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2017

In the past few years, many CA customers have migrated their CA PPM environment from on-premise to SaaS. The first step in this process is to run a discovery script to ensure that the customer’s CA PPM instance is SaaS compliant and identify any customizations that have been developed.

 

I can hear you’ saying, “The discovery script tool sounds great. It should be available to CA PPM administrators and advanced users for health checks, customization reports and/or troubleshooting. Reports should be generated in a few easy steps.”

 

Well, I’m happy to announce that a new customization discovery analysis report has been integrated as an out-of-the-box feature in CA PPM. Read on for more details.

 

In what CA PPM version is the new customization discovery analysis report available?

It’s in CA PPM 15.2 and higher versions.

 

What information does the report provide?

This report was designed for CA Technologies Global Delivery teams, CA Support, and advanced administrators to help them prepare to migrate from an on-premise to SaaS environment. Bear in mind that some customizations allowed in an on-premise system are not permitted in SaaS. Also, the report includes an estimated level of complexity for the migration, based on non-compliant objects and other factors.

 

How do I run the report?

 

1.    Prepare to run the report.

 

Rights: Only administrators should be allowed access. Ensure that your administrators have the following rights:

       Administration - Application Setup global access right

       Administration - Access to access the administrator menu

       Jobs - Access global access right

       Jobs - Run - All (or at least the instance level right for running the PPM Customization Discovery Analysis job)

 

Administrators must be added to the Log Analysis Access group to access the health report page.


 

2.    Run the report: There are two different ways to run the report:

 

a) “One Click” from Health Report:

·         Go to the Security and Diagnostics section of the Administration menu and click on Health Report.

·         Click on Download Discovery Analysis Report.

 


 

b) From Jobs (optional): Suggested method for large deployments.

·           Go to the Administration menu in Data Administration and Jobs.

·           Search for PPM Customization Discovery Analysis job.

·           Select the Active check box.

 


 

The job results are in an Excel spreadsheet that can also be emailed to the recipient if that is specified in the job parameters at the time of execution.


 

Do you have any advice on how to analyze the report?

The output contains many tabs of data: Cover Page, Non-Compliant Objects, Non-Compliant DB Source, Custom Triggers Detail, Custom Procedures Detail, Custom Functions Detail, Custom Views Detail, Custom Synonyms Detail, Custom Packages Detail, Grid Portlets, Grid Object Portlets, Graph Portlets, Filter Portlets, HTML Portlets, Interactive Portlets, NSQL Code, Reports, Custom Studio Objects, Custom Attributes, Gel Scripts, Processes, Scheduled Jobs, TimeSlices, Email Anomalies, Install History, File Store, Dynamic Lookups, Custom Groups, Transactions, License Counts, Custom Java jobs, Custom Stored Proc Jobs and GD Components.

 


** Note: Data analysis requires advanced technical skills.

 

The report contains very detailed information with names, IDs, and source code. A task that requires hours of deep-dive analysis is determining why an object has been flagged as non-compliant. Some of the most common causes are:

  • Customizations done directly in the database instead of using CA PPM studio, such as creating triggers, store procedures, tables, views or indexes.
  • Portlets, dynamic lookups and scripts that rely on non-compliant database customizations or hard-coded URLs in the custom code.
  • Custom integrations.

 

Analysis requires collaboration between skilled technical and functional resources who are knowledgeable about the particular environment’s specifics. Once the discovery analysis has provided a full scan of the system to help users make it SaaS compliant, the organization must conduct a cleanup to remove obsolete customizations.

Some organizations document all technical changes and enhancements, but they may also become obsolete. But in my experience, many unsupported and non-compliant customizations are not kept in customers’ documentation or a private knowledge base. The discovery analysis report is an excellent tool for getting a detailed picture of environment customizations.

 

For readers interested in more detail, check out DocOps. I encourage you to participate in the best-in-class CA Communities site, where you have access to your peers, events and support. You can also reach out to CA Services for information about CA PPM release 15.2 upgrades/implementations and individualized business outcome references and analysis. Feel free to post in the comments section of this blog or contact me directly via email and Twitter @aurora_ppm.

