The Story Behind Software Delivery Management

Written by: Diana Hwang
6 min read

Software Delivery Management is finally here and we’re all part of making history to launch CloudBees into this emerging category.

I know each keynote during a conference is important, but sitting in the audience during DevOps World | Jenkins World 2019 in San Francisco was truly a defining and pivotal moment for our company. Shawn Ahmed, vice president of product marketing, and the team launched CloudBees into the emerging category of Software Delivery Management. You could feel the excitement in the air. It was tangible.

In my mind, Shawn’s explanation can be boiled down to one sentence: SDM lets you see what’s going on in your dev cycle, produce better software and deliver it into the hands of users while adding more value to the customers. Of course, it’s an oversimplification because Software Delivery Management relies on four pillars including common data, connected processes, universal insights and all functions collaborating to bring it all together. But if you were to ask a non-developer like me to describe SDM, it’s what I would say.

What made Software Delivery Management relatable to me, and I suspect many others, was Shawn’s personal backstory of the problem plaguing software development companies today.

Source: CloudBees, Inc. (Photo by Trish Tunney)

Before SDM

Indeed, Shawn began the keynote by sharing his personal story of being an engineering manager for a software company who developed applications for financial services.

These were highly regulated companies under intense pressure to make the digital transformation, but the stakes for getting software right were high, he recalled. Shawn’s company had six months before their investment funds ran out and they needed to increase revenue without increasing their team of 100 developers. Not an easy task, at all.

Shawn investigated what happened with the development team. His findings? They wasted time each morning sorting through six or seven tools to see what they should work on, and then wondered what happened to the feature they even worked on. It was a black hole. Developers didn’t know when their feature would be released or what was holding it back.

Shawn also found the operations team had similar frustrations. They were responsible for making sure applications met the clients’ compliance requirements. But the ops team had no context for any particular feature that came through the pipeline. Who wrote the code? Why was the feature developed?

But it was the engineering managers who finally woke him up, Shawn said. His engineering managers were doing their best to get everyone on the same page, see and eliminate bottlenecks and speed up the development and delivery process. But the hurdle? They were trying to manually collect data from dozens of DevOps tools and it was never current.

Everyone in the engineering department was operating off different data sets, Shawn explained. Getting a full, birds-eye view of the entire software stream was essentially impossible.

Seeing the importance of getting the full value of the value stream and working off a set of common data to collaborate more efficiently enabled Shawn to “see” the proverbial light.

They developed a custom solution to give everyone in the software organization access to real-time, common data, Shawn recalled. Just that one step increased efficiency dramatically. Meetings and calls dropped precipitously. They no longer had to do time-consuming forensic investigations into bugs or bottlenecks, he said.

Customers were thrilled. The jump in efficiency meant Shawn’s team could take on more projects, increasing revenue. Of course, investors were thrilled, too—and then the company was quickly acquired.

After the acquisition, Shawn got a call from CloudBees, asking if he’d be willing to help create a new category: Software Delivery Management.

And that’s how it all began.

What is Software Delivery Management?

The goal of Software Delivery Management is to provide a way for companies—from small, 100-developer organizations to developer teams with over 10,000—a way to use common data throughout the entire software organization. This allows for development to become much more efficient so that other stakeholders in other parts of the organization - not only from the development teams but also doc writers, product management, product marketing, customer support, and others can work off the same set of data. Everyone is on the same page.

Using common data, this leads to better collaboration among the different stakeholders throughout the organization with connected processes. A truly seamless collaboration environment gives everyone universal insights to see what’s going on.

With Software Delivery Management, organizations have the ability to use one interface to query the entire DevOps toolchain—and everyone in the software organization can run any query and access the same data. Managers can set organization-wide policies and set up alerts or automated actions when policies are broken. There’s also a Recommendations Engine to surface information about common bottlenecks and provide recommendations for how to eliminate them.

Here’s how it works:

  • One dashboard pulls data from the multitude of tools that teams across the software organization are using, from tools like Jenkins and Jira to observability and monitoring tools. This data is displayed in one place, with context, to give anyone in the software organization visibility into the complete pipeline.

  • The Value Stream View lets engineering managers—or anyone else—see how features move through the lifecycle, from idea to production. This lets you see where features are stuck in the process and easily troubleshoot. Teams can be automatically alerted when their feature is delayed and proactively troubleshoot.

  • The Policy Engine lets organizations set rules for alerts. For example, a team should be alerted if a pull request is waiting more than seven days for a review. Not only are the policies customizable, but teams can also customize what action should be taken when a policy is broken.

  • Developers can immediately see what the top priorities are, with a personalized daily morning brief. Clicking on this morning brief takes developers to a Contributions Dashboard that lets developers easily see how their work fits into the team’s workflow.

Source: CloudBees, Inc.

  • Developers are also given access before development is started, what the original problem statement is and the original RFE.

And that’s just the beginning of SDM.

You can watch Shawn’s full keynote below or head to CloudBees TV . For more information about CloudBees and SDM, sign up for the CloudBees solution for SDM Preview Program .

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