma is the latest author to join DevOps Journal. Sanjeev is a solution architect and DevOps Worldwide lead with Rational Software, an IBM brand and the author of 'DevOps for Dummies.' DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. SYS-CON Media CEO Carmen Gonzalez is founder and publisher of DevOps Journal, and Roger Strukhoff, long-time SYS-CON editor and the conference chair of Cloud Expo is the editor of the world's leading DevOps resource.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM is holding a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm at 15th Cloud Expo. 15th Cloud Expo, co-located with @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit is taking place Nov. 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The labs, for developers of all levels, will highlight the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionality and provide short-term introductory projects that developers can complete between sessions. Developers will be able spend as much time as they want working on specific DevOps pro...
When you set off to build an app that will change the world, designing your system architecture to be reliable and scalable is important but the stark reality is that, for your MVP, you probably had a “need for speed” (of development). You didn’t know what all the axes were to scale your application, where your stress points would be, and what weird and wonderful ways your customers would use it down the road. In a world of zero-downtime services, landing the plane to figure it out is not an option. In his session at DevOps Summit, Andrew Miklas, CTO of PagerDuty, will share lessons learned ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOASTA, the leader in cloud and mobile testing, will exhibit at DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOASTA is the leader in cloud testing. Its web and mobile test automation and monitoring solutions, CloudTest, TouchTest and mPulse, enable developers, QA professionals and IT operations teams to test and monitor users with unprecedented speed, scale, precision and visibility. The innovative product set streamlines test creation, automates provisioning and execution, ...
Founded in 1997, ActiveState is a global leader providing software application development and management solutions. The Company's products include: Stackato, a commercially supported Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that harnesses open source technologies such as Cloud Foundry and Docker; dynamic language distributions ActivePerl, ActivePython and ActiveTcl; and developer tools such as the popular Komodo Edit and Komodo IDE. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, ActiveState is trusted by customers and partners worldwide, across many industries including telecommunications, aerospace, software, fina...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ElasticBox is holding a Hackathon at DevOps Summit, November 6 from 12 pm -4 pm at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. You can enter as an individual or team of up to 10 developers. A New Star Is Born Every Month! All completed ElasticBoxes will then be sent to a judging panel - 12 winners will be featured on the ElasticBox website in 2015. All entrants will receive five full enterprise licenses for one year + ElasticBox headphones + ElasticBox T-shirt. Winners can also choose to interview with ElasticBox to join one of the fastest growi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calm.io has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calm.io is a cloud orchestration platform for AWS, vCenter, OpenStack, or bare metal, that runs your CL tools puppet, Chef, shell, git, Jenkins, nagios, and will soon support New Relic and Docker. It can run hosted, or on premise and provides VM automation / expiry, self-service portals, audit, approvals, and budgeting.
Blue Box has closed a $10 million Series B financing. The round was led by a strategic investor and included participation from prior investors including Voyager Capital and Founders Collective, as well as the Blue Box executive team. This round follows a $4.3 million Series A closed in December of 2012 and led by Voyager Capital. In May of this year, the company announced general availability of its private cloud as a service offering, Blue Box Cloud. Since that release, the company has demonstrated market validation through customer adoption, positive reviews from industry analysts and k...
The speed of product development has increased massively in the past 10 years. At the same time our formal secure development and SDL methodologies have fallen behind. This forces product developers to choose between rapid release times and security. In his session at DevOps Summit, Michael Murray, Director of Cyber Security Consulting and Assessment at GE Healthcare, will examine the problems and present some solutions for moving security in to the DevOps lifecycle to ensure that we get fast AND secure.