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Veteran Project Manager and user of Enterprise Architect in 100+ projects since 2001, Herminio Lourenço has recently published some illuminating articles regarding toolsets for systems development.
This article was orginally published on Mr. Lourenço's LinkedIn profile on November 22nd, reprinted on the Sparx Systems Community site with permission from the author.
Firstly, tool is something that enables, facilitates, gives bigger productivity to one or more activities. The tool works for us. We dedicate some effort and as a result we have a lot of work done. That said, I will suggest a set of tools to give productivity and quality to systems development.
A concept being introduced is the ALM: Application Lifecycle Management. According to Wikipedia, is the marriage between business management with software engineering, which became viable thanks to tools that facilitate and integrate processes such as requirements analysis, architectural modeling, code development, change management, test management and managing of versions of products accomplished. Each one of these processes is part of a stage of a software life cycle.
This can be achieved through a framework, as the Jazz from IBM or Microsoft TFS, among other options, which integrates specialized tools to manage: requirements; code repository; construction; architecture and coding; tests and quality, versions and components.
In that effort to implement multiple tools, the company may have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars and dozens of months in software settings and in training.One of the options that brings fastest return in productivity and quality is the Enterprise Architect (EA) from Sparx Systems. With this tool you can manage and analyze requirements, with automatic control of traceability of the requirements until the code and vice versa, besides producing the models of analysis and design and code as much classes as databases.
Support for testing and integration with configuration and release managers practically complete the required skills. Furthermore, EA has tools like KANBAN and task planning that help you plan and control the progress of work.
Other tools like Jira and Subversion can help complete the spectrum.
Of course that the biggest suppliers will try to convince IT managers that this solution may not be as good and complete as their offers, but this solution has more than 300,000 users developers across the planet. Theirs might have a few hundred followers. I will not discuss what is the perfect solution because it doesn't exist.
The adoption of a good, solid and tested set of tools is crucial to obtain the desired productivity in systems development.
In a candid interview with Arun Kant from CIOReview, Sparx Systems' CEO Geoffrey Sparks highlights how Enterprise Architecture has become an imperative for survival in the ever-changing and globalized corporate landscape.
CIOReview has also included Sparx Systems in their '20 Most Promising Enterprise Architecture Technology Providers 2016' list, resulting from a robust selection process actioned by a highly qualified panel of domain experts. The in-depth interview with Geoffrey Sparks is the featured article in this month's edition of CIOReview, where Geoffrey discusses the Sparx Systems tradition of continual development of the Enterprise Architect platform, while maintaining the highly competitive price-point that enables affordable outfitting for all project stakeholders.
Geoffrey Sparx, Founder and CEO, Sparx Systems
To read the full featured article, simply download the PDF attachment at the top of this article.
Sparx Systems is proud to announce the full release of Enterprise Architect Version 13.
This groundbreaking build focuses on streamlining the user interface, agile teams, model management and parametric simulation.
In its 15 years of continuous development, Enterprise Architect has become the pre-eminent visual modeling platform, bringing together all aspects of the development cycle. Its feature-set has evolved to provide traceability, from the initial design phase through to deployment, maintenance, testing and change control. Version 13 delivers significant new capabilities in these areas and delivers them, in a streamlined and agile interface.
Enterprise Architect 13, represents many years of research, consultation and development - working with a broad community of customers, partners and industry observers. This has helped make this release what Sparx Systems has identified as truly defining.
Sparx Systems is confident, that the combination of distributed agile modeling and design, cloud based repository, Kanban project management, simulation, software development and database engineering capabilities of Version 13, will represent a powerful platform for realizing even the most ambitious projects.
A full list of updates and enhancements in Enterprise Architect 13 can be found at the Sparx Systems website.
At Sparx Systems there are a number of key objectives that are always in the minds of the developers. One is delivering what the end user wants and the other is to exceed end user expectations, by delivering to their needs at an affordable price point. A third objective is to add value by making the end user experience more practical, inclusive and convenient.
These are the reasons why Enterprise Architect is the total modelling and design environment, -adaptable and extensible, providing all that is required by the end user and reducing or eliminating the inconvenience of access to the “external application”. That’s a simple expectation of a modelling tool, and the Sparx Systems interpretation of this expectation puts Enterprise Architect Version 13 in a class of its own.
