DevOps Playground: Continuous Integration with Blue Ocean

DevOps Playground: Continuous Integration with Blue Ocean

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The Speaker: Matthew Song – https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-song-a16b37142/ 

Cloudbees Jenkins is the most popular open source software orchestration tool on the market due to its wealth of plugins and easy set-up of infrastructure as code. Yet where does one begin using the Jenkinsfile for setting up new project and DevOps pipeline?

Let Blue Ocean take the hassle of setting up a jenkinsfile from scratch by providing an intuitive, modern coat of paint on Jenkins user interface. With its modern design and intuitive features, Blue Ocean is here to facilitate a quick and easy setup of new Jenkins pipeline with minimal hassle.

Following the video below you’ll begin to see how easy it is to set up a new Jenkins maven Job using the Blue Ocean plugin and the intuitive feedback it provides through its modern design.

I’ve also written a step by step guide to help you through it all: https://medium.com/ecs-digital/building-a-ci-pipeline-with-blue-ocean-6bb9b02788eb

If you’re interested in attending more hands on sessions, DevOps Playgrounds are held once a month in four locations:

You can also find all the information and resources you need about DevOps Playground sessions, upcoming events and past events on our website: https://devopsplayground.co.uk

Matthew SongDevOps Playground: Continuous Integration with Blue Ocean
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Five ways Artificial Intelligence is already impacting DevOps

Five ways Artificial Intelligence is already impacting DevOps

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have gained a lot of media attention over the past few years. Many commentators have pointed out how these new technologies are going to create new and interesting developments in a variety of fields – from law to medicine, transportation to education. At ECS Digital, we see AI and ML having a direct and lasting impact on DevOps, and here’s why.

DevOps is a business-driven approach to delivering software, creating an intense collaboration between developer and operations. Whilst human input remains an important cog within the system, DevOps focuses on encouraging businesses to automate repeatable processes to encourage efficiency, reduce variability and improve quality at every stage of the pipeline.

Artificial intelligence vs humans – posted on Targetprocess

 

Emerging AI tools stand to generate even bigger gains. Set to transform how teams develop, deliver, deploy and manage applications, AI and ML perform tasks which would have traditionally required human intelligence. Most notably, these technologies are capable of processing vast amounts of information – picking up the menial tasks and freeing up IT staff to do more targeted work. They can learn patterns, anticipate complications and recommend solutions, all of which fit perfectly within a DevOps culture.

Essentially, AI makes up the technology that integrates into the DevOps systems – affecting both the tools DevOps teams use, and the people who use them.

Here are five ways that AI can work with DevOps to improve software and delivery for the better:

  1. Feedback on Performance

DevOps uses continuous feedback loops at every stage of the process. This involves gathering huge amounts of data in the form of performance metrics, log files and other reports to provide feedback on the operational performance of running applications.

The more advanced monitoring platforms are already applying machine learning to proactively identify problems early in the process and make recommendations. ML in turn is enhancing the continuous feedback loops critical to DevOps by feeding these recommendations straight back to the relevant teams so they can ensure the application service remains viable.

This means you have the 20 highest priority tasks to hand and your AI system can analyse and help pinpoint certain root causes for you to immediately remediate.

  1. Increased Communication

Communication and feedback within teams is one of the biggest challenges when an organisation moves to a DevOps methodology. The sheer amount of information within a company’s systems forces companies to reconsider how teams are interacting with one another, with most businesses setting up a wider variety of channels to set and revise workflows as quickly as possible.

Many of our own team have experienced being blocked by administrative tasks whilst helping clients adopt new technology and ways of working. These tasks often take several weeks to complete, delaying progress in projects and momentum of change. “In these cases, it is advantageous to have access to self-service portals or ChatBots that will help me to orientate in customers’ infrastructure” – Marian Knotek, DevOps Consultant at ECS Digital.

AI systems such as ChatBots are essential to supporting the automated technology that DevOps offers, helping these communication channels become more streamlined and proactive.

  1. Smooth monitoring

To operate efficiently, DevOps teams need to simplify tasks. This is becoming increasingly more difficult as environments become more complex. The sheer volume of data in today’s dynamic and dispersed application environments has made it tricky for DevOps teams to effectively gather and apply information that can help resolve customer issues.

Start with monitoring tools for example, teams tend to use multiple tools that monitor an application’s health and performance in different ways. Extensive amounts of data produced by various platforms and tools are usually aggregated by tools like Splunk’s Artificial Intelligence for IT operations solution harnesses log, application, cloud, network, metric data and more. By automating routine practices, accuracy and speed of issue recognition are increased and operations become streamlined.

 

Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) platform by Splunk

 

In a nutshell, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applications are capable of absorbing multiple data streams to find correlations, possible dependencies and issues in the system, giving the team a more holistic view of the application’s overall health.

  1. Prioritise alerts

Alert systems are fundamental to the DevOps culture of ‘fail fast, fail often’. But when a system has been set to flag inconsistencies and flaws in real-time, these can hit the team thick and fast with no differentiation between the severity of the problem – making it difficult for teams to react.

Machine Learning applications can help teams prioritise their responses. Pulling on data such as past behaviour, the magnitude of the alert and the source, DevOps teams can set up rules which enable machines to manage the influx and assort the data when it begins to overwhelm the system.

  1. Improved customer service

Improving the customer journey and providing a positive customer experience (CX) was ranked as the top strategic priority in a survey of global banking organisations for the 2017 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions Digital Banking Report. For many, understanding how users are interacting with their business and tweaking their software in response to these findings is a significant part of creating an all-round better CX. Businesses are also looking for ways to effectively support a 24/7 always on, internet-based, mobile-accessible consumer environment.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning lend themselves perfectly to this landscape. Not only can they collect and analyse data, they can pre-empt questions that may come up during the customer journey and manage the bulk of enquiries to help ease human resource. ITSM tools such as ServiceNow are capable of fashioning a pattern of events before each previous failure is noted. This results in the creation of a support ticket before the event takes place, moving businesses from a reactive to a predictive approach.

This ability to solve a problem before it arises is a huge benefit, significantly lowering customer abandonment rates in the purchasing cycle. It has also been proven to reduce customer complaints and improve consumer satisfaction.

The Future of AI and DevOps

AI, Machine Learning and DevOps – none of these concepts are leaving the conversation any time soon. All are contributing huge amounts to innovation in the tech space and, whilst they are able to operate effectively on their own, there is an interesting dynamic between the maturity of one and the evolution of the others.

The IT industry right now is already in a very different place than where it was five years ago. Whilst DevOps has repeatedly proven its place, this fast development of IT requires reshaping the cultures and mindsets around how we can get the most out of an already successful tool. Most notably, these new approaches towards automated IT enable shouldn’t be ignored. Enterprises that do not make this adjustment and fail to adapt their DevOps efforts to work with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are going to find themselves left behind.

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ECS Digital is an experienced digital transformation consultancy that helps clients deliver better products faster through the adoption of modern software delivery methods. We help our clients transform at scale through the use of Enablement Pods – combining outcome focused teams and value-add sprints.

Our Pods deliver DevOps, CT, Cloud and engineering capabilities in one team. This means you get process, enablement and nearly two decades of experience on top of the first-rate engineering, tooling and testing you would expect.

It also means you have a team on board that can help implement the technology you need to embrace Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and enable your team in modern tools, technology and ways of working.

Want to know how we can benefit your business? Get in touch.

Andy CuretonFive ways Artificial Intelligence is already impacting DevOps
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DevOps Playground: Hands-on Visual Regression with AyeSpy

DevOps Playground: Hands-on Visual Regression with AyeSpy

The Speaker: Matt Lowry – https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewlowry92/

Do you get frustrated by tools like Selenium where you are testing webpages in ways where it’s not intended?

Are you struggling to reduce the manual overhead of asserting that your site looks visually correct and checking that it has not regressed after implementing new changes? Visual regression testing is one of the lesser known tools in the SDET toolbox, but when implemented properly can be incredibly powerful.

AyeSpy is a new tool that we helped one of our clients News UK create to address some of the issues that existing open source visual regression tools provide. In this video, we will learn what AyeSpy is about and as usual, as this is a hands-on session, we’ll show you how to use AyeSpy to visually test your application on different viewports.

Thank you to everyone who attended. If you want to learn more about the tool, check out my recent blog on how AyeSpy is already delivering an incredible amount of business value to our client The Times.

Interested in attending our next DevOps Playground events. Follow us on Meetup to receive a notification about the next event

Matt LowryDevOps Playground: Hands-on Visual Regression with AyeSpy
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Top 5 AWS Technologies to keep an eye on in 2019

Top 5 AWS Technologies to keep an eye on in 2019

AWS Re:Invent is a learning conference hosted by Amazon Web Services for the global cloud computing community. The event features more than 2,000 technical sessions, a partner expo, after-hours events, training and so much more. It’s the main event to find out the latest with AWS products and new releases.

With several dozen new products announced at the most recent AWS Re:Invent, it’s certainly challenging to decide what to follow. So we’ve filtered it down to the top 5 technologies to pay attention to in 2019.

1. Lambda Layers

First up, we have Lambda Layers. The quick and dirty description of Lambda is: serverless code that is easily scalable, where you only pay for what you use, when you use it, taking much of the hassle out.

Lambda Layers builds on this product by offering a simple way to manage software and data across multiple lambda functions. No longer do you need to deploy shared code with every function that uses it, now you just need to package the components in a zip file within a single Lambda layer and have the function reference it, just like it would do normally.

2. AWS Transit Gateway

Next comes AWS Transit Gateway, a new service with the goal of simplifying the management of network architecture and easing scalability. AWS Transit Gateway acts as the hub, managing and routing all connected networks from this single connection that can be installed on premises data centres or remote offices.

While easing scalability is a major concern for many, the most immediate benefit of AWS Transit Gateways is operational cost reduction.  This is brought about by each network only needing to connect to the singular AWS Transit Gateway.

3. AWS Control Tower

Next up, AWS Control Tower, this technology is so brand new it is only available in preview at the moment. Its core purpose is that it seeks to automate the set-up of your multi-account AWS environment with just a few clicks, whilst providing options to enforce policies using service controls and detect policy violations as well.

On top of the automation of such processes, Control Tower provides an integrated dashboard for a top-level summary of the environment. Facilitating easy monitoring and enforcing of policies, as well as providing intuitive feedback. It’s a great feature to have for any company attempting to embrace and practice DevOps.

4. AWS Marketplace for Containers

With the industry making significant moves towards the micro-service architecture, utilising containers for many services and processes, Amazon now offers more than 180 curated and trusted container products in AWS Marketplace and through the Amazon Elastic Container Services (Amazon ECS) console. This facilitates taking advantage of the rest of Amazon’s services, such as Amazon Elastic Container Services for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS), and AWS Fargate, leveraging on current knowledge and skills without any friction or need to change.

5. AWS Security Hub

Another important and new technology available for preview is AWS Security Hub. This technology aims to keep security monitoring as agile as possible. Currently, with the vast number of security tools available ranging from firewalls to compliance scanners, processing all the data and alerts can be difficult. AWS Security Hub provides a single place to aggregate everything. Integrating with other AWS services like Amazon GuardDuty, Inspector and Macie, AWS Security Hub aims to provide a strong visual summary of the information, while enforcing best practices and compliance. In other words, Security Hub is focused on giving a comprehensive view of high-priority security alerts and compliance statuses across AWS accounts.

While there is not yet a feature for custom rule sets, Amazon has made indications that they are looking to open up more options for policies and standards of best practice. This will hopefully give companies more flexibility to choose and adopt the policies most relevant to them.

 

 

Matthew SongTop 5 AWS Technologies to keep an eye on in 2019
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Can a new hire benefit from Terraform?

Can a new hire benefit from Terraform?

The short answer? Yes. For that matter, any programmer, new or old, can benefit from Terraform. I’m only a few months into my journey with Terraform and its already proving itself as extremely beneficial.

Before describing how Terraform can benefit you, it would probably be best to explain what Terraform is and get everyone on the same page. Terraform is software created by our partner Hashicorp, responsible for helping us to implement infrastructure as code. With the industry’s bid to turn everything into code, it seemed only natural for Hashicorp to provide a solution to spinning up service providers, whilst enabling easy versioning and replication. In a single sentence: Terraform allows us to turn the entire process of setting up cloud providers into code that can be automated and version controlled.

The main benefits of using Terraform are how replicable everything becomes and how easy it is to make changes and track said changes. Like any good code, all these resources that Terraform creates are easily transferrable.

