I am just back from the CA World 2015 in Las Vegas, where everything was cool: from the weather, with unexpected but welcomed temperatures in the low 50s; to the event theme, with a strong focus on Agile, DevOps, APIs, and security; to Fall Out Boys and Sheryl Crow’s concerts. 

As digital pervades all industries, and software becomes the brand, CA Technologies, which has traditionally had a stronger focus in the IT operations or “Ops” world, is making huge efforts to conquer the hearts and minds of the developers of large-scale development shops, or the “Dev”world. No doubt CA has been building a stronger DevOps in the last few years. Its goal is to partner in a larger industry ecosystem and be better positioned to serve the many organizations that are struggling to scale Agile and consistently build better applications faster. To make a stronger play in the Agile and Dev side of DevOps, CA made two brilliant acquisitions in 2015 which CEO Mike Gregoire highlighted in opening session of CA World: Rally Software, a leader in Agile project management at Scale, and Grid-Tools, a leader in Agile test data management and test optimization and automation.

With its revamped Dev strategy, CA aims to enter the Olympus of those large software and enterprise companies that have moved thousands of internal developers, testers, operations pros, and even managers to Agile and DevOps. With this transformation, CA will position itself to better serve current and future clients’ new needs to develop more software at speed. While CA started this transition much later than its competitors like IBM, Microsoft, HP, and other large software players (and even traditional end user enterprises), we recognize it’s still in time!

In fact the whole industry is currently shifting from spotty Agile adoption and scaling it mostly (as some Expert firms can do) in the upstream, to extending the use of Agile and scaling it in the downstream as well —a decisive transition that will distinguish successful digital businesses from mediocre or loosers. CA’s move won’t come without challenges, but it’s in the right direction of trying to fill two crucial gaps of the continuous delivery pipeline, a much-evoked Agile and DevOps capability that clients should appreciate and that has been central to my research. In a nutshell:

  1. CA is trying to accelerate the transition of large-scale organizations to Agile. The focus on linking enterprise planning and strategy to Agile programs and projects through CA PPM and CA Agile Central (AKA Rally Software) will enable Agile at scale (e.g., with the SAFe framework). However, we all know the biggest challenge isn’t the tools but the transformation and cultural change of people. CA, like many others, is trying to address this with dedicated services, coaching, and training.
  2. CA is enabling better DevTestOps. The new CA Application Test solution, continued investments in CA Service Virtualization (with a welcomed new packaging announced at CA World to make service virtualization more palatable to developers), and the focus on active automation and test data management will help testers sit as peer partners and first-class citizens within Dev and Ops. The big challenge CA is addressing is turning testing into a speed enabler while not compromising quality. This too requires a huge mindset shift of testers and developers.

I like the recent strategy of CA, and the jury is out on whether CA will succeed in the execution as it integrates these two new crown jewels within the company’s broader strategy. Agile at scale is close to my research agenda so is testing, two relevant and recent docs you can read are:

·      The State Of Agile Adoption 2015: Learn From The Experts

·      Agile Experts Focus On The Downstream

You’ll find out what Agile expert firms are doing differently and better. There are lessons for everybody! And what’s clear is that the future of AD&D will be more Agile, not less!