tel aviv

Postcard from Tel Aviv

It is incredible how taking time out can put things in perspective. Not just for personal life, but also in professional life.

Cruising at 12,500 meters on an almost 5 hour flight gives you time to see the world from high above. I am a window seat flyer and keep peering out of the window (a very cool window on the 787 that can be partially “dimmed”). You look out and see all the highs and the lows of the contours of the land passing by. We need to do that too in professional life, even in project life. We have a tendency to get on with things and just ensure we deliver what we set out to do.

With all being focussed on the delivery we might miss the signs of upcoming dangers. Even with the best radar to avoid thunderstorms (and those are pretty obvious to spot) there is also turbulence that you can’t (yet) predict. So take a step out and see where you are heading, make sure you are protected or at least prepared for turbulence.

Some might hate these metaphors but they serve a purpose. We can tell others of turbulence ahead but if they don’t see it you will still not be able to avoid it. So this trip is one where we have visited the R&D labs of HPE, now Micro Focus. A lot of changes have taken place over the last 12-18 months from an organisation point of view but also from a tooling point of view.

Both these are important to us all. The old HPE suite of application development management tools have always been the Rolls Royce of the industry and I can tell you now that Rolls Royce is changing. In this post I will lift you high enough to understand what is coming towards you. And remember about that “predicting invisible turbulence” well even that is slowly coming into view!

The theme was DevOps and all the tools within that chain. The Micro Focus flagship application to this is ALM Octane which has been developed over the last 12 months into an excellent tool. We saw some industry unique features but also got a sneak preview of the things that they are working on now to make the tool even more powerful.

It was also enlightening to hear the struggles that come with moving HPE R&D into a DevOps process. Using tools only gets you so far and a lot of the issues do depend on the culture shift, which subscribes to the point of view of our own DevOps practice experiences.

The DevOps stories are aimed at continuous integration and continuous deployment, but we also need to look at this with Continuous Quality Assurance in mind and how we connect all the various results together in a single source of truth and being able to make strategic decisions prior to delivering features.

The journey they had to go to DevOps has been a turbulent one, and they are still learning, which is great to hear as changing into DevOps with just tools is a big task but small in comparison with the task of culture change. There is lot of choice in the tools both open source and enterprise but using the right tools within your organisation processes and culture can make a world of difference in implementation of DevOps. But critically you never complete in DevOps, as you continuously need to review where you are within DevOps and that includes tools too, flexible use of tools will bring about a flexible organisation.

Of course the other topic over the past 3 days has been the merger of HPE and Micro Focus. It is exciting to see that they have completed the merger in the beginning of September and the immediate focus is not on making sure the tools all now look like Micro Focus blue, instead the focus is on the integration of each other’s products into a coherent portfolio and widen the integration with loads of third party tooling.

One of the reasons the new Micro Focus portfolio will become a great success is that the R&D teams in Israel still have the Mercury Interactive spirit and mentality, and have created some of the best tools in the testing industry.

Looking at the other aspects of the Micro Focus cosmos and you can see a tool chain that fits all aspects of development and can be applied to so many different organisations. Even if one particular tool is in your interest, nowadays these tools can talk to each other and share information. On a separate note we are working on various methods analysing those different sets of data including cognitive approaches! More on this soon in another blog post. For now let’s stay at 12,000 meters and leave the “out of this world earth orbit level” for another time.

Now I am a tooling expert and enthusiast and of course there are other tools on the market, so it is important to lift the project or organisational vision to higher level to see what fits best within your organisation. Our experts can look at all the thunderstorms and turbulence in the organisation and the industry and build you those tool landscapes that fit your organisation and prepare it for the journey ahead.

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  • Marco Venzelaar
    Marco Venzelaar
    Managing Consultant & Lead Technologist, Sogeti UK
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