Problem Scenario

Imagine, for some internal testing you set up a group of resources to test a Continuous Pipeline on AWS. The plan is to use an orchestration tool like Jenkins, test software like SonarQube and a binary repository like Nexus. You set up the resources, the security groups, subnet, etc. You configure the ports the software is expected to run on, along with various other requirements they need, like Java versions.

Four months later after the testing is complete, you need to set up the same solution for a client. Maybe with a different binary repository like JFrog. Only, the resources are gone. No reason to keep resources you weren’t using for four months (or if you did, that was four months of subscription for resources that weren’t being used- a loss either way). Now you have to go through the entire process of setting up everything again. In the best-case scenario with perfect documentation, you’d still have to manually go through each and every step, provisioning each resource and configuring each software package. More than likely, you’ll find a knowledge gap somewhere and you have to fumble around trying to get it all working again.

In addition to this, there are minor changes and updates. For example, a new port needs to be opened and perhaps the keys need changing for security reasons. Perhaps a value was misnamed and needs correction. How can you ensure that the changes won’t impact the setup of the service? Then for every change and update the documentation would also need updating as well to record this.

Terraform to the Rescue

With Terraform, most, if not all of the hassle, can be removed from that messy situation. Code can be reused infinitely, with perhaps some minor changes and updates to suit the new scenario.

Want to pre-install software like Jenkins and Nexus without having to manually download them and their dependencies? Turn it into a script and automate it.

Need to configure ports and environmental variables for said software? Put those in the script too.

A year has passed, maybe the original programmer for the solution has been moved to another project.  Don’t worry, the terraform script remains.

Made a change to security groups and unsure if it works? Copy the code, make the change and run the code to verify its functionality. With some refactoring, it even becomes possible to only copy parts relevant to you. As with the scenario above, simply remove the script and associated config files, if any, for installing Nexus and prepare one for JFrog. Now you have a terraform code for installing a CI pipeline that supports either Nexus or JFrog, which can also be easily modified to work on other OSes and even install other tools.

Not For Everyone

Now that being said, an absolute newcomer, should not start using Terraform immediately. Terraform knowledge in no way supersedes the knowledge of the actual provider. Knowing that a security group exists and is needed for Terraform to create an AWS resource instance is not a suitable replacement for understanding WHY the security group is necessary or WHAT the security group does. Some hands on with what goes on “under the hood” still goes a long way.

My Short Terraform Journey So Far…

As infrastructure as code, Terraform provides an easily mutable code that is version controlled when integrated with other services like Git… And being code, it is easily repurposed for other projects and uses. As a new hire at ECS Digital with only a few months of using Terraform, I’ve already benefited tremendously from this incredible tool. Ranging from repurposing the code and scripts of others in my own setup, to easily providing fresh instances for me to test without all the manual work that goes into setting them up.

Just as excitingly, Hashicorp is far from done with Terraform. As of this article, Terraform is still at version 0.11. This means that there is still vast room for iteration and improvement on Terraform, such as better importing of pre-existing resources into Terraform’s set of managed resources.

Having already benefited so much from Terraform in its early life cycle, I am certainly keen to see what more can be done with it. If you’re interested in starting your Terraform journey with us, feel free to contact us or check out our Hashicorp training we provided as official Hashicorp partners.

Matthew SongCan a new hire benefit from Terraform?
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Digital Women in Tech – DevOps Playground: Hands on with Cypress

Digital Women in Tech – DevOps Playground: Hands on with Cypress

As part of ECS Digital’s initiative to attract more women in technology, we held our first ever Digital Women in Tech MeetUp in our London office at Bermondsey Street where we did a hands on session about a new automation testing tool called Cypress.

Cypress is a test automation tool created by Brian Mann to help developers write automation tests from a user’s perspective. With Cypress, any actions that users can do can be simulated such as clicking a button, typing values on forms, or selecting checkboxes. It’s a tool that is written purely in JavaScript and is often compared to Selenium but it’s actually different from Selenium. The tool was created to address the issues that developers faced when writing automated tests.

In this hands on session, we went over what Cypress can offer, it’s limitations and key differences with Selenium. We then guided everyone how to connect to their remote machines and how to launch the sample React application that we were going to test. The machines provided have been pre-installed with all the software that they needed to follow the session. Once everyone was familiarised with using Cypress and its test runner, we guided everyone on how to write the test scenarios that we planned for them.

