|By Jason Bloomberg||
|July 24, 2014 08:26 AM EDT||
Balancing Automation and Human Knowledge Curation
There are many metadata management tools on the market today, including Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Repositories, to name a few. Such tools seek to automate the collection and dissemination of policy-related metadata in hopes of automating policy enforcement – an important part of the automated governance critical to achieving business agility. And yet, such tools have generally fallen short, because they inadequately address the need to support policies that apply primarily to human behavior.
In contrast, there are many tools on the market that focus primarily on supporting human collaboration and communication, either across an organization or specific to particular teams, processes, or tasks. Such tools include portals like Microsoft SharePoint, groupware of various sorts (email, wikis, and the like), and more focused tools such as Portfolio Management or Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) products.
When it comes to driving business agility across the organization, however, such human communication and collaboration tools have also fallen short, as they generally require an onerous amount of configuration and management from people who have scant time or attention to devote to such dull activities. This limitation leads to bloated repositories full of unsearchable documents, or email inboxes with thousands of messages, or knowledge management systems that contain information that is so out of date and incomplete that people refuse to spend any time updating them, thus defeating their purpose entirely.
ITinvolve has largely solved this combination of problems with their aptly-named Agility Manager. Agility Manager can be thought of as a next-generation knowledge management application that combines automated metadata collection and policy enforcement with broad human curation capabilities, balancing the need for automated governance and support for human activities within software development teams or more broadly across the organization.
Agility Manager also adds a set of objects to aid in projects including business goal, release, and iteration objects, as well as project planning functionality like Gantt charting and Kanban boards, as shown in the figure below. Furthermore, data need not physically reside in ITinvolve but can be federated so the object relationships are in ITinvolve but the full data set lives in a third-party source, for example, a pdf-formatted policy document on a file share or detailed functional requirements in Atlassian JIRA or Rally Software’s ALM platform.
Furthermore, the entire ITinvolve suite of applications (Agility Manager plus some value-added extensions) are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications built on the Salesforce1 Platform. This platform choice gives ITinvolve customers pay-as-you-go, per-user pricing that simplifies onboarding and ramping up, as well as the scalability and integration support you’d expect from Salesforce.
The ITinvolve Agile Architecture Story
Architecting for business agility in the enterprise requires far more than the proper application of architectural practices to Agile development projects. In fact, it requires a complete rethink of what it means to architect an organization. Business agility is a property of the organization as a whole, which means that the enterprise must be treated as a Complex Adaptive System, where business agility is an emergent property of the system.
Such Complex Systems are actually systems of systems; in the case of an organization, the component systems are technology systems and people. The challenge of architecting for business agility, therefore, extends beyond architecting the technology. It’s also critical for the organization to architect its people as well.
The way to “architect the people” in the organization is to apply appropriate governance policies and processes that encourage the desired behavior. Excessive or inappropriate governance typically backfires, however, as too many rules and policies can lower morale and productivity. Instead, it’s important to encourage desired behavior via effective incentives, coupled with tools that facilitate the desired behavior, yet make undesirable behavior difficult. To this end, ITinvolve empowers people so that they are willing and even desirous to adapt their behavior. ITinvolve helps people facilitate their work by giving them the information and analysis they require, and enabling collaboration with other relevant team members (even ones they may not know about).
Giving people better tools and rewarding them with free food or cash bonuses is only part of the story. In order to achieve the business agility goals of the organization, this human governance must be seamlessly integrated with the automated governance of technology. In other words, technology must support the desired human behavior by providing the right tools, but people must also be able to properly manage and govern the technology in order to support the flexibility necessary for the organization to be agile.
Furthermore, as emergent behavior is inherently unpredictable, it is essential that organizations take an iterative approach to directing human and technology behavior in order to increase the organization’s agility. Each iteration should include a feedback loop that reflects the resulting effects of any policy or tooling change in order to improve results of subsequent iterations.
ITinvolve’s combined automated governance and human curation approach brings together the essential elements of this Agile Architecture story. At its core, the Agility Manager is an application that simplifies and encourages the desired behavior from the teams using the application. It also supports multiple approaches to automating the collection and communication of necessary metadata, as well as the automation of policies.
