Integration Patterns

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.

Common benefits of software software delivery toolchain integration

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.

Software Delivery Toolchain Integration Patterns

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

Ideate

Associating Planning Items to Implementation Artifacts

PPM or Roadmapping with Agile Planning

Associating Planning Items to Requirements

PPM or Roadmapping with Requirements Management

Providing Developers with Early Visibility into Requirements

Requirements Management with Agile Planning

Providing Testers with Early Visibility into Requirements

Requirements Management with Testing Tools

Associating Requirements to Detailed Design

Requirements Management with Requirements Management or Enterprise Architecture

Create

Sharing Stories and Defects between Dev and Test

Agile Planning with Testing Tools

Aligning Developers across Agile Planning Tools

Agile Planning with Agile Planning

Aligning Testing Teams across Testing Tools

Testing Tool with Testing Tool
Linking Code Changes to the Originating Feature or Defect Version Control System with Requirements Management or Agile Planning

Reporting Known Defects to the Help Desk

Agile Planning with ITSM (Service Desk)

Release

Creating Defects from Release Pipeline Failures

Continuous Delivery Tools with Agile Planning

Operate

Escalating Help Desk Incidents to Developers

ITSM (Service Desk) with Agile Planning

Sharing Customer Feature Requests with Product

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