Engineering management vendor Jellyfish launched a value stream management tool this week aimed at software delivery teams looking to reduce process inefficiencies.
Jellyfish's Life Cycle Explorer adds visualizations and workflow recommendations to metrics gleaned from Atlassian's Jira issue tracking software to show how various components of the software lifecycle relate to each other. The tool can identify the source of bottlenecks and slowdowns, estimate the duration of issues with visual depictions, and expose tradeoffs in the development lifecycle.
Value stream management tools such as Jellyfish can help developers identify waste in the software delivery process, said Christopher Condo, an analyst at Forrester Research. They can also see how individual feature backlogs relates to the business problem they are trying to solve. Using end-user metrics to guide engineers is more effective than trial-and-error approaches, he said.
"The connection between the developer and the operations team should be much more intimate and much more collaborative [than it is now]," Condo said. "These tools shine a light on organizational dysfunction that prevents that collaboration and how to improve it."
These tools can also be helpful when software engineering teams work with business managers to set project priorities and deadlines, Condo said. For example, an enterprise might want its development team to deliver software three months. Rather than guessing, software engineering leaders can use value stream management data to determine if they can meet the schedule; if not, they can better negotiate fewer requirements or longer delivery times, Condo said.
Jellyfish DevOps module shines light on CI/CD pipelines
All teams can use the Jellyfish platform, not just those in DevOps mode. However, the overall Jellyfish platform does contain a DevOps module, which -- if configured -- shows DevOps data such as lead time to production and deployment frequency. For example, the tool might show that teams are good at deploying code continuously, but they might not be putting a lot of code out to be deployed, according to Krishna Kannan, head of product at Jellyfish.
DevOps teams, cloud architects and developers are seeking tools to shine a light on sources of friction that threaten to slow the application modernization process, CI/CD pipelines, said Charlotte Dunlap, research director at GlobalData.
"Jellyfish is operating in the sweet spot of the DevOps model by providing enterprises insight into potential problems across the application lifecycle," Dunlap said.
Charlotte DunlapResearch director, GlobalData
The company is going up against several startups, including those focused on observability, FinOps or resource management, and engineering management, Dunlap said. However, the technology will eventually integrate with offerings from broader platform providers.
Condo echoed Dunlap's prediction.
"I suspect that a lot of DevOps tool products are going to start adding what I would call VSM consoles to their to their tooling," he said.
Every value management tool has pros and cons, Condo said. For example, enterprises can come up to speed with Jellyfish very quickly in a couple of weeks, while a product like Tasktop might take a couple of months because it requires a lot of API integration. Jellyfish Life Cycle Explorer only works with Jira at the present time, while Tasktop connects to almost every major software delivery tool via APIs.
Other competitors in the space include startup Allstacks, which has raised $21.2 million in funding since its inception in 2017. Atlassian also offers its own tools in Jira Align and Jira Roadmaps that provide views into Jira workflows managers. CI/CD vendors such as CloudBees also increasingly offer value stream management features.
While Jira is Jellyfish's primary issue tracking software integration, it also draws on other integrations to collect metrics, according to a company spokesperson. These include source control repositories, such as GitHub, GitLab and Bitbucket; incident management tools, such as PagerDuty and Opsgenie; CI/CD tools, such as Jenkins, CircleCI and Bamboo; and product planning tools, such as Atlassian's Confluence, Aha!, ProductPlan and Productboard.
Jellyfish claims more than 300 enterprise customers, including Mastercard, Priceline and ZoomInfo. Life Cycle Explorer is included in the cost of the Jellyfish platform, which is priced as an annual subscription per engineer.