 

Hello, PPM Practitioners. Our roles are multi-faceted, and it’s easy to get trapped by seemingly competing forces. We focus on at least three levers: Technical and Functional as well as Business Value. In earlier posts, I discussed the Value Enablement Layer; here, we will dive deeper into balancing our PPM maturity initiatives as to move our organizations toward their desired outcomes. The model below illustrates our investment in these levers.

 

 

You may have seen similar models for project cost, quality and risk. I’ve re-purposed the model for PPM solution success. In this realm, focusing only on Technical tasks (enhancements, upgrades, etc.) without considering their impact on Functional measures (organizational readiness, usability, etc.) and Business Value (desired outcomes, KPIs, etc.) can produce less than stellar results.

 

In this model, it seems impossible to make headway, since positive movement on one lever produces negative movement on the others - there is only so much liquid. This is often the challenge we face. Do we need to make a trade-off on Business Value and focus on the Technical? Or should we take on more Functional activities at the detriment of the others? If our edict is “faster, better, cheaper,” neither of those options is attractive.

 

What we need to do is increase the volume of liquid in the tubes to allow positive direction for all three levers. We can do this by finding opportunities to innovate and do things differently. To achieve this, we must identify root causes of our problems (which is what limits the liquid in the tubes) and offer ways to eliminate them.

 

Generally, we know our organizational objectives are responses to perceived environmental challenges and constraints:

 

 

Most organizations that have been around for more than a few years will encounter resistance to change. The constraints shown above can inhibit an organization’s ability to achieve the objectives of PPM maturity. Even worse, lack of finances or stakeholder negativity create constraints on investments; allocations come under greater scrutiny, which delays or prevents project starts. We’ve all heard that we need to do more with less; that’s where PPM Practitioners add value, whether it’s ROI, Operational Efficiency or Governance/Compliance within the PPM ecosystem.

 

I have found a few key (standard) steps that allow us to increase the volume of liquid and pull the right levers at the right time:

 

StepsActivities
1. Identify Problems and Constraints

Problem statements are extremely useful, as they communicate the value of overcoming, and ensure delivery criteria is aligned. Properly framed problem statements describe the impact of the current situation. For example:

  • A lack of consistent project status is causing higher overhead and misunderstanding of escalations to PMO leaders.
  • Resource availability is inhibiting delivery of strategic projects.
  • Testing is becoming a significant constraint on the speed of adapting services to prevent further loss of market share.
2. Define Objective(s) and Desired Outcomes

Here's an example of how we derive PPM objectives from the customer’s desired outcomes and their problems or constraints:

  • Desired Outcomes: Improve business efficiency by aligning IT resource management to better meet business demand.
  • Problem Statements:
    • Data quality is low and inhibits business agility.
    • Operational spending is to high on non-core activity and inhibits us from investing in gaining market share with new offerings.
  • PPM Objective: Validate business demand and identify how improvements to IT resource management would increase agility. Identify cost optimization opportunities through improvements to IT capacity planning.
3. Form Hypotheses and Prioritize

We must map a set of hypotheses to each problem we are investigating and how this mapping process allows us to identify key questions. Answers to those questions will prove or disprove the hypotheses. A good hypothesis is a clear and assertive statement that is:

  • Relevant
  • Specific
  • Testable

 

Because a hypothesis needs to be worth investigating, we must prioritize. Just because a hypothesis meets the criteria above doesn't mean it is suitable for investigation. Other aspects to consider when creating and prioritizing hypotheses include:

  • Make sure we don't have more hypotheses than we need to investigate the issue, as this would be an inefficient use of time.
  • Conversely, make sure we don't have gaps in our investigation that aren't covered by a relevant hypothesis, as this will undermine your recommendations.

 

Note: Avoid creating hypotheses that require unavailable data.

4. Gather and Analyze Data

Drawing the right conclusions depends on the quality of collected data and its synthesis into accurate findings. To do this we need a structured approach for data gathering. Once we collate the data we need to check its accuracy and whether it conflicts with other data points.

