Mainframe Blog

Know the Odds with the Right KPIs

2 minute read
Mark Schettenhelm

Throughout our lives, we make decisions based on the facts at hand and the likely outcome of our actions. A classic moment in the film The Empire Strikes Back comes to mind. As they approach an asteroid field, C-3PO tells Han Solo, “The possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.” Solo replies, “Never tell me the odds!”

This type of exchange is repeated in another Star Wars film, Rogue One, with K-2SO telling Cassian Andor and Bodhi Rook the chances of failure and once again, Andor doesn’t want to hear it.

Han Solo and Cassian Andor don’t want to know the facts because they’re not relevant to their decisions. Each knows that their chances at success are nearly impossible, but they will proceed anyway. Is this how we approach our software development projects? Do we proceed without facts? There is something to be said for reckless abandon in a movie, but perhaps not in a development project. As we approach our own “asteroid fields”—the bottlenecks and other anomalies that slow development—do we want to exhibit boldness, but this time, informed by relevant information?

If yes, then what information is helpful to that decision and where do we get it? One good source of data around mainframe software development is BMC AMI zAdviser, a service provided free with current maintenance, which continuously measures your processes and uses machine learning to help improve them.

Here are some examples of information zAdviser can provide:

  • Learn exactly how long it takes on average to go from checking out code until test, or even to production. You can use this metric to identify high-performing teams and learn from them.
  • Identify programs that are taking significantly longer to work with. These may represent areas where refactoring can make a difference.
  • What does “Good” look like? zAdviser aggregates all data allowing you to compare your KPIs to all other customers (data is kept anonymous).
  • Look at percent of Abends escaping into production compared to your overall abends. These are the abends that your users are going to experience.
  • A Development Manager saw that it was taking 3 weeks to test the code the developers took 4 days to write. He commented that this is what his developers have been telling him for a while but there was no concrete method of proving or showing it to senior management. If you are looking to implement automated testing, these are the metrics you can use for your baseline and for measuring progress. You can read more about it in “Improving Quality and Shift-Left Testing with BMC AMI zAdviser” by Spencer Hallman.

zAdviser provides visibility into successful practices and helps detect problem areas, delivering actionable insights so you can address them and proceed boldly but safely, avoiding the asteroid fields that can decrease the quality, velocity, and efficiency of your mainframe software delivery.

Learn more about improving your DevOps processes with actionable data in the e-book, “Charting Your Mainframe DevOps KPIs for Continuous Improvement.”

Access the 2023 Mainframe Report

The results of the 18th annual BMC Mainframe Survey are in, and the state of the mainframe remains strong. Overall perception of the mainframe is positive, as is the outlook for future growth on the platform, with workloads growing and investment in new technologies and processes increasing.

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

Mark Schettenhelm

Mark is a DevOps Evangelist and Lead Product Manager at BMC who has experience working with developers around the world in Source Control Management, Testing, DevOps and Application Portfolio Analysis. He is a frequent conference speaker, webinar presenter, blogger, and columnist, often explaining the benefits of bringing Agile and DevOps to mainframe development and encouraging development teams to adopt new methodologies and continuously improve.

His writing has appeared in Enterprise Executive and Enterprise Tech Journal and he is a frequent contributor to and SHARE Tech Watch. Mark is currently the Lead Product Manager for BMC products in Source Control Management, Deploy, Code and Fault Analysis.