Instead of discouraging active participation in knowledge collection as standard portals and knowledge management tools do, ITinvolve empowers people to share their knowledge, as shown in the figure below. This approach facilitates cross-team collaboration on projects and decisions by supporting more effective risk management using current and accurate information. As a result, people can get their jobs done and make better decisions by fully understanding the various dependencies among requirements, policies, applications, and other elements of their work environment.
ITinvolve also brings together and integrates varied data sources, including documents on portals, metadata in asset management tools and CMDBs, automation scripts and recipes, and other information that would otherwise be scattered about the organization or locked up in the heads of key personnel. This “tribal knowledge” of each expert in the enterprise is a critical asset that is always at risk of being lost, either through people leaving the organization, or simply forgetting the details over time.
Not only does ITinvolve facilitate the collection and dissemination of such tribal knowledge, but the application also supports the continuous review of such information by other experts in the organization. The result is an iterative, continuous-feedback approach to ongoing improvement of the information that ITinvolve manages. In fact, by bringing various individuals together from across different departments within the organization, ITinvolve supports flexible collaboration across the enterprise. Such cross-silo collaboration is critical for Agile projects, DevOps, and other initiatives that drive greater agility in the enterprise.
The Intellyx Take
One area where Agile development methodologies and the Agile Architecture approach to treating the organization as a Complex Adaptive System overlap is with the focus on self-organizing teams. Top-down approaches to creating teams – essentially, managers formally assigning roles to individuals – limit the flexibility of the team and thus impact the agility of the organization. Allowing teams to organize themselves addresses this issue.
And yet, as teams expand beyond a handful of people, especially when such teams are cross-functional and involve a variety of people in different roles, then self-organization can potentially begin to break down. The challenge isn’t necessarily the competency of the individuals involved, but rather their ability to communicate effectively and maintain coherent, up-to-date tribal knowledge, even as the team’s personnel might change or their tasks may evolve.
Solving this challenge is central to ITinvolve’s value proposition, because it both facilitates and supports the self-organization so critical to Agile teams, while at the same time addressing the communication and knowledge management challenges endemic to cross-functional teams. As a result, ITinvolve fosters a self-regulating system that provides greater transparency to all team members and management alike, as well as automated constraints on the behavior of associated technology assets, in such a way that facilitates the iterative feedback loop essential to driving agility long-term in large organizations.
ITinvolve is an Intellyx client. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this post.
There's a real buzz about microservices and containers in the application development and DevOps communities, and of course these are topics we've been talking about a great deal lately here at XebiaLabs too. Microservices and containers offer many attractive features, not least the potential for enhanced flexibility, and a robust architecture based on best-fit services. What we at XebiaLabs are really interested in is how organizations can effectively deliver microservices-based apps to bett...
Apr. 18, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,886
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vicom Computer Services, Inc., a provider of technology and service solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. They are located at booth #427. Vicom Computer Services, Inc. is a progressive leader in the technology industry for over 30 years. Headquartered in the NY Metropolitan area. Vicom provides products and services based on today’s requirements...
Apr. 18, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,342
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tufin, the market-leading provider of Security Policy Orchestration Solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As the market leader of Security Policy Orchestration, Tufin automates and accelerates network configuration changes while maintaining security and compliance. Tufin's award-winning Orchestration Suite™ gives IT organizations the power and a...
Apr. 18, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,223
Today, the demand for new applications is growing at an unprecedented rate throughout lines of business and across industries. Customer expectations for mobile and e-commerce capabilities are transforming software development speed and quality into a competitive differentiator for even the most unlikely businesses. For existing software development shops, the proliferation of platforms, increasing need for total global uptime, and accelerating pace of industry disruption by fast-paced startups h...
Apr. 18, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,156
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides private all-in-one social intranets allowing workers to securely collaborate from anywhere in the world and from any device. Social, mobile, and eas...
Apr. 18, 2015 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,516
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudian, Inc., is a Foster City, California - based software company specializing in cloud storage software. The main product is Cloudian, an Amazon S3-compliant cloud object storage platform, the bedrock of cloud computing systems, that enables c...
Apr. 18, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,281
Change becomes the central principle of today’s enterprises, and thus business agility becomes the most important characteristic our organizations must exhibit. Agile Architecture lays out a best practice approach for achieving this agility – and thus drives and coordinates the other revolutions, as both digital and DevOps are about being able to deal with change better as well.
Apr. 18, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,270
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...
