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VersionOne CEO Discusses ClearCode Acquisition and Fall 2015 Release

| by Shane Hastie Follow 25 Followers on Oct 29, 2015. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

VersionOne recently acquired ClearCode Labs with a view to incorporating the DevOps capabilities of the ClearCode product into the core VersionOne Agile Lifecycle Management product.  CEO Robert Holler spoke to InfoQ about the acquisition and about the capabilities included in the product for the Fall 2015 release.

According to Holler, the company has been expanding steadily in the last year, having taken a significant investment from a private equity firm about a year ago.  This has allowed them to bring on some new members to the leadership team including David Mitchell as President and COO, Craig Witt as EVP of Worldwide Sales and Verome Johnston as CFO.  This in turn has freed Holler to concentrate on strategic acquisitions.  The company now employs more than 145 people, more than half of whom are based outside of the Head Office in Atlanta. 

VersionOne currently has over 1000 corporate customers, over 140000 paid subscribers as well as several thousand companies with tens of thousands of users for the free Team Edition

Talking about the ClearCode Labs acquisition Holler said that there was a natural fit between the existing ALM product and the DevOps capabilities of ClearCode.  Examining the value stream from customer request to software deployment and use they found that VersionOne had a gap in the "last mile" deployment of software into production use.  This gap is closed by the ClearCode product.

Enterprise organizations around the world are striving to accelerate the delivery of software to respond to changing business demands and outpace competitive market challenges.  Successfully achieving these goals remains challenging despite better processes, collaboration and tools. Combining VersionOne’s agile solution with ClearCode’s DevOps solution extends agile to help organizations optimize their end-to-end delivery lifecycles.

Things that made the acquisition attractive included the alignment between the logical view and level of granularity of work packages that aligns across the two products, which enables information about the state of a story, feature or defect to be visible all the way through the lifecycle from inception to production deployment, and allows organizations to design their delivery stream at the work item level and execute it from inside VersionOne. According to Holler this provides "an unheard of level of integration between ALM and DevOps".  Another serindipitious factor was the location of ClearCode Labs in the Atlanta area, and the cultural fit between the two organizations.

He also discussed other aspects of the Fall 2015 release.  Capabilities included in this release include:

  • Enterprise Dashboards: Provide stakeholders at all levels – portfolio, program and team – with access to dashboards that align with their scope of responsibility. For instance, executives and PMO’s will see reports based on initiative and strategic themes; team leads will see reports focused on features, releases and projects; and developers will see reports focused on sprints, stories, defects and tasks.
  • Kanban Boards: Simplify the prioritization, visualization and tracking of work by class of service, swimlanes grouped by any portfolio level, and count-by-item reports in the VersionOne dashboard panels.
  • Portfolio Budgeting: Enable technology leaders with the ability to allocate budgets across strategic themes, use currency or percentage allocations when planning budgets, and see new visualizations to easily compare actuals to planned budget as work progresses.
  • TeamSync for JIRA: Easily synchronize effort against JIRA work items to VersionOne, including the priority of portfolio and work items. Effort is captured and reported accurately – even in situations where a JIRA user who is not a VersionOne user logs effort against a JIRA work item.
  • Multi-Select Custom Fields: Create custom fields with multi-select capabilities to enable associating work items with multiple categories, such as operating systems, browser versions, departments or components.
  • Communities Import and API: Help users build their collective knowledge by giving them the ability to import best practices and process descriptions from Excel or external sources into their virtual VersionOne Community.

He emphasised the value that their users are reporting from the Communities capability - this enables Communities of Practice to identify their approach to agile implementation and make the information available at the point where it is used.  For instance where story sizing is done in the product the organization's approach to defining story points can be shown in the product.  The new import capability has been of value to coaches and consultants as they are able to prepare the good practice guidelines and import them directly into the product.

Asked about trends they are seeing in the market, Holler said that they see many more multi-thousand person deployments happening, evidence that agile methods are gaining penetration into large organizations globally. These organizations are looking for solutions that scale and the various scaling frameworks are helping this growth. 

He also cited the clear trend towards merging development and deployment into a single platform as being something that their customers are adopting. 

 

 

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