How VersionOne Supports SAFe 4.0

300x250-View-NowScaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) 4.0 clarifies many aspects of the framework that have been evolving since its inception. It also adds explicit support for the development of very large systems. Even so, you may still be finding your SAFe transformation a little more challenging than you expected.

Here’s how VersionOne can help with your SAFe 4.0 implementation:

3- and 4-Level SAFe

SAFe 4.0 introduces an optional fourth level to explicitly represent the Value Stream. The 4-level model is intended for large systems that realize customer value via the aggregation of features from multiple release trains into a solution.

SAFe 4.0 Big Picture used with permission from © 2011-2016 Scaled Agile, Inc. All rights reserved. Original Big Picture graphic found at

SAFe 4.0 Big Picture used with permission from © 2011-2016 Scaled Agile, Inc.
All rights reserved. Original Big Picture graphic found at

VersionOne’s n-tier Project Tree enables you to easily create as many organizational tiers as needed. So whether you have a 3-level or 4-level SAFe implementation, or a combination of both models within the same enterprise, it’s just a matter of configuring the Project Tree.

A VersionOne Project Tree, with 3- and 4-Level SAFe

A VersionOne Project Tree, with 3- and 4-Level SAFe

Enterprise Kanban Systems

Multi-level Kanban is an important addition in SAFe 4.0. By having Kanbans at the Portfolio, Value Stream, and Program levels, Epics, Capabilities, and Features can all be visualized and managed for flow and economic benefit.

VersionOne has provided multi-level Kanbans for quite some time. Kanban Boards are configurable as appropriate at each level. By using Kanban boards, you configure your workflows, establish WIP limits to assure flow, provide real-time visibility for work in process, and drill into the underlying details as needed.

A Kanban Board in VersionOne

A Kanban Board in VersionOne

SAFe 4.0 also recognizes Kanban at the team level. By using TeamRoom™, VersionOne makes it easy for Kanban teams and iterative teams to coexist and collaborate within the same program.

Capabilities & Enablers

SAFe 4.0 has introduced two new portfolio item types: Capabilities and Enablers. Capabilities are aggregations of Features, and are the means by which solutions are delivered to customers at the Value Stream level.  In VersionOne, a Capability is simply a Portfolio Item type. Configuring a Portfolio Item type is easy, and includes the ability to distinguish one type from another by color.

A Portfolio Tree in VersionOne

A Portfolio Tree in VersionOne

Enablers are technical undertakings that support Stories, Features, Capabilities, and Epics. Enablers may be found at all levels, so you might have Enabler Epics, Enabler Capabilities, Enabler Features, and Enabler Stories. Each of these can be configured as a Portfolio Item type or Story type. Some organizations prefer to keep their type lists as lean as possible, and opt to use a custom field to designate a Portfolio Item or Story an as Enabler.  Either way will work.

Communities of Practice

SAFe 4.0 refers to Communities of Practice as “informational working groups designed specifically for efficient knowledge sharing and exploration across teams and groups of professions”. The idea is that as people become distributed across different teams and value streams, there needs to be a way to keep them connected. If “Communities of Practice” is too formal for your liking, Spotify’s “Chapters” and “Guilds” are different ways of expressing the same thing.

VersionOne Communities support your Communities of Practice by allowing people to communicate and collaborate on shared knowledge and “better practices” within the VersionOne platform.

Communities in VersionOne

Communities in VersionOne

Communities may also be used by your organization’s Agile Center of Excellence (or similar) to communicate guidance that applies across Teams, Programs, Value Streams, or Portfolios.

 Strategic Themes

Although not new with SAFe 4.0, Strategic Themes are a key factor to succeeding with SAFe – especially with very large systems. That’s because they are the high-level enterprise business objectives that guide and constrain portfolio-level investment.

Strategic Themes in VersionOne

Strategic Themes in VersionOne

Once you’ve created your Strategic Themes in VersionOne, you can identify and group your Epics by Strategic Theme. Then, using VersionOne Budgets, you can make specific capacity, currency, or percentage allocations to your Strategic Themes, and then track progress against those allocations.