 

In the planning stage, we should consider creating a data-gathering matrix to help understand how best to collect data and correlate it with hypotheses we are investigating.
5. Establish FindingsFindings are statements about the situation we are investigating supported by multiple data points. They form the basis for appropriate conclusions.
6. Develop Conclusions

This is a very important step. If our findings demonstrate what we have discovered about the challenges, the conclusions need to answer the “so what?” question. Conclusions should provide insight into the root cause of the problems. Good conclusions:

  • Make inferences from several findings to provide insight and a fresh perspective.
  • Are a logical deduction from the findings.
  • Are the only possible conclusion we can draw from the data (if we conclude that the problem could be caused by either X or Y, we need to gather more data to determine which one it is).
7. Make RecommendationsThe wording of recommendations is very important; they must be emphatic, specific, relevant and practical. They must be action based (e.g., “Integrate X with Z”) and aligned to appropriate outcomes.
8. Create Roadmap and Define KPIs

Lastly, we must prioritize and sequence the recommendations. Common practice is to focus on the highest impact items, but I favor the “low-hanging fruit” approach. It is imperative to have incremental (often small) successes that show value and build trust.

 

One way to do this is to plot our recommendations on a chart with Priority on one axis and Effort on the other. This allows us to factor in the fact that some tasks are easier than others.

 

Anything that is High Priority and Low Effort is a candidate for a quick win. Low Priority and High Effort activity should be put aside in the short term to prevent it from distracting us. High Priority and High Effort items are likely to need senior executive sponsorship and proper commitment at all levels to be successful, so they may spawn prerequisite activity before progress can be made. Low Priority and Low Effort should be considered for a “back log” or “parking lot” - if some value can be fit into a delivery cycle without affecting the higher priority investments, do it.

 

Considering prerequisites gives us another perspective to apply to the logical sequencing of our plan.

 

 

Upon defining our problems, desired outcomes, solutions and roadmap, we can invest in the PPM initiatives that give us the greatest impact, and operationally track KPIs while reporting on maturity. As described in the PPM Focus diagram, we reviewed how to gain the greatest volume of liquid by identifying and prioritizing problems and sequencing the appropriate levers at the right time per our roadmap.

 

For readers interested in similar content, check out my Blog Series. I encourage you to participate in the best-in-class CA Communities site, where we have access to our peers, events and support. You can also reach out to CA Services for individualized business outcome references and analysis. Feel free to post in the comments section of this blog or contact me directly via email and @PPMWarrior.

Hi PPM practitioners! Unless we’ve been hiding under a rock lately, we all know that businesses across the globe are in various stages of digital transformation, fueled in part by the need for greater agility. We also know that designing to deliver solution outcomes that support business outcomes is an important part of this transformation.

 

Many organizations are struggling to make the paradigm shift from a focus on implementations to one on outcomes and insights. To meet a business requirement, which may not be relevant six months from now, we often over-engineer the solution (instead of asking why and what value it will bring) or we lose sight of the importance of balancing other components like solution maintainability, adaptability, and sustainability.

Overengineering Hinders Agility

 

What is Over-Engineering?

Overengineering

 

Simply put… making a solution more complicated than it needs to be, delivering capabilities that will never get used, or designing for too far in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

What are the Consequences?

When working with customers to implement CA PPM and conducting PPM health or maturity checks, I frequently run into the issue of over-engineered solutions. There are many consequences, but in this blog, I’ll focus on three common ones. Let me emphasize that I’m not implying that the architecture examples below are wrong—just that you need to be sure you’re doing them for the right reasons.

 

1. Reduced Process Agility

Reduced Process Agility

Over-engineered solutions often reduce process agility by making the solution cumbersome to work with and/or adding a lot of non-value work to the user’s day-to-day business process—which generally leads to low adoption. And if the solution isn’t utilized as intended, it certainly can’t provide value to the organization and support the important business outcomes and insights for which they were targeted.

 

Some common examples of this include:

    1. Creating dozens of custom attributes (most of which will never be used in real practice). This often happens when there is a lack of PPM process standardization, and each department wants its own flavor of the same field. The team creates complex partitioning and/or builds dynamic lookups when process standardization may have been the right business decision in the long run. It also frequently happens when transitioning off a legacy system to CA PPM. In this case, the team often tries to replicate every field in the original system without considering its current relevance and value (or whether CA PPM already has an equivalent field). Another common occurrence is when the team tries to automate most of the project document artifacts when a simple attachment attribute or link would suffice. Bottom line, if the field isn’t consistently reported on somewhere, it probably isn’t needed. 
       
