Monday, January 20, 2014

Heading for the clouds

Last week marked the 4th year of my tenure in Jazz for Service Management (it was known by different names at first) , as the lead developer for Registry Services, a data reconciliation service for the multitude of IBM products developed in-house and acquired over the years.

Looking back…

For the first three years I did not write much about the Registry Services experience, other than offering general impressions on leadership and focus on quality in context of the challenges at the time, both in "Guns, Police, Alcohol, and Leadership" and in “On Mountains, Beliefs and Leadership”. In 2013, I did write a more detailed technical account in the Service Management Connect blog.

Without getting into the gritty details of the pace-setting procedural excellence we achieved in these four years (modesty did improve a bit, but the progress we all made in these four years earned us a few seconds of self-congratulatory pats on the back :- ) it is worth noting that over 4000 functional points are now validated in an automated manner in less than 12 hours across key platforms and 24 hours across the complete set of platforms, every single day of the week.

This marked evolution was only possible with disciplined execution within the Agile development method, few steps at a time, guided by stakeholders one sprint demo at a time, honed by team’s feedback one retrospective session at a time.

I think it will be hard to top the combination of motivation we had from the people executing the tasks with the vision and support from the management team, but four years was also enough time for several people on the team to grow to a level of leadership, skill, and confidence where the smartest thing to do was to make room for the next level of collective growth.

...to look forward

As I started to look for a position to make room for the overall transition, it was to my surprise and delight to hear about the IBM Cloud Operating Environment team just starting to look for a Scrum Master and Dev/Ops lead for its core deployment (based on Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry) . To distill the letter soup, this is essentially IBMs Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering, now officially known as Bluemix. Within two weeks both teams had lined up the whole transition and starting this week, this is my new professional home.

Cloud and Dev/Ops is a space I have been meaning to enter for a long while. It is an opportunity to work with the most recent technologies in a very competitive space, against established giants, but backed by another giant flexing a multi-billion effort across all of its divisions.

I am looking forward to a brilliant 2014 in company of the Bluemix team, learning how to bring the same level of excellence into a different development model, adapting to the new cultures in our geographically dispersed teams, closing the gaps between development and production deployments (a tooling geek’s paradise) , and moving closer to our customers experience, both in the way we support IBM offerings in Blue,ix and watching what development shops around the world will do with it.