Exploring the Flow Framework with Dr. Mik Kersten
An expert in DevOps-based development discusses how connecting your disconnected value streams will empower your dev team.
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We recently launched a new podcast called The Modern Mainframe to share the insights you crave from experts in Agile, DevOps, the mainframe, and more, and we’re coming out with some heavy-hitters right off the bat. Our first episode featured Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley on the importance of mainstreaming the mainframe, including a pragmatic approach to accomplishing that.
Our second episode featuring Dr. Mik Kersten—CEO of Tasktop and author of the recent book Project to Product—is now live and provides an awesome overview of two concepts that might be new to many of our mainframe customers: the Flow Framework and value stream mapping.
You can also download the transcript or read it on episode two’s page.
Here’s how Mik explains the Flow Framework and value stream mapping:
- The Flow Framework: “The Flow Framework is all about giving both the business side and the technologists a common language … a common way of describing product value streams, describing what flows through the value streams, how you deliver business value. A way of being able to discuss together the flow distribution.”
- Value Stream Mapping: “The Flow Framework is that way of looking at all of your product value streams and determining what value they’re delivering to the customer, what the cost of each value stream is and what the flow metrics for each one are. Basically, how much business value you’re delivering and where.”
How the Mainframe Fits
Mik does an amazing service to mainframe-powered organizations in this episode by clearly explaining how the mainframe fits into the Flow Framework and value stream mapping. He says so many CIOs and large enterprise customers he and Tasktop work with are asking the wrong questions.
Should we just dockerize everything tomorrow?
Should we turn everything into microservices and throw all this old stuff out?
“To me, it’s just completely the wrong outcome, but it’s also, even worse than that, it’s the wrong question,” Mik said. “What I see smarter organizations doing in terms of thinking about both their existing mainframe investments and the new systems of engagement they’re creating, their new user experiences they’re creating, is actually to realize that these things will coexist.
“That Two-platform IT path Compuware has taken is exactly the path I think is the best path towards innovation.”
That is, leveraging the mainframe for mission-critical applications and data that are competitively differentiating, such as product source code and company and/or customer intellectual property, and XaaS resources from cloud providers for more basic business applications, such as payroll or a sales CRM—ultimately eliminating the need for complex, on-premises X86 commodity server infrastructure while creating the foundation for one-speed IT, where development teams can innovate at the same speed: fast.
“These things are working, their cost and performance are highly tuned already, and you’re far better off investing in modern web technologies and microservices around that core of your mainframe than you are trying to replace it or find your path to replacing it tomorrow,” Mik said.
What’s Actually Holding You Back
So, if it’s not the mainframe holding organizations back, what is? Mik says two critical things are. He and Tasktop realized they need to help organizations:
- Connect their disconnected value streams.
- Shift from project management to product management.
“That’s what we focus on so much in terms of our offerings, and that’s really what Tasktop Integration Hub does,” Mik said.
“The other key thing is we enable these organizations to structure their value streams to align around products because software innovators focus on product delivery, not project management.”
This episode is a must-listen for mainframe-powered enterprises struggling to bring the mainframe under an Agile/DevOps order and conceptualize what they actually will look like in terms of delivering new value to the business.
For more on Mik’s book: http://projecttoproduct.org/
For more on Tasktop: https://www.tasktop.com/
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