February 16, 2017 | IBM Z

Implementing an Effective DevOps JCL Testing Solution Requires Real Expertise


Implementing an Effective DevOps JCL Testing Solution Requires Real Expertise

It is a real challenge to deliver high-quality software that meets customers’ needs, in a timeframe that meets or exceeds the business demand.  In fact, according to the 2015 QUALITEST Report*, poorly tested software costs US companies an estimated $60B per year.


Overcoming this challenge requires a re-evaluation of the methodologies and toolsets used to test and deliver batch applications via existing Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) processes. Further, the tools in place to test and deliver updated batch applications are often not well integrated into a comprehensive solution.  We have all dealt with poorly-implemented and partially-integrated software solutions. Solutions where users have to ‘login’ to multiple applications on different platforms are inherently inefficient and at risk of user error and inconsistent results.  The inefficiencies caused by ‘disparate tools’ cannot be overstated.


The principles of DevOps can help realize the need for high-speed delivery of quality batch software systems.  DevOps is based on ‘agile’ and ‘lean’ principles, and their underlying feedback loops play a vital role is speeding up time-to-market.  Getting all stakeholders collaborating on the solution, at the beginning of the SDLC processes, goes a long way towards ensuring that high-quality, operable software solutions are realized more quickly.  These DevOps principles can play a vital role in ensuring that the outcome matches the vision; high-speed, quality delivery of batch applications that includes comprehensive, automated testing of the JCL and other components.


To meet today’s demands for speedy delivery of high-quality solutions, the ‘toolkit’ must evolve into one integrated, automated, intuitive solution, based on DevOps principles.   Intuitiveness, or ‘ease of use’, is an often overlooked critical success factor that must be considered to provide a sustainable solution.


Evolving to one cohesive ‘DevOps-focused’ process and platform that can deliver high quality batch applications requires specialized expertise.  You wouldn’t hire a plumber, or even a general contractor, to do electrical work.  You need to engage a vendor partner with the necessary expertise and experience.

To guarantee the best results possible partner with the vendor who gives you the best chance of success:

  • Expertise evaluating, designing, and enhancing best practice batch application lifecycle processes. The vendor needs to have a consultative approach to designing and integrating the JCL lifecycle that best meets your business needs, in order to deliver the vision/value expected.
  • Knowledge and experience designing and implementing DevOps-compatible JCL testing solutions into existing SDLC processes.
  • A proven practice focused on implementing and integrating comprehensive batch / JCL testing solutions.
  • JCL Management tool capabilities and expertise to implement the appropriate JCL evaluation processes into the appropriate stages of the batch application testing processes. This needs to include JCL validation capabilities, naming/standards enforcement, automated JCL conversion based on test environment, automated regression testing, and dependency mapping capabilities. The Plus+Pack suite of software, from Software Engineering of America, provides these key functions.  In a separate blog I will discuss the details of the key JCL-related capabilities needed to complete this solution.
  • A dedicated support team of batch / JCL experts who can address questions and offer advice on the Best Practices for JCL Management and defect avoidance.

Keys To Success:  To recap, all of the following factors are necessary to ensure an integrated solution that automates all aspects of JCL testing in order to deliver high-quality batch applications as quickly as possible:

  1. Vision – A comprehensive vision of the solution and expected results. Test every milestone against that vision.
  2. Best-Of-Breed Tools – Most thorough and robust JCL tools to ensure the best results.
  3. Automation & Integration – Automate as much as reasonable while integrating all components into one comprehensive solution.
  4. Expertise – Partner with a vendor like SEA who specializes in this area.


*Source – 2015 QUALITEST Report