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DevOps Continuous Delivery Architecture (CDA) – Should I get Certified?

A Continuous Delivery Architect (CDA) is a tool-agnostic individual engaged in the design, implementation and management of DevOps deployment pipelines and tool chains that support Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Continuous Testing and, potentially, Continuous Deployment. A continuous delivery architect is also involved in defining or integrating underpinning processes, metrics, APIs and cultural considerations. Getting CDA certified prepares any IT professional engaged in the Continuous Delivery value stream . Not only will they know what to expect but could save a lot of time, money and effort to expedite the systems required to deliver. While earning a CDA Certification is a great compliment to the DevOps Foundation Certification , you might also find that it can help boost your career or prepare you for very needed positions coming up. The information and perspectives that one gains from shared experiences and class discussions is invaluable. Sometimes it is jus

DevOps Leader

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." Peter Drucker “Every company wants to behave like a software company.” Sanjay Mirchandani As the business environment continues to evolve and change, an adoption of a digital-first mindset is taking place in boardrooms across the globe. Today’s organizations face a never-ending torrent of change from the dynamics of global economics and competition, to the ever more rapid advancements in technology. These can be perceived as both an opportunity and a threat. The ability to adapt and innovate rapidly in this environment has become a core organizational competency. A leader is needed to bring about this change. Adoption of DevOps can bring about those needed changes that allow an organization to remain competitive in today’s market space. A successful DevOps transformation begins with a value stream map which can allow us to see a time diagnostic of our delivery lifecycle. This flow-based representation gives us an end to end

ITIL® 4 is Coming. ITIL Practitioner Provides a Sneak Peak.

AXELOS® is currently working on ITIL 4 , a community and industry-led initiative. A key finding from ongoing research is that ITIL is still widely adopted and used. So too are practices such as Agile (including Agile Service Management ), Lean and DevOps . These practices don’t make ITIL irrelevant. The ‘what’ and ‘why’ of ITIL – such as the need to focus on value and design for customer experience – continue to be relevant.  ITIL 4 also keeps many of the core practices and processes found in ITIL V3/2011 intact. It’s the ‘how’ that needs to be adapted as organizations learn and benefit from these modern practices. ITIL Practitioner introduces guiding principles that embrace the ‘essence’ of ITSM and Agile and Lean and DevOps. These guiding principles – which will be carried forward into ITIL 4 – serve as succinct reminders that modern ITSM requires new ways of thinking and new ways of working.  Numerous books have been written about how Toyota was able to dramatically improve

DevOps - Driving Mainframe Agility

Applying DevOps principles and practices will be needed to ensure the DevOps values for Culture, Automation, Measurement and Sharing (CAMS). As major industries consider how to optimize for 2016, busting out of silos should be at the top of their list. This is true in all areas of service management and includes mainframe systems and applications.  Mainframe application and system development, like all areas of development, face many obstacles that include broken processes, obsolete tools and the common us vs. them mentality. Mainframe systems remain crucial for critical business knowledge and back-end support for customer engagement. What are service providers going to do when the mainframe developers retire or move to other positions? We have seen decades of progress on many platforms but in many cases mainframe code is still managed by siloed teams. Even so, things are moving in the right direction to increase and optimize the value stream for the development, deployment and on

Insights for ITIL “Managing Across the Lifecycle” (MALC) Course

While implementing individual ITIL processes will net some immediate gain, it is the integration of those processes across the service lifecycle that delivers true value. Based on the five core ITIL publications, ITSM Academy's Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) prepares learners to show the world they are ITIL Experts . It pulls together all of the aspects of the service lifecycle; "its stages, processes and best practices", and translates that knowledge into practical workplace skills. This information and certification is great for CIOs, senior IT managers, IT managers, supervisors, IT professionals and IT operations and development professionals who require a business and management level understanding of the ITIL service lifecycle and how it may be implemented to enhance the quality of IT service provision within an organization Get ready... Learner preparation for this course is critical. The class includes access to ITSM Academy's “Learner Po

Orchestration vs. Automation

It is important to understand the difference between orchestration and automation for any DevOps continuous delivery pipeline initiative. We orchestrate processes and we automate the activities within the process. In a recent DevOps Test Engineer (DTE) certification class I learned how to deconstruct the DevOps pipeline. Understanding the constructs of the pipeline and what your test strategies are will prove helpful for both the orchestration and automation of your delivery pipeline. Benefits of that knowledge generate better alignment and cadence with the business demand and greater deployment velocity. Orchestration and automation take advantage of standardization throughout the DevOps pipeline for integrated tools, integrated code, integrated build and integrated test all the way through. The results? Not only can we deliver product faster but that product or service is now delivered into an anti-fragile, secure and stable environment.  Confirmation that the process is repeat

It’s Still All About “The Process”

