I spent last week at IBM's Innovate
conference, covering the Collaborative Development and Operations track. This track, which was jointly sponsored by both Rational and Tivoli, covered the subject of development and operations integration, and was analogous the track we ran at Pulse
2011 in February on Agile Operations.
It was an interesting week. My first observation was that attendance, while it varied from session to session, was higher than at Pulse. Now it's important not to read too much into simple metrics like this, but
perhaps this is a sign that development-operations integration is garning more interest in the development community than in operations. Certainly the Q&A during the sessions seemed to be deeper
than at Pulse: more focus on the how rather than the why.
My second observation is that bridging the development-operations gap in the enterprise is going to throw up a set of unique challenges. We often think of the challenge as being "Agile meets ITIL" and how to balance the conflicting priorities of speed versus stability, but it's much more complex than that. The biggest issue for most organizations
seems to be one of having multiple processes inside development and operations themselves. There's no one set of processes for everything: different groups (apps, divisions, technologies (hello mainframe folks!)) have different tools and process flows. This adds another dimension to the challenge.
was a point of focus for the whole conference, and the extending OSLC session was the most heavily attended, presumably because the subject applies to more than just the collaboration discussion. This same session was presented to the operations audience at Pulse, but this time the presenter had a much harder time of it. Why? Because the
operations audience were satisfied with the why of OSLC, but the developer audience wanted to know the how. Now the way OSLC integration works can be a little foreign to people who have grown up with other integration standards and approaches. The unasked question in the room seemed to be "where's the data model and the shared database?". That not how OSLC works and after a healthy exchange of questions and answers, most people seemed to get it. We'll be hearing a lot more about OSLC as adoption increases.
The final, and perhaps most interesting, session of the week was the open discussion on Thursday morning. We covered a lot of topics, and there was a lot of focus on organization, organizational change, and culture. Again, with a focus on collaboration in mature enterprise environments, there's a lot of learing, testing, failing, and retrying going on. But it's clearly a topic that is gathering interest - and action - rapidly. It will be interesting to see where we are next year.