Portfolio Budgeting

SAFe 4.0 advocates the allocation of budgets to Value Streams. VersionOne Budgets allow you to do just that. Budgeting can be allocated in terms of specific quantities of capacity or currency, or in terms of a percentage of the total. As work progresses, visualizations allow you to easily compare actuals to your planned budget.

Budgets in VersionOne

Budgets in VersionOne

As mentioned earlier, Budgets may also be allocated by Strategic Theme.

VersionOne also enables you to distinguish between work related to capital and operational expenses at any level that you need to track them. This facilitates CapEx and OpEx reporting.

Built-in Quality

VersionOne facilitates building quality in via its native Acceptance Test and Regression Testing capabilities, as well as its support for a wide selection of TDD, BDD, and ATDD tools.

A Sample of VersionOne’s Integrations

A Sample of VersionOne’s Integrations


SAFe 4.0 emphasizes agility and coordination throughout the enterprise. To enable the effective flow of value, software delivery and deployment processes must be tightly integrated across Teams, Programs, and Value Streams. In addition, as release batches become smaller, release velocity increases, and Value Streams become more complex, the ability to easily track and automate the flow of value all the way through production deployment becomes increasingly crucial.

VersionOne Continuum: End-to-End Continuous Delivery Solution

VersionOne Continuum: End-to-End Continuous Delivery Solution

More than simply DevOps automation, VersionOne Continuum™ is an enterprise-scale continuous delivery solution for orchestrating and visualizing the flow of change throughout the software delivery cycle. For an in-depth look at VersionOne Continuum, take a look here.


VersionOne is a Scaled Agile, Inc. Gold Certified Partner in both the Agile Tooling and Services categories. In addition to extensive support for SAFe 4.0, VersionOne’s Services team delivers training and consulting services through certified SAFe Program Consultants to help organizations implement and succeed with agile and the SAFe framework.

Interested in learning more? Join Dean Leffingwell for a free webinar to learn what’s new in each level of SAFe 4.0. Click here to register.


Continuum is a trademark of VersionOne Inc.
Scaled Agile Framework and SAFe are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.

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Top 10 Agile & DevOps Blog Posts of 2015

thumbnailTime flies when you’re having fun, right? We rushed through 2015 and we saw some excellent posts. Together with our bloggers our goal is to create free insightful and actionable content to help you with your agile and DevOps journeys.

To help us get started with a great 2016, we thought it could be helpful to share 10 of the most popular blog posts for inspiration:

1. Three Leadership Musts for DevOps 
To enable success, there are three “musts” that leadership should have when launching a DevOps movement. These “musts” are based on the premise that DevOps requires disruptive leadership.

2. 10 Benefits of Agile You Definitely Don’t Want to Miss Out On
Are you sure you’re receiving the most benefits of agile possible? Read this article to learn what nearly 4,000 of your agile peers said were the benefits of agile that their organizations are receiving.

3. ScrumMaster: Servant Leader or Secretary?
In Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) courses, many Scrum myths are busted. One such myth is that the ScrumMaster is somehow an administrative assistant to a development team, to a product owner or to an organization.

4. Top 10 Tips for Measuring Agile Success
Choosing the right agile metric to measure agile success is really simple, right? I wish that were the case, but in reality choosing the correct agile metric can be a little tricky.

5. What Kind of Agile Are You?
As many as 94% of organizations are practicing some form of agile according to 9th annual State of Agile survey™, yet I have first-hand experience seeing countless organizations that aren’t doing agile right, aren’t getting the maximum benefits and are just taking a superficial approach. So how can you tell if your organization is doing agile right?

6. Measuring What Counts: Introducing the Better, Faster, Cheaper, Happier Measurement Framework
The single biggest problem we see is organizations not understanding why they are changing the way they work – they don’t visualize the goal, set any targets, measure the improvements, nor demonstrate the benefits generated. In this article we will look at one way to establish a measurement dashboard to support your agile transformation.