Organizations adopting DevOps cultures and practices are able to deliver high-quality software faster. This means the business can deliver value to customers faster. You sometimes hear that DevOps and ITSM aren’t compatible.  In a recent ITSM for DevOps workshop an attendee asked whether process is still relevant for digital transformation initiatives in today’s environment.  The answer is emphatically Yes.   Now more than ever before the attention to process is critical.  Whether your company is striving to achieve traction for a cultural shift, for a digital transformation, to create a DevOps pipeline or any other improvement initiative, Process will always be a critical success factor.   Remember we are talking about just enough process. We cannot have over engineered bureaucratic processes. For our purpose here, we will focus high level on some of the process design considerations and mistakes to avoid.   To learn more about what is just enough and how to design or redesign your

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share with you information from our Certified Process Design Engineer (CPDE) class. Roles and Responsibilities : Process Owner – This individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the go-to person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented ( check out our free process design templates !). They also ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance. Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs and deliverables.  An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. The Process Owner

I KAN KANBAN

LEAN Principles LEAN principles originated in Japan with the “Toyota Production System” and have evolved from manufacturing. Tools and techniques for LEAN are rocking the world of Information Technology (LEAN IT). LEAN does not stand alone! There is a DevOps Foundation certification class available that explains how LEAN, AGILE and ITSM dove tail together to optimize a DevOps integrated delivery pipeline. The core idea is to deliver customer value while eliminating waste ( Muda ). The goal is to provide value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste. What About KANBAN? KANBAN is one of many techniques utilized for LEAN practices and results in an increase in productivity and value for individuals and teams. In Japanese the word KAN means visual and the word BAN means board. KANBAN is a visual board that helps teams to visualize work and get more done. If you’re reading this because you are interested in using KANBAN for yourself or your tea

Tips & Resources for Passing a DevOps or Agile Service Management Exam

Learning the principles and practices of DevOps or Agile Service Management or learning how to become an Agile Process Owner are great, but having the credential that validates that you are certified could be a game changer for you in your career path.  There are many certification courses available from the DevOps Campus so be sure to browse through to find those that are best suited for your or your teams career path or job role function.   If you are just getting started there are a lot of free resources available to assist you on that journey. Two free whitepapers that I found helpful were: What is DevOps? - This is an in-depth overview for DevOps with a lot of good information .  It’s a great getting started and study guide. What is Agile Service Management? – Agile Service Management (Agile SM) ensures that ITSM processes reflect Agile values and are designed with “just enough” control and structure in order to effectively and efficiently deliver services that facili

Preparing for Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) and ITIL Expert Certifications

This blog is in response to those IT Professionals who want to know what to expect f or the “ Managing Across the Lifecycle ” (MALC) class, taking the exam and receiving both the MALC and ITIL Expert certifications upon passing the MALC exam.  If you have talked with others that took this class and the exam a few years ago you will be happy to know that the format of this class has changed from what it used to be.  Classes are filled with interesting dialogue, exercises and even laughter as IT managers and practitioners with varied skill sets work together to validate competencies and knowledge for: Key concepts of the service lifecycle Communication and stakeholder management Integrating service management processes across the service lifecycle Managing services across the service lifecycle Governance and organization Measuring and demonstrating business value Implementing and improving service management capability Sounds simple right?  It's the level of detail i

What is a Microservice?

Business requirements are not static.  The rate of dynamic change for new evolving business needs is increasing as you are reading this blog.  The traditional software development practice for building one big honking monolithic program to provision services is not applicable to the explosion of need. This old way of thinking and deploying is not conducive to Agile.   To understand a microservice let’s first start with our traditional view point.  For this purpose, let’s say that you want to build a “Self Service Catalog”.   To make this seemingly complex service less complex let’s break it up into many microservices.   For example; one microservice might be for “Creation of Online Account” another for making a selection from the “Service Catalog”.  One might be to “Select Payment Method” and yet another microservice for “Invoicing” and so on.  These are many microservices or sub-services that will eventually be connected via Application Programming Interfaces. These microservices

Artificial Intelligence - Neural Nets

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the move and the race is on.    In previous years, and for the most part even today, AI has been dominated by the worlds high tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon.  Regardless of where you work or the size of your business, the industry is starving for more information and true knowledge management.  AI goes beyond knowledge management and moves us into knowledge engineering. As found in an  MIT Technology Review article , Microsoft has its own AI-powered cloud platform.  You may have heard of Azure.  This team is joining with Amazon to offer Gluon.  It is an interesting name. I don’t know its origin, but it is essentially an open-source deep-learning library. Gluon is supposed to make building neural nets – a key technology for AI that crudely mimics how the human brain learns – as easy as building a smartphone app. It is no longer just a high-tech game.   With the onslaught of cloud services, any/all service providers (includ

ITSM for DevOps - Development “Divas”