Following this video you should be able to run through this playground from the comfort of your own home.

Thank you to everyone who attended the first Digital Women in Tech MeetUp and for making it successful!

Interested in attending our next DevOps Playground events. Follow us on Meetup to receive a notification about the next event

Marie CruzDigital Women in Tech – DevOps Playground: Hands on with Cypress
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Key takeaways from DevOps Deadlock webinar

Key takeaways from DevOps Deadlock webinar

On Thursday 8th November 2018, Andy Cureton (ECS Digital), Jen Thomson (IDC) and Dave Gore (Lloyds Banking Group) presented on ‘How to get past the DevOps Deadlock’.

This coming together of industry experts gave an exclusive look into how organisations are utilising DevOps. More importantly, it looked at how organisations are moving past the experimental stage to successfully adopt DevOps at scale.

This ability to get past what has been coined as ‘DevOps deadlock’ an approach that utilizes new KPIs spanning the cultural, business, process, technology and talent/staffing changes required for any business transformation that utilizes DevOps.

Accelerating the DevOps Journey

Jen Thomson drew on IDC’s latest research, shining a light on how different organisations are accelerating their DevOps journey to get to what IDC are terming ‘DevOps Determined’.

Whilst unicorns and digital natives are already starting to reap some real benefits from early DevOps adoption, Jen explains that the journey for the majority of organisations is far from over.

In reality, the journey to enterprise scale DevOps is only just beginning. Out of the 60% of organisations who have already adopted a DevOps methodology, each belongs to one of two distinct groups:

  1. Protagonists or DevOps Determined. These make up 40% of large European organisations talking to IDC
  2. DevOps Distracted. These organisations prioritise other challenges and find it hard to scale beyond the DevOps experimental stage. They make up the remaining 60% of large organisations talking to IDC

The performance gap between these two groups continues to widen, with Jen noting that 57% of ‘distracted’ organisation are at a DevOps deadlock, unable to get past the challenges and bottlenecks they face internally.

Moving past the DevOps Deadlock

Whilst DevOps deadlock is a challenge, organisations can and are successfully breaking this transformation blocker.

Andy Cureton, Founder of ECS Digital, pinpointed four key traits businesses are adopting in order to gain traction in their programs. These are:

  • Structure
  • Communication
  • The supporting organisation
  • Enabling transformation

What was interesting about Andy’s talk was that whilst he recognises that DevOps isn’t mandatory, DevOps methodologies, new tooling and ways of working are well proven. How to adopt these at scale across an organisation, however, are not.

The businesses succeeding at scale are those with a central framework, structure or program in place that is coordinating the transformation activities across the organisation.

Taking work that is completed in one area of an organisation such as a CI/CD pipeline and bottling it up to create a quick start or accelerator so that it can be simply leveraged by other areas of the organisation is critical to amplifying the return on the investment. A centralised library is typically used to capture and publicise what is available. Andy described this as the ‘secret source’ to magnifying the benefit going forward.

Another interesting point Andy raised was that ‘fear of change is a phenomenally powerful inhibitor at an Enterprise Scale’. You need to be able to sell the benefits to the individuals who will be impacted by the change of the program, on channels and in ways easily digested by your audience. The aim is to create a pull effect for the transformation rather than magnifying the inertia typically present in established organisations by not focusing on communication.

Whilst most DevOps determined look to retake control of app development and IT operations, they still need the people, know-how and business acumen to drive these changes in a way that stakeholders can buy in to. Having a partner like ECS Digital enables you to strike this balance of accelerating your transformation and enabling your internal teams to become self-sufficient so you can run on your own.

One of the ways ECS Digital is helping organisations facing the conundrum of going faster and insourcing engineering talent is through an offering called Enablement Pods. Perfect for the modern organisation looking to move past their own DevOps deadlock.

Succeeding with DevOps

Talking about a transformation might seem like progressive thinking, but as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Dave Gore, Engineering Transformation Lead at Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), described what it takes to get a transformation off the ground and the fundamental pillars to making that transformation a success.

Dave started by explaining that starting the DevOps conversation is mostly about the people in an enterprise scale organisation. If you are able to hold a good conversation across that community, then you’ve started your transformation off on the right foot.