7. The 7 Best DevOps Books
With the relative newness of DevOps, there are not yet a ton of DevOps books. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of the 7 best DevOps books based on four criteria: the number of ratings from Amazon, the average Amazon rating, number of ratings from GoodReads and the average GoodReads rating. Both Amazon and GoodReads use a scale of 1 to 5 stars with 5 stars being the best.

8. Why Agile Won’t Make You More Productive
According to the 9th annual State of Agile™ survey, more organizations are adopting agile in order to improve productivity. This made me wonder why there is a perception that if companies transition to agile, teams will be more productive. I could see where delivering working software frequently and at a sustainable pace speaks to teams being more productive in agile.

9. How the Words You Use Affect Your Team
Words have a huge impact on team members affecting their work and ultimately your project, yet we often don’t put much thought into the words we use every day. Check out some of the positive and negative connotations of traditional and agile project management words.

10. 7 Tips We Learned About SAFe from Dean Leffingwell
Here are seven tips I learned from the recent AgileLIVE Webinar on “Scaling Agile Faster, Easier, Smarter with SAFe and VersionOne.” In addition, there were more questions than we had time to answer during the live event. I’ve attached the Q&A here.

What were some of your most memorable agile and DevOps blog posts of 2015?

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Scaling Agile Across the Enterprise: An Interview with Kelley Blue Book

At Agile 2015, we had the opportunity to interview Stacy Lin, senior director of product intelligence at Kelley Blue Book, to find out how their organization is using VersionOne to successfully scale agile project management.

In the video below, Stacy talks about Kelley Blue Book’s positive relationship with VersionOne. As their agile needs have grown, VersionOne has been with them every step of the way.


  • Kelley Blue Book’s transition proved successful and now VersionOne is implemented across many Cox Automotive business units
  • VersionOne offers a single, common platform to manage and prioritize work
  • Kelley Blue Book benefited from flexibility to meet the needs of Scrum and Kanban teams
  • Cox Automotive now has the opportunity to build an agile community of knowledge within the organization


Kelley Blue Book, the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry, started implementing agile in 2005. Initially, the teams began with sticky  notes to manage their backlog, stories and tasks. However, as the organization scaled agile in 2007, they realized they needed an online solution that could help them efficiently manage complex projects. Particularly when it came to reporting on the velocity and other metrics, they needed an alternative to the manual effort of entering data into Excel and SharePoint.


After an extensive evaluation of several agile lifecycle management solutions, Kelley Blue Book selected VersionOne because of its usability. They had a pilot for eight weeks with two teams – one on-shore and one off-shore. The teams not only found the solution easy to use, but they also increased productivity.  As a result, the management team decided to roll VersionOne out to all of Kelley Blue Book.  Since then, VersionOne has scaled with Kelley Blue Book’s agile adoption and now has more than 250 users on the platform. The use of VersionOne has been so successful, that the solution been implemented in many of the business units throughout Cox Automotive, Kelley Blue Book’s parent company.


According to Stacy, “Kelley Blue Book and VersionOne have been very good partners for more than eight years. As agile adoption in the software development industry has grown, VersionOne  has continued to add new functionality to support the needs of enterprises that are scaling Agile. VersionOne has been a great support in our Agile journey.”

Now Kelley Blue Book and the other Cox Automotive business units have a common platform and a consistent language to easily manage their Agile initiatives. For example, when it comes to managing its top-rated website (, an extremely large and complex website, the product managers and Scrum teams have the platform to efficiently manage their work at all levels. In addition, the Portfolio Kanban Board in VersionOne provides one clear view of where all the epics and portfolio items are in flight, so the leadership can see progress at-a-glance and make sure that teams are aligned with business priorities.