What is your biggest challenge when trying to increase the flow of work through your DevOps or Continuous Delivery Pipeline?   In a recent conversation an IT Director laughingly said that his greatest challenge was that they can not get the development “Divas” to recognize that change approval and compliance requirements are necessary and that it takes time. I chuckled as I thought to myself what those development “Divas” were thinking.   Maybe their thoughts were that those paranoid risk adverse Change and Compliance process people do not understand that we need to get this work to the finish line and we need to go fast.  Sound familiar? This is not an uncommon issue.   The us-vs-them environment, if not corrected, will continue to disrupt IT service delivery and therefore, business performance. We must recognize that DevOps and Continuous Delivery (CD) do not stand alone.   It is not just the tools and automation and, although it is more about culture, it is not just cu

DevOps Testing vs Traditional Testing

Appropriate testing is THE differentiator for high performing IT organizations. What is the Same? Tests need to be classified according to the attributes of the system or the product that is to be tested.  Test types include: Unit Test - This is a method that validates that the code statements satisfy assertions. Static Code Analysis – Testing that checks source code logic and consistency.  Static testing evaluates code against development standards and guidelines. Code execution is not required. Dynamic Analysis – This type of testing might also be referred to as “Functional Testing”. In this type of test, code is executed against positive and negative functional scenarios. Code Coverage – Measures the percentage of relevant lines of code tested. Integration Test – This form of testing will help to determine if code changes work after a code merge.   Integration testing may also be referred to as smoke test, sanity test or build test. Compatibility T

DevOps Test Monitoring Strategy

The combination of continuous monitoring with continuous testing and analytic tools can provide a broader strategic view of test results.  This view is necessary to collect, aggregate and organize test data that enables a gain in confidence for each release.  Key Concepts for Realizing Your Test Monitoring Strategy: Determine continuous test monitoring priorities: Some examples of problems that continuous test monitoring can help with include intermittent failures caused by marginal designs, marginal test designs, environmental condition changes not detected by individual tests, memory leaks, varying starting conditions, interactions with other systems, system topologies and performance degradation within the margin of a test. These can and will accumulate over time. The best practice for continuous monitoring indicates that the problems of most concern to a specific product or DevOps environment will be monitored. Regression test product areas even though there were no expe

DevOps Metrics – Time vs. Cost

There are three main principles that will help to optimize your DevOps initiative.  You may have heard them referred to as The Three Ways . All three of the principles will have a role to play but for the purpose of Time vs. Cost, I would like to focus on the first way which is “The Flow of Work from Left to Right”.  When considering this flow of work think of the value stream from left to right as being from the time the request is made until the time that value is realized. Using LEAN methods and applying techniques like the Theory of Constraints we can increase velocity to apply just the right cadence to meet the evolving business demand.  These practices along with our DevOps integration, Continuous Delivery Pipelines and automation will radically increase the time to value for products and services.  Time is a key metric.  DevOps organizations use “time” as the primary measurement tool.   Why time is a better metric than cost: Time is used to set goals beyon

Flow of Work

Agile Software Development is very well known and practiced in most organizations today in order to respond quickly to the ever increase in demand for IT Services.  Many of these organizations, while making some improvement, are not seeing the outcomes they had expected.  Why is this?   We are applying Lean methods, cycle time is increasing and yet, unplanned work, delays in deployment and unstable production environments remain. Consider the time from idea to delivery as the “ Value Stream ”.  Through this Value Stream, we want to increase the “Flow of Work”.   We will never see the type of optimization that is required unless we look at this Value Stream as a whole.  Applying Agile, Lean, and even tools in development without integrating Change, Security and Operations will break down and decrease the Flow of Work. DevOps helps with this idea.  Many companies, both large and small, are attempting to integrate the development and operations teams.  We have cloud services an

CPDE - Process Design Considerations

S o who should consider becoming a Certified Process Design Engineer (CPDE)?  Well anyone can consider it.  Is your organization engaged in some type of certification, working to reach some optimized level of maturity, trying to improve the processes you already have or create a process to meet some new customer requirement? All of these scenarios would employ the skills of a CPDE. To start with, no matter which framework or standard you are utilizing processes must be: Defined Documented Managed via performance metrics Continually improved  Undertaking this effort is not as simple as it may appear and having a staff member with the necessary skills and capabilities (a CPDE) ensures that clear and measurable improvement targets, along with a process design approach, can and will be carried out.   You first must understand the factors that are triggering a process improvement initiative.  These are just a few factors, but understanding why an initiative is needed is an ex

Xtreme Velocity - Accelerating Change Management

Although Agile, DevOps and automation for Continuous Delivery (CD) techniques are on the rise, service providers are still at risk for not having the necessary velocity to meet demand.  In the same way that we recognize that we can NOT silo our IT teams, we must also recognize that as providers of services we must not silo our processes. ITSM processes, including Event Monitoring, Problem Management, Release and Deployment Management, Test and more, are not going away. The integration of ITSM process must be considered throughout the entire value stream and CD pipeline.  None more so than “Change Management”.  Certainly the need for Change Management is increasing not decreasing. What must go away are over engineered, bureaucratic and outdated process activities.  We must begin to radically rethink the way we incorporate change into the CD pipeline.  Our mission overall is to deliver a “Quality” product or service. Ok then, what is “Quality”?  Quality not only infers that the