To secure this crucial buy-in from all stakeholders, you need to sell the principles of the programme and set out outcomes (benefits) that it will deliver to the business. You also need to create an environment where your engineers feel empowered to create outstanding technology solutions for both colleagues and customers.

Once both have been established, you need to find something real and take the plunge! Dave explained that getting started is often the hardest part in an enterprise scale organisation. There will always be a myriad of options, stakeholders, what-if scenarios etc. Identifying one anchor point that you can scale and build from makes it an easier first step – never easy, just easier.

By structuring your programme in this way, you are giving yourself the opportunity to showcase the challenges and achievements encountered with these new ways of working, tools and technologies and continue the conversation that remains so fundamental to its success.

Since starting their journey, LBG have seen a lot happen and 2018 was no different. By following the above principles, LBG have started to see rapid adoption of DevOps methodologies across the business. And whilst these took effort to reach, they have unlocked other valuable areas of LBG.

In Dave’s words, this has made the initial commitment and investment in moving the dial on how LBG do things worthwhile, establishing positive change and building very different capabilities in the organisation today.

What are your next steps?

Whilst Dave, Jen and Andy provided exclusive insights into how businesses have been successfully adopting DevOps practices at scale, the above is only the tip of the iceberg. If you would like to learn more specifically the ways of working, tools, and technologies that could accelerate your transformation out of a deadlock, get in touch today.

If you would like to watch webinar, click here now.

Andy CuretonKey takeaways from DevOps Deadlock webinar
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Closing the gap between business and technology

Closing the gap between business and technology

27% of final decisions regarding IT planning, spending and management are now made by someone other than the IT department. For a successful DevOps transformation, you need to have implementation come from both the top and the bottom. Here’s how…

For a successful DevOps transformation, you need to have implementation come from both the top and the bottom.

A recent survey by IT industry association CompTIA found that 27% of final decisions are now made by someone other than the IT department (i.e., the heads of other business functions such as finance, marketing, sales and logistics).

Within a bottom-up, grassroots approach, whereby engineering alone is trying to build a better continuous development pipeline, without the support from senior stakeholders, DevOps will only stay siloed in one area. DevOps can and does scale across whole organisations, the problem is that there will be disconnect between the business and development teams. Changes to the organisation and culture are needed to close the gap.

But how should you go about ‘bridging the gap’?

It sounds cliché, but it’s all about communication. Ensuring goals of both the organisation and the teams within it all have overarching and very strategic goals they can work towards collaboratively. Making sure every product is geared towards achieving that goal. Whether it’s to increase sales or click-throughs to a specific page of a website, it must be specific, clear and concise.

Organisations must bring the business and development teams together so they can build products that help achieve strategic goals, and there are a number of effective ways that can help achieve this.

  1. Impact Mapping

Impact mapping is a strategic planning technique that prevents organisations from getting lost while building products and delivering projects. It does this by clearly communicating assumptions, helping teams align their activities with overall business objectives and make better roadmap decisions.

2. Customer Dashboards

Another way to ensure your team is guaranteeing business and IT function buy-in is through custom dashboards. These show you a representation of where you are as well as the business value of the digital transformation. The best countermeasures to inaccurate communications are the mutually reinforcing pillars of automation and measurement.

Automated systems, like custom dashboards, enable better reporting of business metrics. Rather than relying on information that’s filtered upwards to executives, you have an objective measurement system to share across the business, helping everyone get onto the same page.

Meeting the strategic goals of the organisation is imperative. Dashboards are one of the ways we ensure that we are as transparent as possible when communicating our progress, inspection and adaption from the other two core pillars of Scrum Theory and should be adopted not just at the engineering and team level, but also the program and portfolio level. Mapping things at the start does not mean that the job is done, we must update the plan to take into consideration the competitive landscape outside the organisation.

3. Organisational Culture

Finally, organisational culture is extremely important when planning a Digital Transformation project. It often comes down to how your team communicates with one another that makes the biggest difference. Ensuring that your team plans workshops with business/IT functions to get the most value from the projects, and all stakeholders are kept up to date with new developments on the project will also help.

What have we learned?

With the two examples outlined, it’s clear that if you don’t get your business involved, the product team can easily go-off on a tangent. The business will be frustrated as the product won’t be servicing a business need, and objectives will not be fulfilled.