Kanban was first introduced into Enterprise Architect Version 11. As a key agile process, Kanban is a method for managing knowledge work, with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery. It presents all participants with a full view of the process, from task definition, to delivery to a customer. Because Kanban is a set of practices that can also be implemented in traditional hierarchical bureaucracy, it does not present a threat to the existing culture and can work within different cultures.
In 2015 a Forrester survey found that the customer experience topped priorities for business and technology leaders. Based on these results Forrester forecasts that in 2016, customer experience “will be among the top 10 critical success factors determining who will win and who will fail in the age of the customer.” This is interesting because agile processes embrace change, which translates as the customer’s competitive advantage. Or put another way, the price of survival is to become agile. In recent times Kanban has been applied to the process of developing software-centric solutions in an attempt to ensure that value is delivered to the customer as quickly as possible.
Kanban is an agile entry point that while it does not challenge the culture it can be used to challenge the status quo. However, as an agile practice Kanban can be a cultural “change agent” and lead to Scrum and XP agile practices. Enterprise Architect offers a complete Agile Project Management foundation for the largest to the smallest of projects, supporting mainstream agile delivery frameworks and methods including, SCRUM, RUP, XP, DSDM and Kanban.
Kanban revolves around a visual board for managing work-in-progress and making work flow issues apparent through process definition based on how the work is handled in the team and on stakeholder priorities. A backlog is created in order to keep track of the work and as a basis for setting priorities. The cycle time of the tickets can be measured and used to keep track on improvements.
Enterprise Architect has built-in Kanban diagrams and a number of pre-built workflow patterns that can be used 'as-is' or configured to suit any project or initiative. Because Enterprise Architect is also a sophisticated modeling platform for strategic and business analysis, architecture, design, implementation, testing and deployment, this Kanban facility becomes very powerful. Work items on a Kanban Board can be linked to strategic decisions, business rules, policies, requirements, architecture and design elements and every facility in the development lifecycle.
Agile planning is the assessment of the rate that agile teams can convert customer requirements into deployment ready software, while determining when they will be done. Burn down charts will provide these indicators. With Enterprise Architect burn down charts and time series graphs can be easily created and these are regularly and automatically updated by Enterprise Architect. A sophisticated charting facility is available to create powerful and expressive charts and dashboards, that will provide insights into the Kanban process and enable Product Owners and other team members to monitor performance and determine ways of fine tuning how the team works. There are a range of built-in charts, including bar, pie charts and heat maps, but a team is free to create any number of user-defined charts, which can also be incorporated into team processes and reviews.
As the affordable solution of choice for organisations who want to adopt Agile, including Kanban, Enterprise Architect 13 concantenates potentially siloed projects or sprints and provides assurance against the risk of segregation and ultimate fracturing of visibility across the enterprise, which can be caused by ad-hoc Agile initiatives.
In Enterprise Architect 13, Kanbans can be set at the individual level or project level in a shared model. With the 'My Kanban' feature, individual work can be tracked while the 'Project Kanban' option supports the team.
Projects of any size can benefit from the efficiencies of the flexible and integrated Kanban facility built into the Enterprise Architect core product. The Kanban features in Enterprise Architect are highly configurable and can be altered to suit any team or process, including agile, iterative and incremental, and even waterfall projects. This simple, yet powerful project management approach, creates a team collaboration platform that will result in products, services and solutions being delivered to customers with efficiency and in record time.
Webinar Recording: Introduction to Kanban and Heatmaps (using EA 12.1)
Workflow model patterns have been added, enabling the creation and linking of single or multiple stage Kanban workflows utilizing the Backlog, Iteration and Complete Kanban diagrams to support the existing “Standard type”. Together, these form powerful Kanban workflows, allowing the easy movement of Kanban elements between them. This movement provides the user with a view of the current team resources allocated to the Kanban element, enabling them to see what resource has been assigned, and completion status.
To assist with control of agile sprints, new menu items are available from the Construct Ribbon to search and find all Kanbans in a model. Kanban drawing style can be used showing Type, Status, Version, Priority, Bold Name, Stereotype, Phase, Author, and Truncate with name and Icon.
