2011 Conference Abstracts
Please note that audio and full transcription of talks is included below.
Kevin Parker - "The butterfly effect - how changes in application development impact on overall IT management"
Application development is at the heart of many businesses - for companies that develop their own applications, getting updates out to the business faster is a necessary part of being competitive. How the various processes involved with application development and delivery are managed can therefore have an impact on the success of the organisation as a whole.
New development methodologies like scrum, agile and kanban are being taken up by developers in response to increases in business demand for applications. Instead of traditional approaches, these methods focus on continuous improvement and helping developers to be more productive. While this benefits the developers, it can have unforeseen consequences for other parts of the application delivery chain.
The biggest examples of this are around change management and release management. Agile development tends to lead to an increased number of releases and updates, rather than the traditional big release cycle. As this number of individual changes that a development team creates goes up, this means that the volume of releases that has to be delivered out to the business increases as well.
This session will cover the consequences of development method choices, how to make the most of these approaches and where areas like release management, demand management and change management are affected.
Vincent Partington - "Implementing continuous deployment: seamless application deliveries with a DevOps mindset"
Continuous deployment is the next 'Great Leap Forward' in the software production process.
In the current development landscape, many changes are delivered on a frequent basis. The adoption of Agile and Cloud based technologies forces organizations to rethink the way they organize their application deployments. The only way to realize seamless application delivery in a scalable way is to leave the manual and semi-scripted approaches behind and embrace Deployment Automation. Sitting at the DevOps boundary, this presents a number of unique technical and process challenges.
In this session, we will discuss:
- the importance of choosing the right format and content for your deployment packages
- how the construction of the package can be automated and brought in line with release management
- how to enable DevOps to deploy and verify without having to become middleware experts
- how to tackle the environment-specific customizations that are always required
- how access controls can allow DevOps to continuously deploy to Test, Acceptance and Production environments
We'll also sketch upcoming trends in the deployment landscape, including the future of transitioning applications from development to test to production environments in a world of clouds and virtual appliances.
Dennis Shields - "Service & Configuration Management in an Ever Changing Environment"
Business steeped in tradition has had a relatively short time to adapt to IT - a combination of science and technology that is forever changing, always moving toward more advanced and efficient processes.
IT practitioners owe it to themselves and executives to educate and raise awareness of what the work involves at the interface. Dennis Shields provides a practitioner's view by analyzing fragments from his work over the years.
This will hopefully provide a glimpse of what it is like to be at the sharp end of a medium sized organisation's data and voice network. Some may think this is a purely technical role but in fact this process involves more management skills than first meets the eye. The loss of service affects both staff and customers and may cause the company loss of revenue and damage to the corporate image.
It is not enough to be a specialist in one's field but also good at people management. Not only projects but each call-out requires co-ordinating several personnel and functions including: servers, datacomms, databases, developers, power plant, air-conditioning, builders, cabling companies, contractors as well as other organisations. Add to this partnerships, interoperability and multi-agency working and you have an interesting and challenging mix.
Paul Stiles - "A proven, real world approach to Application and Service Management automation"
Automation plays a key part in successful Application and Service Management solutions. With many aspects to consider ranging from technical integration constraints to multi-tenancy and now new opportunities such as social networking and the cloud, designing and implementing adaptable, scalable automation isn't easy - especially at a cost that justifies the effort and delivers real business value.
We look at how CA Technologies uses it's ITIL based modeling approach when designing, planning and implementing large scale automation solutions for major customers around the world.
Implementing automation capabilities in large Enterprises, outsourced organizations and high security environments adds additional complexity. Taking a "top down" design approach and using "bottom up" construction techniques, the use of abstraction layers, metadata techniques translation tools in additional to web technologies is crucial.
Designing in supportability, extensibility and scalability of automation solutions can too often be left to chance, and key automation and integration points can be easily challenged, simply because of small process changes, minor upgrades or new compliance needs. How do we avoid that?
We look at the value of the Service Catalog throughout the Application and Service Management life cycle and consider how automation can itself be viewed as a service from service design through to decommissioning.
Julian Simpson - "Understand sources of Developer-Operations conflict and some solutions"
We all know that some teams don't get on. But what causes this disconnect, and how do you get around it? This session discusses the phenomenon, and what you can do about it.
In this presentation you will learn real-world patterns for getting your application live in production, without fist-fights. Your development and operations people need to work together as a team to achieve this. But how do they work together as a team with different incentives, tools and beliefs? Julian has spent most of his career in either or both of the the two groups. He will present some of the best and most practical patterns for developer-operations collaboration.
A full transcript of the talk is available below or here (new page)
Deborah Pitt - "From Zero to Hero, 16 Months of Our CMDB Journey"
Although Land Registry had some assets recorded, there was no systematic attempt to record all assets, or the relationships that define a CMDB. The decision to go for ISO20000, gave new impetus to the need for a 'proper' CMDB. An ex-techie was appointed to bring order out of chaos. There was a lot of scepticism at the beginning, and even until fairly recently, that we would have anything useful in place. The initial scope changed a few times, and some objectives were extended as they were reached.
Sixteen months on, we have data on most of our hardware, services mapped to the hardware CIs, and most of the division are using the CMDB. Configuration and change management are working to integrate the disciplines and expand out into release and incident management. People have been cajoled, and persuaded into seeing the benefits of a CMDB. From being written off, it is now developing a life of its own. Senior managers are championing the CMDB, and teams are approaching us to add in their data. Some things didn't go as planned, and we still have areas to improve on, but the will to use it is greater than it has ever been.