Apr. 18, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,051
What exactly is a cognitive application? In her session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ashley Hathaway, Product Manager at IBM Watson, will look at the services being offered by the IBM Watson Developer Cloud and what that means for developers and Big Data. She'll explore how IBM Watson and its partnerships will continue to grow and help define what it means to be a cognitive service, as well as take a look at the offerings on Bluemix. She will also check out how Watson and the Alchemy API team up to off...
Apr. 18, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,417
Thought experiment: let’s say your app gets a message from somewhere, perhaps from another app, but you don’t know from where. The message contains the number 47 but no other information. What should your app do with the message? The answer: nothing. There’s no way for your app to make any sense out of a single datum with no context, no additional information or metadata about the datum itself. Now, let’s scale up this thought experiment to a data lake. There are a few common definitions o...
Apr. 18, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,651
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
Apr. 18, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,988
The concept and subsequent adoption of 'Containerization'' is growing at a rapid speed with the support of almost every other major player in the industry. This concept is much more efficient than the Virtualization which has been a major option for Infrastructure optimization in the past decade. The following factors distinguish a Container from a Virtual Machine. Containers contain Only the Application Specific libraries and binaries. They do not include a guest operating system. Rather ...
Apr. 18, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,235
How do you securely enable access to your applications in AWS without exposing any attack surfaces? The answer is usually very complicated because application environments morph over time in response to growing requirements from your employee base, your partners and your customers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Haseeb Budhani, CEO and Co-founder of Soha, will share five common approaches that DevOps teams follow to secure access to applications deployed in AWS, Azure, etc., and the frict...
Apr. 18, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,369
As we recently previewed (read more about our London PoP in Jesse's post), Blue Box is opening a new Data Center in London, but hadn't announced the provider. Today we're excited to partner with TelecityGroup, whom we've selected as our data center partner in London. We chose their Powergate location, which is one of the U.K.'s most advanced, flexible and energy efficient carrier-neutral data centres. Why does that matter to you? Well, when customers choose Blue Box, they're trusting us with ...
Apr. 18, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,072
Cloud Expo New York is happening from June 9 - 11. This event brings together the worlds of Cloud Computing, DevOps, IoT, WebRTC, Big Data and SDDC. We hope to see you there-members of the Blue Box team will exhibit in booth 218 next to the DevOps area. Plus, our Chief Product Officer, Hernan Alvarez, will present his talk "The Cloud Has a Down-and-Dirty Lining" as part of the Operations track in the DevOps Summit portion of the event on June 9 at 11 am. Learn more about his session her...
Apr. 18, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,216
SYS-CON Events announced today that Column Technologies, a global technology solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1998, Column Technologies is a leader in application performance and infrastructure management for commercial and federal markets. The company is headquartered in the United States, with a diverse and talented team of more than 350 employees around th...
Apr. 18, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,513
Financial services organizations were among the earliest enterprise adopters of cloud computing. The ability to leverage massive compute, storage and networking resources via RESTful APIs and automated tools like Chef and Puppet made it possible for their high-horsepower IT users to develop a whole new array of applications. Companies like Wells Fargo, Fidelity and BBVA are visible, vocal and engaged supporters of the OpenStack community, running production clouds for applications ranging from d...
Apr. 18, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,033
Operationalizing the network continues to be a driving force behind DevOps and SDN. The ability to solve real problems using programmability to automate and orchestrate infrastructure provisioning and configuration across the application release process remains the hope for many interested in one or the other - and often times both. A recent Avaya sponsored, Dynamic Markets survey (reg required) dove deep into the demesne of SDN and found that many of the problems companies have - and expect ...
Apr. 18, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,230
We just finished the first O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference and the overwhelming most popular topic was microservices. Why all the hype about an architectural style? Microservices are the first post-DevOps revolution architecture. The DevOps revolution highlighted how much inadvertent friction an outdated operations mindset can cause, starting the move towards automating away manual tasks.
Apr. 18, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,285
SYS-CON Media announced today that Blue Box as launched a popular blog feed on Cloud Computing Journal. Cloud Computing Journal aims to help open the eyes of Enterprise IT professionals to the economics and strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Blue Box Cloud gives you unequaled agility, without the burden of designing, deploying and managing your own infrastructure. It’s the right choice when public cloud just won’t do. Blue Box Cloud is a managed Private Cloud as a Service (...
Apr. 18, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,250