Work Items can be drawn with a compelling visual style, such as a colored card that can be dragged anywhere in the diagram to change order in a given lane, or from lane to lane, progressing from left to right through the board, representing progress towards value for the customer. The lanes are typically bound to the values of a 'project management aware' property such as status or phase, and as the item is dragged from lane to lane the value of the bound property is automatically changed. If a diagram is linked to a project management property, dragging an element from one lane to another automatically changes the value of the property, to the value that the lane represents.
To review Kanban features supported by Enterprise Architect 13. please visit:
- Enterprise Architect Version 13 Beta web page: Project Management using Kanban
- Enterprise Architect User Guide: Kanban Facilities
In an earlier Sparx Systems White Paper the scenario of a jigsaw puzzle was used as a metaphor for agile, flexible and collaborative response to the creation of a shared vision within an environment that is in a state of high flux. The process of digital transformation will increase the probability of technology failure and change to complex systems will heighten risk exposure. It is essential that organisations mitigate these threats by deploying tools to support the creation of enterprise wide, agile responses. This paper discusses the inter relationship between managing digital transformation, collaborative agile tools and approaches and provides relevant examples of industry responses to digital disruption.
In the puzzle scenario, the mutual dependencies and unpredictability could be analogous to the challenges of digital transformation. Traditional business models will be driven to change by the forces of disruption and current business and IT portfolios will need to meet future demand. The agility with which organisations respond to these changes will be the key factor that governs their future success or their relegation to the beleaguered, whose business models have been made redundant.
These forces of digital disruption actually encourage business agility. The scalability afforded by cloud technology for example enables highly flexible service costs. Gartner predicts that “By 2017, 40 percent of utilities with smart metering solutions will use cloud-based big data analytics to address asset-, commodity-, customer- or revenue-related needs.” In another example the just released “2014 Airlines IT Trends Survey” reveals that “the disruption caused by mobile is so significant that airlines feel that they must invest in mobile services to ensure that they are not left behind.” The survey also reports that “Today, 100% of airlines are investing in the mobile space.” In the retail industry social media on mobile phones is creating a constant feedback loop that informs the development of business agility. As it permits real-time interactions with customers, it also drives growth. The 17th Annual Global CEO Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, reports that technology is already having a far-reaching impact on healthcare delivery and CEOs are already planning ways to take advantage of this trend. 89% plan to improve their ability to innovate; 93% plan to change their technology investments; and 95% are exploring better ways of using and managing big data.
Across industry, successful business evolution over the next decade will be based on the extent to which organisations can harness the forces of disruption and become the disrupting force. Organisational risk profiles will be changed by these forces and the new profiles will inform strategy and decision making. To translate business vision and digital strategy into effective enterprise change will require that leaders possess the ability to visualise, simulate and optimise the target state and ensure that the activities of everyone in the business are co-ordinated.
A systematic approach to the management of change provides an inclusive framework that considers the whole enterprise as well as the needs of different stakeholders. This agile business approach ensures that during the change process lifecycle, priorities are regularly assessed and progress continually monitored. As requirements are identified adjustments are made by managers and their teams, and not left to the end.
Data visualisation enables insights that support faster and more effective decision making while improving communication and bridging the IT – Business divide. To enable agility and insight to support decision making, organisations must also address silos in legacy systems, business, and information.
Enterprise Architect is and remains a technology that is fit for purpose in meeting the challenges of the changing business and IT environment. Visually powerful, it provides a fantastic viewpoint of multiple technologies and organizational units, all working together. Team review, shared data models and model mail are all in-built tools that can improve communication and break down silos, because everyone is using the same data/info/model.
To more effectively manage growing complexity and to stay focused and in control, agile and traditional teams choose Enterprise Architect. Due to very competitive total cost of ownership, large and distributed teams can collaborate more effectively and increase speed and ease, in the design, build, and management of their solutions and processes.
The industry tested traceability features of Enterprise Architect speak directly to shared awareness and clarity on what has been previously achieved. According to Gartner, “An agile, multidimensional approach to architecture is absolutely essential to support continuous development and innovation. Give developers the tools to fail fast, iterate quickly and innovate for business transformation.” The Kanban burndown charts that have been added to Enterprise Architect help to bring project reality into clear focus by showing the work done against the timeline, decision impacts and eliminate fuzziness about time based goals and deadlines.
Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect combines Agile projects with non Agile projects in a single projects portfolio, eliminating the necessity for any additional tools. For further information on tools for digital transformation and the creation of a shared vision within an environment that is in a state of high flux go to: