The IBM CICS development team simplifies software builds

IBM Rational software helps support agile development, improve collaboration

Published on 31-May-2012

"Rational Team Concert brings a huge amount of added value to managing projects. Its power, when used well, is that it enables a complete view of project workloads and progress, all with less effort." - Simon Rachman, delivery manager, IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/OS software, IBM

Customer:
IBM CICS development team

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
United Kingdom

Solution:
Agile Software Development, Enterprise Modernization

Overview

A global computer products, services and solutions company based in the United States, IBM operates in more than 170 countries and has nearly 427,000 employees. The product team developing IBM® CICS® Transaction Server for z/OS® software and the associated family of Customer Information Control System (CICS) tools and connectors is located in the IBM Hursley software lab in the United Kingdom. The CICS Transaction Server for z/OS application provides industrial-strength, online transaction management and connectivity for mission-critical applications.

Business need:
The CICS development team recognized that its product development cycle could benefit from switching from its existing waterfall development processes to agile development methods.

Solution:
The team used IBM Rational Team Concert™ and IBM Rational® Developer for System z® software to create a highly configurable, end-to-end integrated development environment.

Benefits:
Adopting an agile approach and using IBM Rational software have helped the team increase transparency, increase efficiency, improve responsiveness to change and improve software quality.

Case Study

A global computer products, services and solutions company based in the United States, IBM operates in more than 170 countries and has nearly 427,000 employees. The product team developing IBM® CICS® Transaction Server for z/OS® software and the associated family of Customer Information Control System (CICS) tools and connectors is located in the IBM Hursley software lab in the United Kingdom. The CICS Transaction Server for z/OS application provides industrial-strength, online transaction management and connectivity for mission-critical applications.

Moving from waterfall to agile
In 2005, the CICS development team recognized that its product development cycle could benefit from switching from its existing waterfall development processes to agile development methods. Using the waterfall method, integration testing was performed late in the development cycle, so complex defects weren’t identified until it was extremely costly to fix them. With beta releases shipped only months before general availability, it was unlikely the team could incorporate customer feedback into the product in time for the release. The team, which had been using waterfall development methods for over 40 years and had a code base of millions of lines of code, was concerned that the switch to agile methods would be exceptionally challenging for its group.

The CICS team began its transition to agile development by breaking the development process into four-month iterations, with coding, unit testing, functional testing, and documentation being completed in the iteration. A beta was released at the end of each iteration, and integration or system testing would take place in the following iteration.

Standardizing on IBM Rational Team Concert software
In 2008, the team performed a major review of its tooling and processes. It found that there were a number of different development tools in use throughout the team. Defects were stored in one system and tracked separately, source code was stored in three separate source code management systems, and there were disparate tools for requirements, designs and other documents. To improve its ability to support the application in the future, the team sought a single non-proprietary environment for the delivery and service of future releases of CICS Transaction Server for z/OS software that would enable all stakeholders, including business, marketing, development, test, service and build professionals to collaborate using a single tool.

At that time, several team members tested a beta version of IBM Rational Team Concert™ software and found it to be promising. In 2009, the IBM Hursley software lab started to centrally host IBM Jazz™ servers running on the IBM System p® platform and the CICS team requested a Jazz server in July of that year. Initially, the team migrated work item management and project management processes into the Rational® Team Concert application. By the end of the year, defects, work items, project management, dash boards and status tracking were all handled through the Rational Team Concert software. One of the advantages of Rational Team Concert software was that it enabled the team to incrementally adopt functionality. The CICS team set a goal of using Rational Team Concert software right out of the box, without having to write any proprietary code.

Shifting to an Eclipse-based development environment
The next phase of the team’s transformation involved rewriting the software build for the CICS Transaction Server for z/OS application. The build, which involved two mainframe source code management systems, an additional source code management system on a distributed platform, all with proprietary processes, was extremely complex. Since several key personnel on the team were on the verge of retiring, the existing source control and build processes were becoming unsupportable. Therefore at the beginning of 2010, the team began to migrate its source code management to Rational Team Concert software and rewrite the CICS Transaction Server for z/OS application build in Apache Ant, allowing a shift from mainframe development to Eclipse-based development. The CICS team can now use IBM Rational Developer for System z® to edit IBM System z mainframe code. Then it can request builds from the Rational Team Concert application, and a Jazz build engine automatically extracts the necessary code, processes the build via the z/OS operating system and delivers the build output to a test system.

Using an Eclipse-based development and build environment based on Rational Team Concert and Rational Developer for System z makes it easier for new developers to get up to speed quickly. For example, newer staff, who might be familiar with graphical user interface (GUI)-based development tools, are able to use Rational Developer for System z software for development intuitively rather than having to learn mainframe command line interfaces.

Improving visibility, insight, efficiency
The Rational Team Concert software has enabled a number of benefits for the CICS development team. The solution provides integrated work item and reporting tools, which support greater visibility. If work items are changed, emails are sent out to the relevant parties notifying them of the change. The solution also provides dashboards that enable instant status reporting. These reporting tools have reduced the amount of preparation required for status meetings by 75 percent and improved the efficiency of status meetings, reducing meeting times by one third. The solution also helps the team better manage and prioritize its requirements.

Rational Team Concert software also enabled the team to ultimately shorten its development iterations. In 2009, the team started to use two month iterations, still shipping a beta release every four months. In 2011, the team migrated to one month iterations shipping a beta release every two months. These shorter iterations would not have been possible without Rational Team Concert, which provided the openness and control that enabled greater visibility into projects and centralized management.

The CICS team has improved its responsiveness. It is able to adapt more quickly to meet changing business needs. Plus, with all of its members using a standard solution, the CICS team has more flexibility in its resource pool. Because the development and service teams are now working in an identical environment, it’s easier for team members to transition roles. The team has also been able to deliver beta releases much earlier, while improving product quality by identifying defects much earlier in the development life-cycle. Finally, the rewritten build is much easier to maintain. The new build requires two shared people to support it, rather than the dedicated three that were required in the past.

According to Simon Rachman, delivery manager, CICS Transaction Server for z/OS software, IBM, “Rational Team Concert brings a huge amount of added value to managing projects. Its power, when used well, is that it enables a complete view of project workloads and progress, all with less effort. Having the right information at hand means you are so much more in control and can focus extra effort exactly where it is needed. These factors are essential if you are going to avoid the extensive additional costs incurred by projects that run late.”

For more information
To learn more about IBM Rational Team Concert or IBM Rational Developer for System z software, contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit:

ibm.com/software/rational

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
System p, System z

Software:
Rational Team Concert, Rational Developer for System z

Operating system:
z/OS and OS/390

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America May 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and Rational are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or TM), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. Other product, company or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at "Copyright and trademark information" at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.

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