    2. Over-loading screen white space—e.g., configuring project/other object properties pages with so many sections and fields that users must infinitely scroll (and don’t populate half the fields). This often happens when lots of custom attributes are defined (per above) or when the team tries to make the project properties page a one-stop shop for everything. CA PPM provides collapsible sections to help simplify page views, but the key is to keep the pages clean—with relevant information that’s simple and easy to understand.

    3. Creating so many custom sub-pages that users forget where information is stored (and justly complain that it takes too many clicks to find something). CA PPM sub-pages are extremely valuable in segmenting information based on authorization to access and/or categorizing information by topic without overloading pages with too many sections/fields. Balance between simple navigation, page content relevance and ease of use is key.

    4. Notification spam, generating so many user notifications that they lose context and value. This often happens when the solution is designed to alert users when an event happens/action is needed/something is due. Alerts are great, but if users will naturally be informed in their routine interaction with the system, they may not want their Outlook inbox filled with dozens of messages every day. Alerts can be good when time-sensitive action needs to be taken or there is a significant time lapse between reviews. Again, balance is key.

    5. Process gridlock often happens when the team develops too many tightly controlled workflows for project governance processes, such as project initiation, approval and stage gating. CA PPM workflows handle this capability well, but the solution is often designed with too many steps and fails to give the project manager a way to handle exceptions or start over when something doesn’t go as planned. PMs get frustrated and look for ways around the system.

 

2. Reduced Organizational and/or Operational Agility

Reduced Org and Op AgilityA solution may be over-engineered if it delivers lots of bells and whistles but fails to deliver significant outcomes aligned to organizational strategic objectives. In this case, organizational and/or operational agility may be reduced; someone likely forgot to ask “Why are we doing this?” and focused on delivering capabilities that have nothing to do with driving value to support business priorities. As in #1, this will generally result in low adoption or the product being shelved.

Here’s a not-so-obvious example:

 

Let’s assume an organization’s top business priority is to restore cost competitiveness, so IT is charged with reducing operational costs by $10 million in the current FY and an additional $20 million in next FY. IT implements CA PPM to provide the financial transparency to properly select, prioritize, and manage investments. The project team quickly focuses on deploying project and schedule management and time tracking. A very common approach… however, it really doesn’t help achieve the target outcome in the current FY. The customer needed a more portfolio-decision centric solution that would enable it to quickly target investments with the best potential to meet the cost reduction goal and apply the appropriate funding to those investments. Schedule management and time tracking were important, but implementation of out-of-the-box portfolio management, demand management, and project management with simple budgeting would have been a good starting point for Release 1 to allow the basic intake, review, and prioritization of investments via the portfolio waterline and dashboards. A roadmap targeted to align PPM capabilities by priority/release to support the organization’s objectives would have been valuable.

 

3. Reduced Technical Agility

Reduced Technical AgilityTo use a popular phrase, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Deploying lots of complex and/or low-value customizations can also make it very difficult to maintain the product and adapt to new technology or business changes without a lot of intervention, which ultimately leads to low sustainability, which usually leads to product sitting on the shelf, contributing little to no value, and/or doing the proverbial restart.

 

Let’s say an on-premise, heavily customized customer only scheduled an upgrade release every two years due to the length of time it typically took them to remediate and test new releases. The customer could benefit from many of the new features, but doesn’t have the capacity or budget to stay current, or at least -2. Had the solution more closely followed CA’s modification policy when the customizations were designed, it would have been much simpler to deploy upgrades with less remediation needed on a regular and more timely cadence. (See my recent blog on Technical Debt.)

 

How Do We Prevent Over-Engineering?

The best way to prevent over-engineering your PPM solution is by keeping crystal-clear focus on your core business drivers for implementing PPM and the target outcomes and insights you want to achieve. Every business requirement should be closely examined to ensure it fully aligns to one or more business drivers (the why), and that the solution design for that requirement delivers an output (the what) that makes a positive (and measurable) contribution toward achieving the target business outcomes and insights (the value). Whether an agile, waterfall, or hybrid delivery approach is taken, CA Services is highly focused on ensuring that business outcomes are properly identified, prioritized, and mapped to the requirements/user stories that will make up the delivered solution. CA Services and certified partners follow PPM good practices when designing your solution, leveraging decades of experience and hundreds of customer implementations. Our focus is on your success and making sure you not only get your solution implemented properly, but taking the extra step to ensure you get full functionality out of your investment in CA PPM.

