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DevOps Teams, Enterprise Agile Planning

Tasktop 4.4 Released: Identity and Traceability across the DevOps Pipeline

Published By Mik Kersten
Tasktop 4.4 Released: Identity and Traceability across the DevOps Pipeline

At last week’s DevOps Enterprise Summit we got to hear how industry leaders are transforming the way that software is built.  Most speakers told stories of automating the build, release or continuous delivery pipeline, and the cultural transformation that followed. One talk stood out from all the others because it described a transformation that went way beyond the Dev to Ops bottleneck.  It was Carmen DeArdo’s showcase of Nationwide’s framework for Lean Delivery. 

I’ve worked closely with the world’s largest organizations implementing Agile, Lean and DevOps, and Nationwide is one of the most forward thinking and successful on the planet.  Carmen pointed out that Nationwide initially optimized the middle of the value stream, and the result was that Agile teams were waiting on work to come down from upstream, while delivery slowed to a halt downstream.  He quipped that nobody intentionally sets out to “optimize the middle” and end up with a Water-Scrum-Fall style delivery pipeline which only moves as slow as it’s bookends.  But I could see people across the audience shift uncomfortably, as the image he projected was exactly the problem with the vast majority of DevOps transformations today.  The question becomes how to go beyond the local optimization approach to Agile and DevOps, and to figure out how to “go fast” across the whole value stream.  Carmen made it clear that the focus needs to be not only on optimizing any single stage, but on doing so with a view of the entire value stream, going from business idea to delighted customers.  He then showed how Nationwide is doing this for their 200 Agile teams and 8,000 IT professionals, with Tasktop Sync as the integration hub. 

Our goal at Tasktop is to provide visionaries like Carmen with the infrastructure needed to make Agile, Lean and DevOps transformations succeed in the eyes of both the CIO and of every single practitioner.  With each major release, we have introduced entirely new capabilities for doing that, such as Tasktop Data.  With each minor release, such as today’s Tasktop 4.4, we provide the increasingly critical value stream architects with new functionality and new integrations that span the delivery pipeline. Key highlights of new features for achieving this across our product portfolio are summarized below, with links to more. Please contact us to let us know what what other tools and facilities you’d like to see, or how we can help you succeed in making your vision of a connected software lifecycle a reality. 


   Tasktop Sync 4.4 Highlight: Universal Impersonation Across the DevOps Pipeline

   Our goal at Tasktop is to enable all software practitioners to use the tools that make them the most productive.  This is why our approach to integration infrastructure is so people-centric, and why we continue to add ways to enable real-time collaboration across all of the various tools that make up the delivery pipeline.  Tasktop Sync’s ability to connect and federate comment and activity streams across tools is the backbone to this.  We’ve now extended this with support for Universal Impersonation, which enables you to always know who a comment came from, regardless of the fact that they may not have a user ID in your tool.  Even tools that do not support API-based impersonation now have the originator of the comment or change inserted, ensuring that we provide visibility and communcation across tool siloes no matter what the tool chain.  

See what’s new in Tasktop Sync 4.4 


 Tasktop Data 1.3 Highlight: Traceability Reporting Across Disparate Tools

 Tasktop Data enables you to connect all of your Agile/ADLM/DevOps tools to your existing data warehousing and analytics tools to gain the end-to-end visibility that’s critical to the software lifecycle.  While visibility and metrics are important, we’ve heard our customers’ growing need for cross-tool traceabilty.  This is notoriously difficult to automate in a point-to-point fashion.  We have been able to leverage the relationships that are present in Tasktop’s rich lifecycle domain models, and add support for capturing those relationships in order to create any and all traceabilty reports that you may need.  This capability makes it possible to implement an enterprise-wide Agile or DevOps transformation while ensuring governance and compliance, something not previously possible with a best-of-breed toolchain.  It enables you to, for example, report on the extent to which requirements are covered by testing or on which stories comprise a given feature.  Once you have records about your requirements and your tests with references to themselves and to each other in your database, you can write the appropriate SQL in your reporting or visualization tool to create traceability reports.

See what’s new in Tasktop Data 1.3


 Tasktop Dev 4.4 Highlight: New JIRA Integration 

Atlassian’s JIRA is a very popular end-point for Tasktop Sync and Data customers.  It’s also popular with developers using the Eclipse IDE. Years ago we created the Tasktop Dev and Eclipse Mylyn JIRA integration along with Atlassian, and hosted it on Eclipse under Mylyn.  It has since moved to being hosted by Atlassian, but support for it by Atlassian was ended in June with a shift away from IDEs to focus on Web UI.  We continue to work closely with our colleagues at Atlassian and Atlassian customers, have heard the need for commercial-grade and fully-supported Eclipse integration for JIRA. So today we are releasing enterprise-grade JIRA integration for the Eclipse and Visual Studio IDEs.  This new JIRA connector goes far beyond our Mylyn-based one as it’s built on the Tasktop Platform that Tasktop Sync and Tasktop Data uses, and as such gets all of the rigor and cross-version and cross-product testing of our Integration Factory. And following our traceability story it allows you to get things like changeset linking between JIRA and your SCM, CI and code review tools of choice.  Tasktop Dev 4.4 also supports using JIRA within Microsoft’s Visual Studio.  Contact us if you’re interested in volume pricing for your organization. 

See what’s new in Tasktop Dev 4.4


Tasktop 4.4 Connectors Highlight: Plan your Agile and DevOps Delivery with Planview PPM 

Successful delivery of complex software portfolios requires planning to be connected to production.  Point-to-point and import/export based integrations defeat the purpose of Agile and DevOps by creating a low fidelity and error prone connection layer that often requires manual integration.  Tasktop already provides Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) integration for CA PPM (formerly CA Clarity), HP PPM and ServiceNow PPM.  We are thrilled to provide the same real-time and bidirectional integration for customers using Planview Enterprise, an industry-leading PPM tool.  This will allow you to plan and manage all of your projects in Planview while connecting to delivery and up-to-date actuals in the very broad range of Agile tools already supported by Tasktop.

In addition, support for the our partners’ releases of the following tools have been added to Tasktop 4.4, and are now fully tested around the clock by our Integration Factory:

  • Blueprint: 6.2, 6.3
  • Bugzilla: 5.0
  • CA PPM: 14.2
  • IBM Rational Team Concert: 6.0
  • IBM Rational DOORS NG: 6.0
  • IBM Rational Quality Manager: 6.0
  • Microsoft Team Foundation Server: 2015
  • Rally: 2015.2
  • ThoughtWorks Mingle: 15.1
  • VersionOne: 15.1, 15.2 

For the full list of connectors please visit our integrations page and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or requests!

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Written by Mik Kersten

Dr. Mik Kersten started his career as a Research Scientist at Xerox PARC where he created the first aspect-oriented development environment. He then pioneered the integration of development tools with Agile and DevOps as part of his Computer Science PhD at the University of British Columbia. Founding Tasktop out of that research, Mik has written over one million lines of open source code that are still in use today, and he has brought seven successful open-source and commercial products to market. Mik’s experiences working with some of the largest digital transformations in the world has led him to identify the critical disconnect between business leaders and technologists. Since then, Mik has been working on creating new tools and a new framework - the Flow Framework™ - for connecting software value stream networks and enabling the shift from project to product. Mik lives with his family in Vancouver, Canada, and travels globally, sharing his vision for transforming how software is built, and is the author of Project To Product, a book that helps IT organizations survive and thrive in the Age of Software.