The Tasktop team has been fortunate to work with software innovators across the spectrum of vertical industries. And while every organization is unique, our broad experience has allowed us to uncover and optimize for certain common software lifecycle integration patterns.
In addition to the six common benefits of toolchain integration detailed in the figure below, each integration pattern provides specific benefits to a particular set of practitioners.
Where to start?
We normally recommend that organizations identify the scenarios that are causing the most immediate pain and enable the associated integration patterns. Over time, organizations adopt and deploy more and more of these foundational integration patterns, creating chained patterns that achieve end-to-end flow.
The diagram below illustrates the integration patterns that facilitate flow between the Ideation, Creation, Release and Operation phases of software delivery. We’ll be breaking these down these patterns one-by-one.
Foundational Integration Patterns
Foundational integration patterns flow and synchronize work between two distinct roles working in two (or more) different tools. For example, flowing defects logged by a test engineer in a Testing tool to the responsible developer working in an Agile planning tool. In a software delivery organization that uses two Agile planning tools, you can imagine that some defects may flow to Jira, while others will flow to VersionOne.
There are many foundational patterns, so the easiest way to explore them is by considering the triggering activity for the integration. When does the triggering activity occur?
- Is it in the Ideate phase, when you’re planning, gathering requirements and designing feature work?
- Is it in the Create phase, where you’re developing, building and testing features, or resolving defects?
- Is it during the Release phase, when you’re releasing code changes to production?
- Or is it in the Operate phase, where you are supporting existing customers and production environments?
The foundational integration patterns include:
|Phase||Foundational Integration Pattern||Tools Typically Integrated|
|PPM or Roadmapping with Agile Planning|
|PPM or Roadmapping with Requirements Management|
Providing Developers with Early Visibility into Requirements
|Requirements Management with Agile Planning|
|Requirements Management with Testing Tools|
|Requirements Management with Requirements Management or Enterprise Architecture|
|Populating Requirements in PLM||Requirements Management with PLM|
|Agile Planning with Testing Tools|
Agile Planning with Agile Planning
|Testing Tool with Testing Tool|
|Linking Code Changes to the Originating Feature or Defect||Version Control System with Requirements Management or Agile Planning|
|Agile Planning with ITSM (Service Desk)|
Providing Release Visibility and Traceability to Product and Dev
|Release Orchestration and Automation with Agile Planning|
|Creating Defects from Release Pipeline Failures||Continuous Delivery Tools with Agile Planning|
|ITSM (Service Desk) with Agile Planning|
|Assigning Hardware Problems to Engineers in PLM||ITSM (Service Desk) with PLM|
|ITSM (Service Desk) or CRM with Requirements Management or Agile Planning|
These patterns can be implemented within a single enterprise or agency, or applied across organizational boundaries, for example when collaborating with subcontractors.
Chained Integration Patterns to Achieve End-to-End Flow
After starting with Foundational Patterns, most organizations move on to connecting multiple patterns together to achieve a seamless, automated flow of work and traceability across tools. Once connected in this way, it is possible to generate useful reports and meaningful metrics on the flow of value through the software delivery value stream, known as Flow Metrics.
Popular chained patterns include:
Requirements Implementation Traceability
Incident Resolution Traceability and Visibility
Customer Request Traceability and Visibility