The Evolution of z/OS Development


Poorly integrated teams are a third challenge. Just like the tools and technologies are fragmented, so are the teams. The challenge here is much greater as poorly integrated teams will deliver poor results. We need to enable teams to collaborate across platforms, languages, and environments.

Finally, there are infrastructure challenges derived from inefficiencies in the utilization of IT and the high cost of maintaining it. We should address performance issues and scalability concerns before planning to modernize legacy applications.

How Do We Bridge the Gap?
Once we understand and have addressed the challenges, we can begin to look at the bigger picture of technology, process, and people. 

The technology should allow for both sets of developers to come together under a common set of tools. Leveraging a common multiplatform development environment will reduce costs, decrease miscommunication between development teams, and speed up the completion of the project.

A defined process is crucial in synchronizing legacy and new developers. The modernization of existing systems must be conducted as a formal project with a defined implementation plan, formal tasks, and milestones. In developing the plan, best practices from other businesses that have implemented similar solutions should be considered. Besides the implementation planning, we should also establish procedures and methods that should be followed when the new tooling and techniques are introduced. By documenting the expectations, both long-term and newly hired developers will have a standard by which they can perform their job function.

The success of any project hinges on the people involved. If developers don’t feel inspired to embrace the new technology, they will not do so. A comprehensive adoption plan in which the team is comfortable with the skills necessary to support the new applications will motivate their success. Training should begin on the first day with developers learning basic functionality of their new toolset in order to shorten the learning curve. By empowering developers through mentoring and ongoing support, they will remain engaged and will maintain efficiency as new tools are introduced.

Mainframe expertise is an extremely valuable skill. With legacy developers leaving the workforce, there’s a dire need to replace the knowledge in order to maintain the mainframe systems and applications that are still in use today. Both “then” and “now” developers can reap the benefits and learn from each other as they’re united under a common and modern set of tools.

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