Prevent Over Engineering

 

Readers interested in more detail around CA PPM can check out DocOps. I encourage you to participate in the best-in-class CA Communities site, where you have access to your peers, events and support. You can also reach out to CA Services for information about CA PPM and individualized business outcome references and analysis. Feel free to post in the comments section of this blog or contact me directly via email and Twitter @kdobsonppm.

We’re lucky to live in a world where everything is dynamic and evolving. Someone, somewhere is always making enhancements to tools we use on regular basis—including software. However, when new functionalities are incorporated into applications, it is sometimes rightly viewed as adding more complexity to infrastructure environments.

 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. What we really need is a good set of administration tools, like a complete health report. Summarizing the status of all systems on a single page can save tons of troubleshooting time and overheard.

 

You may be thinking: “That’s awesome; do we have a health report in CA PPM?” The answer is “Yes, the CSA page contains a health report tab. This is a legacy from previous CA PPM versions, when we didn’t incorporate a data warehouse or have an embedded reporting tool like Jaspersoft, and we weren’t able to generate extended reports. The good news is that CA PPM can now supply health reports.”

 

Read on for more details.

 

 

In what CA PPM version is the new health report available?

It’s in CA PPM 15.1.0.4 (patch 4), 15.2.x and higher versions. The new health report is in the administration menu and shows the status of all systems (application, database, data warehouse and reporting). It detects incorrect setups and any non-compliant governor limits.

 

 

How does it work?
First of all, take the following preliminary steps:


Rights: Only administrators should be allowed access. Ensure that your administrators have the following rights:

  • Administration - Application Setup global access right
  • Jobs - Access global access right
  • Jobs - Run - All (or at least the instance level right for running Job - Run on Tomcat access log import/analyze job)
  • Administration - Access to access the administrator menu


Also, administrators must be added to the Log Analysis Access group to access the health report page.


Jobs: Run Tomcat access log import/analyze.


Run Health Report:

  • From the UI (User Interface), go to the Administration menu in the Security and Diagnostics section and click on Health Report.

  • On the command line, enter the following command: admin healthcheck

 

Analyze Results:

Now we’re ready to finally review the report, which contains five tabs:

 

  • Summary: This tab shows the “% Completed” calculated from the total number of settings that require a value during a new install or upgrade. 

  • Green icon: 100% completed.
  • Red icon: The percentage that has been completed correctly. For example, in this screenshot, 81% of database settings have been completed correctly, so the remaining 19% of database settings are incorrect.

 

  • Application: This tab shows application server details. Settings include file locations, URLs, Java version, JVM, LDAP, SSO, SSL, ports, and instance-specific configurations for CSA, background (bg), and beacon services.

 

  • Database: This tab provides information about database connectivity, table spaces, options, and parameters.

 

  • Data Warehouse: This tab provides information about data warehouse connectivity, table spaces, option, and parameters. Settings include JDBC URL, database time zone mismatch, database size, and ETL job timeout for the Load Data Warehouse job. This tab also includes setup information for time slices and other application settings for the data warehouse. 

 

  • Reporting: This tab identifies the health status of the Jaspersoft report server.

 

 

What does the “Fix It” link mean?

The Fix It link appears when the non-compliant setting can be corrected from an application page. For example, in this screenshot, the red icon and Fix It link appear to help you set up Weekly Slices.

 

 

Click on Fix It to navigate to the Time Slices page.

 

 

Can we download the Health Report?

Yes. You can import it two different ways.

  • From the Download Health Report button
  • From the Excel Icon (top-right icon)

 

 

Is the health report feature available in SaaS environments?

Yes, but with restrictions. Database and data warehouse tabs do not list the following items:

  • JDBC URL
  • Database parameters
  • SQLNET parameters

 

 

For readers interested in more detail, check out DocOps. I encourage you to participate in the best-in-class CA Communities site, where you have access to your peers, events and support. You can also reach out to CA Services for information about CA PPM Release 15.2 upgrades/implementations, and individualized business outcome references and analysis. Feel free to post in the comments section of this blog or contact me directly via email and Twitter @aurora_ppm.