While the organization’s agile transformation started with just Scrum teams, over time there were teams that preferred Kanban. The inherent flexibility with VersionOne allows teams to use different methodologies and still provide an integrated view of all  agile initiatives in one platform.

Now that VersionOne has been implemented across Cox Automotive, the organization can share and start to build a community of knowledge. For instance, at the annual Cox Automotive Agile Open, all of the business units get together to talk about their agile practices and learn from each other.

Please visit VersionOne’s YouTube page for more video interviews.


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4X Faster Time to Market: An Interview with Autotrader

4X Faster Time to Market: An Interview with Autotrader

We recently had the opportunity to interview Nick Park, director of experience delivery, and Sherolyn Sellers, manager, process delivery at Autotrader, to find out how their organization is using VersionOne to successfully scale agile.

In the video below, Park talks about how the structure and flexibility of the VersionOne Enterprise Agile Platform is helping teams produce great working software significantly faster.


  • Time-to-market four times faster
  • Visibility into key performance metrics to ensure business alignment
  • Flexibility to support different methodologies – Scrum, Kanban and SAFe
  • Easy to adopt and implement
  • Excellent support


Autotrader, a leading online resource for car shoppers and sellers, is part of Cox Automotive. The entire organization was committed to the idea of agile at scale from the start, so instead of just focusing on agile as a technology team transformation, they looked at the positive impact that agile could have across all the disciplines within the company.


Autotrader started their agile implementation with a small pilot program with cross-functional team. The team decided to use VersionOne to give them a structure to get started with agile processes and their transformation.

After the initial pilot, other teams started asking to get into the system, so the organization selected VersionOne because of its ease-of-use, simple implementation and excellent support. It was very important to get team members up and running with the system quickly.

Autotrader took a planned approach to their implementation to make sure that they were setting up the structures of the actual work, matching it to all the portfolios, and adding team members as it made sense. The progress of adding new users has climbed steadily as they have added teams, and now they have more than 200 users on VersionOne.


With the kick start from working with VersionOne, Autotrader has seen immediate results. The teams were using VersionOne to establish their agile processes and make changes to adapt to their business along the way. After three months, the teams were building momentum and producing working software.

In fact, Autotrader is introducing new releases at least four times faster than before implementing VersionOne now that they have the structure, processes and the visibility to more efficiently manage the work. In addition, defects are decreasing and product quality is increasing because of the level of detail that the teams can capture in the solution.

Stakeholder satisfaction is extremely positive now that the organization has the visibility to manage team velocity, project burndown, and other key performance metrics to make sure they are on track with the goals of the business. Now executives have easy access to the data they need to see progress and make more informed decisions on the prioritization and sequencing of projects. In addition, since Autotrader is part of Cox Automotive, they are adding new procedures and processes so they can start to visualize how projects are aligning with the corporation’s strategic view.

As Autotrader has grown, the fact that they have been using VersionOne since the beginning has allowed them to scale agile without that ever being a concern. Currently the organization has more than 20 Scrum teams and is managing projects at multiple tiers. Autotrader managers are able to use the epic board to see how work is flowing through the system, understand how expectations are being met, and identify any roadblocks or dependencies that need to be resolved. VersionOne has become a critically important system of record.

It has also been important that the inherent flexibility in the VersionOne platform was able to support different roles and methodologies. Autotrader has Scrum and Kanban teams and they are also using the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®). Even though the teams leverage VersionOne in different ways, they have a common platform for overall reporting to make sure there is alignment with the portfolio and initial investments from their leadership.  In addition, the ScrumMasters and Kanban leads have the platform to start building their own community of practice.

According to Sellers, “Hands down, the teams love VersionOne. I have implemented several solutions throughout my career and this is one of the easiest for the users to adopt and use right away. In addition, the support has been great. There’s not a single time that I felt like I was ‘on an island’ and couldn’t get answers to our questions in a very timely manner.”

Please visit VersionOne’s YouTube page for more video interviews.