John Abram - "Social network systems enable standard Agile project implementation tasks to be defined and shared across a designated community"
With reference to several €1m+ Agile led Content Management System implementations, the presentation shall demonstrate a) how the connection via a single social network system ensured all unstructured project experience was captured and transformed into structured knowledge, and b) how such standardised Agile project implementation tasks are defined, shared and enhanced to improve commercial and operational efficiency.
Agile standardised work-packs: Traditional plan-based project methodology limits the design and documentation of functional requirements, therefore transfers of knowledge across projects within the same technology domain, is rare. Agile allows unique business objectives to be transformed via Epics and Stories into small, highly focused tasks that typically take no more than 4 hours. From these it is possible to generate very generic tasks, which collectively create standardised work-packs. These standardised Agile project work-packs consist of project estimates, work instructions and links to other forms of unstructured, but highly valuable information, ensuring project risk and planning efforts are dramatically reduced.
The role of social network systems: A social network is a collaborative group of organisations or project teams, who are connected by common interests and goals. Similar to the way social networks have become part of our personal lives, this paper seeks to demonstrate that social network systems can also be used within certain business segments. Where there is a willingness to contribute and collaborate, the social network system can provide the ideal trading platform for the Agile standardised work-packs introduced above. Projects and organisations characterised by an open-minded philosophy, such as open source users, are typically most receptive to this approach.
Julian Wilson - "Maintaining customer support when Transitioning Services from the Service Catalogue to Operation"
This session aims to show that the use of customer friendly service catalogue naming conventions can provide a basis for improving communication between IT and the business. This is achieved because Incidents, Problems and Changes are all recorded against business services, owned by business staff supported by IT.
Services have to be easily identifiable to be owned by the business, and the Service Catalogue allows this. Service Level Agreements consolidate what the business processes are, who owns them in the business and who supports them in IS.
Incidents, Problems and Changes must always reference these Services in order to provide clarity to the business on what events are affecting them, both operationally and in terms of providing resource to analyze and test solutions and train staff in agreed changes.
Changing Services is greatly supported when configuration management, change management, release management, service validation and testing and knowledge management reference identifiable services through the transition stage. Communicating to the business and operational teams is similarly enhanced when everyone is in agreement as to what is being changed
Kalyan C Thatavarti - "Release go-live day Preparation: A light weighted framework to ensure smooth release "
The presentation walkthrough focuses on importance of release go live day, Release Warm-up process, release Readiness criteria, Installation procedure, Business Readiness Test, Rollback strategy, escalation points, command and control, Postmortem of the release, improvements in a scheduled release. Emphasis is on tracking and maintaining the entire configuration Items and time taken to install in production environment to better estimate the risk and planning for upcoming releases.
Nowadays IT software release go live day preparation is becoming more important in many organizations that leverage IT as service. This is due to frequency of releases and limited availability of the installation window for growing day to day business needs. The purpose of this project is to explain the importance for software release go-live day preparation and to put the process in place to plan, monitor and control a scheduled release. The process framework is laid based on the study and analysis of field data of the IT software releases in top investment banks. The process is applied using Plan-Do-Check-Act, an iterative four-step problem-solving process typically used in process improvement on major releases across the bank. The aim of this paper is to establish an up to date over view of existing knowledge to benefit practice and future research. We show that some of the proposed benefits are realistic but that further research and improvements are needed to get the full potential value.
Brian Scott - "Man in the Middle: Delivering a CMS/CMDB using Development Configuration Management"
This session will explore lessons learnt delivering a CMS/CMDB as part of a large system/application service delivery where traditional Application and Software Configuration Management was used throughout. It covers how using the CIs, Assets and Naming from the development project helps to define the CMDB for Operations and also how maintaining and integrating both systems enhances the operations lifecycle.
So, I know ITIL processes and tools and I have to deliver these as a Service to manage a big system that is being delivered as a Managed Service. But it's a greenfield site and the entire project team have heard nasty rumours about ITIL and basically they deliver using the tried and tested design, build, test and run method.
But as I work through the architecture, micro design and then start building and packaging my CMS on various platforms I realise that it's still under config control and most of what I am doing is ITIL – I just substitute the word Service for System – could it be that easy?
Ian Johnston - "Bridging the DevOps gap: A standard for application events"
How can we prepare the operational organisation for multiple changes and ensure the customer service is maintained? This presentation introduces a standard for application events, and how this can be used to create single-truth tube-map designs shared by development and operation support groups. A working model that application developers can add detailed message flows and the application events for operations consumption. Maintaining the design integrity throughout the development lifecycle through testing and integration quality gates. This standard-based approach allows Service managers working with the Release Managers and technical management automate the event processing. Creating a basis for a common set of operational support procedures to measure Continual Service Improvement.
Typical software CIs include version and other attributes but is there scope to extend this to include auto-discovery features, metrics and business processes and E2E transactions labels using these shared application capabilities?
Simon Fisher - "Open Services for Data Interchange and Collaboration Across the Lifecycle of Software Development"
This session will introduce the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) specification and illustrate how it can be used by suppliers and system users. OSLC takes the data integration activity beyond the use of proprietary Application Programming Interfaces and introduces the concept of a standard for data collaboration. The presentation will show how the use of OSLC can make the creation of data interchange interfaces and data presentation interfaces easier to write, more robust and easier to adapt and extend. This session will demonstrate the use of OSLC within a custom Java application that extracts data from multiple sources and presents it in a simple format for use. At the end of this session participants will have an understanding of the main objectives and principles of OSLC and how it can be used to ensure that data integrations are formed from reliable standards based collaboration structures.
"Panel session with speakers from the sessions"
A chance to review and wrap up the day, and also address issues to be addressed at future events.