How do you manage the requirements for business change requests, application enhancements, bug fixes, and project work?
In our almost 25 years’ experience, we have seen organizations implement several approaches to meet their business strategy and long-term plans. The company’s size, project plan and applications implemented determine the approach adopted.
In this blog, we discuss the pros and cons of the various approaches.
What are the approaches?
- Some organizations use a developer-focused agile methodology using a backlog and sprint management tool such as Jira/Azure DevOps and others
– Agile is the current trend to manage small collections or “sprints” of business functionality that can be designed and planned quickly and tested independently of other changes in the process. The main benefit of agile is the flexibility, visibility to the expected outcome during testing to validate the design, and speed of delivery. However, some unpredictability can be due to untested/unknown conflicts with other “sprints” in flight.
- Some organizations use an ITSM helpdesk tool for incident/requirement/defect management
– Waterfall has been the mainstream IT process to manage day-to-day support requests for the past 20 years and is easy to manage. Requirements for changes are gathered in the first phase and documented so that development changes are known and made with reliability to the requirement. The main benefit of waterfall is that the time spent in the beginning to refine and validate the requirements improves the testing and delivery speed. However, changing requirements in the later testing and go-live phases are complicated.
- Some use a combination of each; for example, projects are built in Jira, and support issues are handled through the ITSM helpdesk
– A combination of agile and waterfall can be used for either project work and/or support changes, allowing them to use whichever makes sense for the appropriate size, timeline, and resource limitations of the requested changes. This gives the most flexibility and allows them to select an appropriate development process.
How Rev-Trac helps
Whatever approach you adopt, keeping the originating system up to date with the progress of SAP change using Rev-Trac’s Data synchronization integration capability is essential.
When managing SAP changes and the associated support ticket using an ITSM tool or managing project work using a DevOps development support tool, it is vital to ensure all changes are linked and are kept in sync with one another.
This can be done manually but is very prone to errors or can be completely missed altogether! Automating the integration between Rev-Trac and the various toolsets should be done with the REST industry-standard protocol, which includes safely encrypted data traffic and password token exchanges to meet today’s rigorous security requirements.
The benefits of integrating Rev-Trac with these external software platforms are:
- Rev-Trac requests can be automatically created
- Rev-Trac and external toolset field values can be synchronized
- Users remain in their preferred systems and benefit from their preferred interfaces and dashboards
- Dependencies can be set up to ensure validation of an outcome or status is achieved in a specific environment before the workflow can continue
- Visibility/synchronization when a change is delivered and completed
- Testcases can be triggered in the remote testing toolset based on data passed from the Rev-Trac request, such as objects or transports
- Code standard checking can be automated from a Rev-Trac status approval to ensure it is performed with every code change
How do our customers integrate Rev-Trac with their toolsets?
- Most of the Rev-Trac integrations are to the customer’s ITSM toolset, such as ServiceNow, Remedy, MicroFocus, Cherwell, and Jenkins
- Many automate the creation of a Rev-Trac request based on either creating a ticket in the ITSM toolset or setting a field, or updating the status to trigger the webhook (outgoing REST payload containing the data to send to the Rev-Trac Master)
- Some customers automate from Rev-Trac to the remote ITSM toolset – creating the ticket before migrating changes to production
- Some include sending updates when a field in the ITSM tool (such as state or approval) changes to set the status of the linked Rev-Trac request. This can also be done bi-directionally
Testing software toolsets:
- Many of the Rev-Trac testing integrations are using TOSCA (Tricentis), Panaya and Worksoft toolset. The bottom line is that they can also integrate with any toolset that has a REST API
- Integrating your Rev-Trac request with a testing toolset allows you to automatically approve a testing status in Rev-Trac when the test case (or test plan if that is possible to link test cases into a test plan) passes. Doing this eliminates one more approval that a user must perform
- Rev-Trac request statuses are automatically sent back to the developer when a test case fails. This is due to the REST API reverting the Rev-Trac workflow to “In Progress” status of the workflow
- Several Rev-Trac customers have integrated their Rev-Trac workflows with the:
- Jira Epic and Userstory workflows – which improve the automation of status approvals on both toolsets where appropriate
- Many Rev-Trac customers integrate Rev-Trac for SAP object impact analysis toolsets:
- LiveCompare (Tricentis) offers a toolset to pass transports across to the LiveCompare server returning a report showing all the objects in SAP that are impacted by the changes made in the transport. Doing this offers insight into the depth of testing required for the change
- Control for Transport (Onapsis) provides a toolset to validate the technical transport attribute settings needed for a transport to ensure it is meeting the audit requirements. Integrating this functionality with the Rev-Trac toolset ensures these checks are passed or failed, and the Rev-Trac workflow is approved or reverted on the check.
Code Standard and Review:
- Most of the Rev-Trac customers have implemented a code standard checking toolset to ensure that all coding standards have been validated before allowing the changes to be released.
- Control for Code (Onapsis) (“CodeProfiler”) is a toolset that integrates with Rev-Trac workflow to ensure that before a Rev-Trac request is approved to migrate to the next system, the coding standards have passed their checks.
Production Issue integration:
- This is a new integration that we have introduced called “ITSM Connector”. This toolset allows you to connect your production end-users to your ITSM ticketing software automatically
- Using the standard SAP menu – a new help option is available to allow the end-users to automatically create a new “Incident” in the remote ITSM toolset about an issue they found when using their SAP production environment. It generates a new incident based on screenshots provided automatically from the production user’s screens at the time of the problem.
- Improving usability in SAP creates a better experience for your production users and improves speed to resolve problems found.