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Faster Time to Market: An Interview with Cerner

At Agile 2015, we had the opportunity to interview Matt Anderson, director, Cerner Technology Services, to find out how their organization is using VersionOne to accelerate speed to market and increase throughput to stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry.

In the video below, Matt talks about the organization’s partnership with VersionOne has helped them align its people, processes and technology to realize significant results from agile over the past seven years.


  • Time to market reduced by 75%
  • Productivity increased by 24%
  • Development costs reduced by 14%
  • Turnaround time for resolving critical defects reduced by 50%


In 2009, it was typically taking Cerner’s development teams about 30 months – from concept to client adoption – to introduce major innovations. Cerner knew it had to accelerate its products’ time to market to help clients navigate health care reform and to stay competitive in the rapidly changing industry.

To achieve this, Cerner’s developers needed more agility in their software development processes. The solution was the adoption of agile practices across the enterprise. Matt Anderson, director, Cerner Technology Services and Cerner’s leading agile champion, calls the company’s approach “pragmatic agile.” In other words, the enterprise focuses on ensuring that agile principles and values are followed and the teams decide the agile approach they will take.

Successful organizational change must simultaneously incorporate people, process and tools. While Cerner had a great team who was committed to agile processes, they needed an enterprise agile application lifecycle management (agile ALM) platform that would enable the people and processes to succeed. After reviewing several options, they selected VersionOne as their primary tooling partner.


Cerner has more than 3,000 developers, with teams having different needs, different markets, and different preferences in the way they work. Scrum works best for most of their teams, while other teams prefer Kanban, XP, Lean or other variations.

The company selected the VersionOne agile ALM platform because it had the flexibility to accommodate the various agile methodologies being implemented. In addition, they found the platform intuitive and easy to use. “People can focus on doing the real work of software development,” explains Anderson.


For Cerner, success was about having more time to focus on adopting the agile framework rather than adopting a tool. The VersionOne platform’s inherent ease of adoption enabled Cerner to quickly start seeing the benefits of agile – in this case, a 75% reduction in time to market. Other measurable improvements include:

  • Productivity increased by 24%
  • Development costs reduced by 14%
  • Quality improved by 6% based on internal KPIs
  • Turnaround time for resolving critical defects reduced by 50%

In addition, by choosing VersionOne, Cerner development teams can estimate software delivery more accurately, allowing them to forecast and consistently meet their commitments to stakeholders. Developers can identify problems earlier and make midstream adjustments very quickly. And teams can innovate and test prototypes because VersionOne is adaptable enough to support changes to the underlying process.

The flexibility of the VersionOne ALM platform promotes a proactive approach to problem solving across the enterprise. Instead of reacting to issues, Cerner can develop solutions that prevent issues from arising. The flexibility also allows teams to try different things. If the experiment works, Cerner teams incorporate it as a part of their process. If the experiment doesn’t work, they just throw it out and try something else. As Anderson says, “That’s the true spirit of retrospectives.”

Another key benefit of VersionOne is the ease of creating roll-up reports with the ability to drill down from big picture into what teams are doing. With VersionOne, Cerner’s leadership can get a one click view of a release at any point in time. They no longer needed to deal with project management via spreadsheets or Visio, which often contained outdated information and rarely provided the needed level of detail.

“VersionOne is a great partner,” said Anderson. “The company continues to innovate to meet the needs of the agile marketplace. They are justifiably one of the top agile ALM vendors.”

Please visit VersionOne’s YouTube page for more video interviews.

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Happy Holidays from the VersionOne Team!

Happy Holidays from everyone at VersionOne! We hope your holidays will be filled with joy and laughter through the New Year. We’re so grateful for our amazing customers, partners, and friends in the growing agile community.  So we wanted to share our seasons’ greetings in a video featuring the people that power VersionOne. Have fun watching and let us know what you think!

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7 Ways to Get Started with DevOps Today

Transitioning to a DevOps approach can be a confusing and daunting prospect. Looking at organizations that practice DevOps, we may see a completely foreign landscape with a different organizational structure, practices, and an array of new DevOps tools for us to learn.