Communicating is key, without it both parties will become disengaged.

Cultural change has to come from the top, leadership must be bought into the transformation and motivated to make it a success. Those at the coal face, the development teams rarely need convincing, they understand the benefits of a DevOps culture and in most cases will always be your path to least resistance. The key to developing applications that release true business value is bridging the gap between the two, the development teams should be seen as part of the business, rather than a service set up to support it.

ECS Digital can help you close your business’ gap on your digital transformation journey, get in contact today to find out how. We held a webinar in November which explained how to get past the DevOps Deadlock within your company – watch now.

Sarndeep NijjarClosing the gap between business and technology
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Why learning for future innovation is an essential skill 

Why learning for future innovation is an essential skill 

There are few parts of our lives that haven’t been fundamentally changed by the growth of technology over the past few decades – and nobody knows this better than Information Technology (IT) professionals. In fact, if you work in IT there’s a good chance that your job didn’t even exist ten years ago. But technology isn’t only changing the IT world: it’s changing almost every facet of the way we live, work and interact. 

How you approach this level of change on a daily basis can either be the catalyst for boundless innovation or a serious detriment to the success of your business. In this blog, we’ll take a look at why being prepared to learn for future innovation can be the best defence against stagnation in an ever-changing market. 

Learning for future innovation requires specific techniques and agility 

Learning for future innovation is a very different process to learning for something that already exists. Learning for an existing technology is more straight-forward because the method you choose is already tried and tested. Learning for future innovation, by contrast, seems almost self-contradictory.

While it’s certainly no walk in the park, there are ways to make this easier, and at the rate that technology continues to drive our world forward, there will be an ever-increasing number of topics to cover. And, if the mounting evidence is to be believed, most of us have been taught how to learn ‘wrongly’ throughout our lives. For professionals who are serious about learning future technologies, it’s vital to be able to adapt to a variety of working conditions, learning styles and environments in order to think outside the box and innovate more easily than the competition. 

Everybody learns in their own way; no two learning styles are the same. 

Every person has their preferred learning style, and what works for one person might be totally ineffective for the next. Here are the most common learning styles: 

  • Elaborative interrogation: Being able to explain why an explicitly stated fact or concept is true – in other words, repeatedly questioning the facts or pushing the concept to its limits 
  • Self-explanation: Explaining new concepts in the context of existing information, or explaining the necessary steps taken during problem solving. 
  • Summarisation: Summarising information in various lengths, to study from later 
  • Highlighting/underlining: Marking the pertinent sections of a text or piece of work to be revisited later 
  • Keyword mnemonic: Using keywords and mental imagery to associate verbal materials 
  • Imagery for text: Forming a set of related mental images from text materials while reading or listening 
  • Rereading: Restudying text material again after an initial reading, often several times 
  • Practice testing: Self-testing or doing practice tests on the material that needs to be learned 
  • Distributed practice: Implementing a schedule of practice that spreads out study activities over time, with the objective of forming a long-term understanding 
  • Interleaved practice: A schedule of practice that mixes different kinds of problems, or a study programme that mixes different kinds of material within one single study session 

Having an understanding of the different learning styles and how they differ from one another isn’t only a good way to find out which works best for you, it’s also a valuable tool for understanding how the other members of your team may prefer to learn. Ultimately, working as a team means being able to translate new information into a format your colleagues are able to understand is as important as being able to understand it yourself. 

DevOps courses in Singapore 

Whether you’re a DevOps veteran looking for a new opportunity for innovation or an aspiring newbie, ECS Digital Singapore offers a comprehensive selection of training courses that cover everything from DevOps basics to advanced tips and tricks.  

Having spent over 12 years implementing DevOps in organisations around the world, we have adopted a variety of learning styles to ensure what we teach can be easily absorbed by those wishing to learn.   

In our experience, one of the most effective styles for developing skills in new technology and tools is face-to-face sessions. With this in mind, we have partnered with Singapore Management University to deliver an interactive three-day course designed to give you a better understanding of the DevOps methodology.  

If you’d like to find out more about developing your DevOps understanding and skills further, visit our training page to find out more about our Adopting DevOps course in Singapore. 

Kok Hoong WaiWhy learning for future innovation is an essential skill 
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