Today’s enterprise developers are working in highly complex environments, especially those working in large organizations or startups that have scaled. How they deploy code is changing as their organizations move from data centers to IaaS, containers and microservices.  And because their products are more sophisticated than they once were, so are their planning and product management tools.  Developers who are working in regulated industries or building products subject to regulation must also keep compliance in mind.  When all of those tasks are executed in a disconnected fashion, it’s much harder to drive business value.

“We’ve shifted away from a simplistic world in which developers wrote code and then hit a run or deploy button.  Now there’s this sophisticated thing called a value stream,” said Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop.  “A value stream is really the end-to-end flow of business value, a new feature or an entirely new application that you want to deliver to your customer.  It also involves a shortened feedback loop that tells you what’s working and what’s not, faster.”

Many of today’s developers are grappling with burden of disconnected systems.  In order to understand what they should be working on, they have to check three or four different tools, which makes prioritization difficult.  If they don’t have feedback about where their application is failing or what’s causing the most performance problems, they have to wade through tickets and support cases that are being generated.  

“Development has become so specialized, each role on the team has its own set of tools.  The disconnects among them are getting in the way of what developers do best, which is creating solutions and delivering them,” said Kersten.  “That’s the number one bottleneck impeding software delivery scaling and what we focus on at Tasktop.”

Build a Value Stream
Software teams have to orchestrate the information collected and generated by their tools.  They also need the ability to collaborate regardless of the tools they’re using.  Tasktop’s value stream integration technology is capable of connecting any tool, any process and any set of stakeholders in a value chain so it’s clear how business ideas fit into Agile product management, requirements, development, testing the support desk, and security.

“Tasktop Integration Hub enables better feedback loops and collaboration among the various stakeholders.  Everybody is connected,” said Kersten.  “If a defect is reported, it is instantly triaged by the security team and then routed to the developer’s backlog so it can be scheduled for the next release, which is connected to the right application requirements.”

As tool categories continue to become more fragmented, Tasktop is able to connect them into the expanding value stream ecosystem.

How Tasktop Benefits Developers
Developers building applications in Visual Studio or TFS can connect to the service desk, build tools, Java developers using different development tools, and others while enjoying the great experience Visual Studio 2017 provides.

“Every one of those third-party tools is able to connect into your TFS backlog and security.  You can also collaborate in real time, from within Visual Studio with developers using a tools like Jira,” said Kersten.  “We connect a developer, a team, or development organization to all the third-party tools that are part of the modern value stream.”

Visual Studio acts as the front end of all of that, linking code and all development activities with Tasktop’s help.  So, for example, if a security vulnerability is reported on a service ticket, the developer can comment on it from within Visual Studio.

Leadership Should Focus on the Value Chain
IT leaders, development managers and entire organizations need to start thinking about the value chain first.  While more companies are using Agile and DevOps to compete more effectively, they have to look beyond development and operations so they can include upstream activities.

“If a developer is waiting for a mobile app wireframe, it doesn’t matter how much you automate deployment, because your bottleneck is further upstream,” said Kersten.  “Take a look at your end-to-end stack and make sure all of that is connected because you can do that now.”

For example, Nationwide and Bank of America have embraced the value chain concept, although the transformations have begun in slightly different phases throughout those organizations, depending on the maturity of the software teams. Regardless of where they started – deploying Agile planning tools, automating the continuous integration and continuous delivery pipelines, or automating testing, each of those organizations has succeeded in enabling a value stream that is capable of delivering business value more effectively.

“Tasktop has enabled the largest and most interesting Agile and DevOps transformations on the planet by providing an integrated and visible value stream,” ‘said Kersten.  “We’re able to connect up tools like Selenium, Agile Central, and Quality Center – whatever tools comprise your value chain.”

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