It’s easy to forget that those companies took a long time to get where they are and that they started with much smaller, much simpler steps. One of the challenges organizations face is that they think the smallest first steps take months and loads of training. In this article, I’m going to discuss seven very small steps that you can start today. Many of these don’t require you to buy new DevOps automation tools or make changes to your organization. They can be done by the CTO or by an interested developer or system administrator. Most importantly, they can be done today; between meetings, during lunch, or on a train ride home.

1)  Invite Your Operations Team Into Your Development Process

Though it may seem obvious, this small change is one of the most often overlooked. This doesn’t need to be a big organizational change. Having an operations team member attend the development team’s standup meeting or a developer sit in with the operations team while they conduct a deployment is a great way to start. The whole purpose of DevOps is to bring these two groups together and the best place to start is small interactions with the members of both teams.

2) Visualize the Work Together

This goes hand-in-hand with bringing operations into your development process. If you’ve got a Scrum board or Kanban board, add a few columns to the end of it – even if it’s as simple as “Waiting for Deployment” and “Deployed.”  It’s a small change, but it sends a clear message that the work isn’t done until it is deployed and usable. After all, that amazing feature doesn’t help anyone while it’s sitting in the code repository.

3) Automate Your Test/Build Process

OK, this one definitely involves solutions, but it isn’t as difficult as you might think. VersionOne offers demonstrations of its new Continuum™ for DevOps solution, while other free continuous integration tools exist. Grab a copy and run it on your local machine. Within an hour or so, you can have yourself set up to check out the code from source control, build the project, and run the unit tests. Once that’s working, you can set it to run each time code is checked in to the repository. Congratulations! You now have information about how often your check-ins build and run all tests successfully. You can even set it to send a notification when it fails and provide fast feedback to your whole team. You aren’t quite at continuous integration yet, but it’s a big step in the right direction.

4) Create a Deployment Plan

Does your company set aside nights or even whole weekends for deployments? Do unexpected problems always crop up resulting in a mad dash to get the system live before your maintenance window runs out? If so, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many applications and systems evolve over time and maybe you don’t have a good understanding of what libraries got installed to make it work or what system configurations got changed. If you had to deploy your application from scratch, what would you do? This question may lead you to many other people and departments. Once you’ve got a plan, try it out. You may find some holes in your plan. You may also find that there are some complexities in your current environment that don’t need to be there.

5) Identify Fragile Systems

Are any steps in your plan or systems in your deployment problematic? Most application environments have at least one system or component that they would consider fragile. Perhaps it’s an old web server that never quite deploys correctly or a script that works fine until you try to change something. These will be prime candidates for your DevOps efforts. Creating transparency and DevOps automation around these items will make your deployment process faster and easier.

6) Smooth Out Wait States

If fragile components are the biggest pain point in the deployment process, wait states are a close second. Most processes have more time built into them just waiting for people than they have time with actual work being done.  Try thinking through your process and identifying where these wait states are occurring. Then share this with your development and operations teams. See if there are a few wait states you can smooth out.

7) Link Your Work to Your Value

Most of the points I’ve discussed are technical, but remember what’s driving DevOps. The reason we follow our process through deployment is because our hard work isn’t producing value until it’s in front of a user. The closer we get to the code and configuration, the more our language starts to focus on commits, builds, and artifacts. Try using business language like features and functionality in your deployment plans. Not only will this connect you more to the value your work is delivering, but it will also keep you thinking about what else needs to make it through the deployment process. Maybe this feature isn’t available until the server upgrade happens. Was that worked into your deployment process? What about the important configuration change?

Then What?

If you take these small steps, you’ll already be well on your way to a strong DevOps culture. But what about all those solutions you hear about? As you expand your DevOps effort, you’ll find that many of them are indispensible. The question is: which ones? Going through these initial steps can give you an understanding of how your team operates and gets its work in front of users. Once you know that, you’ll really be able to get the most out of those solutions. So learn more about how your team works, then dive into all of the amazing solutions out there to help you work better.

