I have spent the past few weeks playing with and learning Tasktop Technologies latest product offering Tasktop Sync Gateway . I have to say am I really impressed with the product so far, as it solves many of the final yard problems I encounter when working with organisations implementing Agile and Lean Software transformations by enabling the flow, collaboration, visibility and governance across their different tool sets.
The problem most organisations encounter is how do they successfully scale out DevOps across the entire estate. It’s one thing implementing a Devops environment including Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, Automated Testing, Workflow management and traceability on a new project or product. The issues come when you try and apply what you’ve learned and try implement them on projects/products that are in support.
The easiest of these workflows to implement is Defect Unification, probably the most common one of these scenario’s is the Classic HP ALM to JIRA synchronisation. This is the space that, in my opinion, that Tasktop Sync completely dominates.
Most organisations are able to easily and quickly implement this common scenario, experiencing the benefits in hours. I have been able to get an organisation, from an install and a production synchronisation really quickly.
The problems arise when organisations seek to scale out from a simple defect unification pattern and start there journeys to implementing Requirements Traceability, Agile Plan orchestration, Service Desk Escalation and supply chain integrations. The issue here are not due to any limitations in Tasktop Sync, far from it with support 38+ leading applications and backward version capability.
The real challenge often arises from the fact that most of the applications would really on some other external information from secondary sources to keep information as up to date as possible and completely traceable.
Consider this common example, your service desk raises a support ticket from a customer who has identified a defect in your application. This support ticket is synchronised across to your quality assurance team to verify, once verified they may raise a defect within their application, which is then synchronised to your Engineering departments issue tracking system for a developer to work on. The item will need to included in either some Agile or Lean processing system to be worked on. Once scheduled the developer works on the item, makes a code change, submits his change to the source code repository, which then triggers his continuous build and integration cycle, your quality assurance team will need to verify the change as stable by scheduling various QA processes, they will need the build ID, once verified the fix then scheduled for deployment via the continuous deployment process. The customer will need to updated through out this chain as to the progress of the item, your service desk will also need to be aware so they can inform other customers of the resolution and progress should there be a number of tickets raised for the same issue.
This is a simplified workflow of a typical DevOps scenario. Whats often hidden away in the workflow, is that although your organisation may have only used 3-5 Workflow management applications within this typical scenario i.e. ServiceNow, HP ALM, Target Process, JIRA etc. There will be still be a number of smaller interactions required from various other systems. These small scale interactions is exactly where Tasktop Sync Gateway Add-on has been designed for.
What is Tasktop Sync Gateway
Tasktop Gateway exposes the Tasktop integration platform using a modern webhook, REST and JSON based integration layer. It allows DevOps (and other) tools to be connected to the rest of the software lifecycle, creating a DevOps Integration Hub. Integrating DevOps automation with other stakeholders provides collaboration, visibility and traceability across the entire software lifecycle – from business initiative through deployment.
The main reason why I am so excited by this functionality is because it enables keeping the information in your applications up to date, via automation. Consider this example, I have come across literally thousands of times in organisations, keeping version and build numbers of applications up to date in various repositories. The most common workflow most organisations implement is that this is actually somebodies job to go into the an application, for instance HP ALM and manually add a version number to a select list, this is so they can track which version of a build a defect was raised. Wouldn’t be cool if you could update this via some script, and this is where the problems start. What seems a simple script to write now turns into a nightmare when the rest of the organisation starts asking the same information across many applications.
Tasktop Sync Gateway not only enables you to intergrate with Grunt, as there are a number of different popular tools from throughout the typical DevOps stack for instance:
- New Relic
- Compuware APM