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Better Visibility of Complex Agile Projects: An Interview with CareerBuilder

At an Agile Day Atlanta event, we had the opportunity to interview Andy Krupit, the manager, agile development, and Thomas Connell, the team lead, corporate applications support team, at CareerBuilder about why they selected VersionOne Ultimate edition.

In the video below, Krupit talks about how they significantly improved tracking and reporting of complex projects for a global organization which helped them decrease defects by 25%.

Here are some key takeaways from the videos:


  • Improved visibility into projects
  • Enhanced tracking of key metrics
  • Decreased defects 25%


CareerBuilder has the largest online job site in the U.S. and the global leader in human capital solutions and has agile teams around the world. Initially CareerBuilder’s agile teams were using whiteboards and post-it notes to manage projects. The CIO saw the success of these teams and decided to scale agile across the entire IT organization.  This created a lot of remote teams and the whiteboards and post-it notes just weren’t working anymore. They tried to use some non-agile project management tools they already had in place, but nothing replicated the success they had using whiteboards and post-it notes. They needed an online solution that reproduced the visual and tactile benefits of physically moving cards across a whiteboard in front of their teams.


After an extensive evaluation of several leading agile lifecycle management solutions, CareerBuilder was confident that VersionOne provided the best combination of online boards, custom workflows and access to the data. The online boards and custom workflows enabled the remote teams to replicate the success they had with colocated teams and the data allowed them to track progress in ways they couldn’t with whiteboards and post-it notes.


“VersionOne provides everyone, from executives to developers, visibility into how we are progressing toward our business goals,” says Krupit. “Before VersionOne they could not efficiently track metrics, but now CareerBuilder is able to help individual teams continually improve quality. In fact, since CareerBuilder implemented VersionOne, defects have decreased 25%.”

Please visit VersionOne’s YouTube page for more video interviews.

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Improving Product Quality with Agile: An Interview with ABB Enterprise Software

At an Agile On Deck event, we had the opportunity to interview Scott Madden, senior director, product operations at ABB Enterprise Software, to find out why the organization selected VersionOne Ultimate edition.

In the video below, Scott talks about how they increased on-time delivery to 91%, decreased the defect backlog 40%, and decreased defects released to the customers 30%.


  • ABB transitioned 800 team members to a single enterprise agile platform and agile methodology in seven weeks
  • On-time delivery has increased to 91%
  • Defect backlog has decreased 40%
  • Defects released to customers has decreased 30%


ABB is a world leader in electrical engineering comprised of nine separate business units. Each of ABB’s business units are run by a product manager who had their own processes, architecture and tools. Management was manually collecting consolidating spreadsheets from disparate teams all around the world. ABB’s siloed product management organizations and spreadsheets made visibility into the progress of the entire enterprise portfolio extremely difficult. The senior leadership team recognized that they needed more visibility across the nine business units to improve on-time delivery and product quality.


ABB transitioned 800 team members from using different tools and development process to using a single enterprise agile platform and agile methodology in seven weeks. After an extensive evaluation of several leading agile solutions, ABB was confident that VersionOne provided the best combination of enterprise agile software and guidance from enterprise agile transformation experts to help them go from many different teams with many different methodologies and different ways of reporting on those methodologies to a single system that brought them all together.


Since ABB implemented VersionOne the defect backlog has decreased 40%, defects released to customers have decreased 30%, and on-time delivery has increased to 91%. VersionOne enables ABB leadership to get greater visibility directly through the platform to see how individual teams are progressing. Before VersionOne it was nearly impossible to even track quality on a team by team basis, but now ABB is able to help individual teams continually improve quality and accelerate delivery within the context of the enterprise portfolio.

According to Madden, “VersionOne is not just a vendor. They are a partner. From implementation all the way through the life of our relationship with VersionOne, I believe it will be a world-class experience.”

Please visit VersionOne’s YouTube page for more video interviews.

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DevOps Trends: Adoption Expanding in Enterprises

During a recent webinar series on “Building a DevOps Culture & Infrastructure for Success,” we asked the audience to rate their confidence with knowing what features and/or fixes are in any given release. We were surprised to find out that only 12% were really sure that they could describe the functional changes within any given release with precision.

To help us further understand and overcome the barriers to realizing the vision of DevOps, we recently surveyed enterprise IT leaders to get their insights on DevOps adoption.

Here are the DevOps Adoption Survey results:DevOps Adoption Rates

DevOps Adoption Moving Into the Mainstream

Approximately 73% of the respondents are currently using DevOps for production systems, pilot programs, or they plan to adopt DevOps in the next 24 months.


#1 Driver for DevOps – Improve Quality, Consistency & Repeatability

DriversHistorically, the need to increase deployment frequency has been cited as the primary factor driving DevOps initiatives. However, this seems to be changing. In our survey, the desire to improve quality, consistency and repeatability was the highest rated DevOps driver (88%). The need to increase deployment frequency has dropped to the second most common driver (62%) followed by the need to reduce failure rate of new releases (57%). As DevOps practices move further into the enterprise, increasing the overall quality of software delivery may be overshadowing the need for speed.

DevOps Success RatesDevOps Adoption Increasing, But We’re Still in the Early Learning Stages

Only 33% of the respondents said that DevOps has been successful, while 54% said that DevOps has been moderately successful, and 13% said that it has not been successful.




Need to Improve Ability to Track the Flow of Business Value

Perhaps one of the biggest takeaways from our DevOps survey was the need to increase the overall organizational proficiency of tracking the flow of business value – from idea to production.  Approximately 88% of the respondents gave their organization a moderate or low efficiency rating for their ability to track and manage features and/or fixes.

Number of SystemsThe Number of Systems Are Part of the Problem

Part of the challenge may be the number of systems that need to be accessed in order efficiently manage and track features and/or fixes. Nearly 85% of the respondents are reconciling multiple systems to identify the business work items included within a specific environment or release at any given point in time.

Cumbersome Manual Processes Add Extra Effort

DevOps ProcessesIn addition, 87% said that pulling a list of features and/or fixes is manual – either very manual with spreadsheets, etc. (29%) or partially manual by combining and/or aggregating data generated by automated tools (58%).




Challenges Due to Disconnected and Fragmented Delivery Tools

So what are some of the challenges that organizations have experienced due to the disconnected and fragmented delivery tools? Here are some of the specific quotes from the survey respondents:

“Missed priorities, missed opportunities and rework”

“Delayed delivery and compromised quality”

“Bad code, bad data, no change management, lack of understanding”

“No traceability and no one knows what is in given releases, raising necessary questions”

“Manual deployment of the features has a high margin of error”

“Unknown and untested code making it to production. Incomplete functionality being delivered.”

“Re-work, extra effort, release delivery risks”

“System in off line for many minutes”

“Functional outages and degraded performance due to not deploying an integrated set of changes – code, database, and configurations – with specific features”

“Conflicts between delivery teams working on related (known or unknown) systems”

“Lack of confidence about possible errors”

Introducing Unified Software Development and Delivery

In my last blog post, I explained that while propagating the vision of DevOps has been a success, executing against it often remains challenging – especially in the enterprise. I believe that successfully unifying plan, develop, validate, deploy and run workflows is still challenging for two fundamental reasons:

  1. Plan and develop work items (features, fixes, stories, etc.) are not directly linked to operational outputs (builds, artifacts, environments, etc.)
  2. Lots of fragmented automation make it difficult to orchestrate and creates many pockets of siloed data.

In order to make the vision of DevOps a reality, a truly unified platform that supports the end-to-end delivery stream – from idea to production – is a primary requirement. The VersionOne® Continuum for DevOps solution is one example of this type of platform.  For more information, visit

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