In accordance with the IBM strategy to adopt Continuous Delivery model for all software products, the IMS team has been shipping new features every quarter since the availability of IMS 15.1, in October 2017. As an organization, we have been on a transformation journey that involved the reorganization of resources, rethinking how we develop IMS, and implementing changes in workflows. While this journey still continues, our team has been able to ship close to 50 new features on the IMS 15 code stream since October 2017. These enhancements are aimed at helping the transformation journey of our clients for whom IMS is an integral part of their enterprise. All of these enhancements are included in Announcement letters, highlighted in our IMS release manager quarterly update webinar, and documented in the IMS Knowledge Center.

This shift from a two-year delivery cycle to delivering features when they are ready involves close collaboration with our sponsor users. The IMS Offering team reviews requirements backlog on regular basis to build, prioritize, and reassess the pipeline of features to develop. Special attention is paid to requirements that have a high client vote count and are aligned with IMS and IBM overall strategy and market trends. While working off the initial set of requirements, the IMS Design team helped to create 5 main initiatives (which we call “Hills”).

In order to deliver features as part of these Hills, we reorganized our development team from traditional component-based teams to mission-driven squads. The IMS DevOps team identified and eliminated inefficiencies in our build pipeline,and introduced new tooling that allowed squads to get into a 2-week sprint cadence working against a single prioritized backlog. Our Quality guild implemented a Java-based QA framework that not only helps in leveraging the latest code coverage tools but also helps our new team members to learn and become productive at a faster rate.

50 Years of IBM IMS

With tooling and infrastructure in place, some featured examples that these mission-driven Agile squads have delivered include:

  • Driving adoption of the IMS Catalog and IMS Managed ACBs
  • IMS Open Database
  • Dynamic Java development experience on IMS
  • Improved security and auditability
  • Performance and tuning capabilities
  • New z/OSMF workflows
  • Contributions to simplified system management efforts like Zowe
  • Features that support API economy use cases with IMS and z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition
  • Leveraging IBM Z hardware innovations
  • Extending IBM Z Common Data Provider to stream IMS user log records to analytics platforms.

To help us deliver the right solution at the right time, the IMS Offering team launched our new feedback program, IMS Gold. In this program, participants representing different personas within respective customer shops work closely with IMS Offering, Design, and Development team members throughout the feature development cycle. From the point of initial validation of our understanding of the requirement to final delivery of the solution, sponsor users receive regular updates in terms of playback sessions, demos, and code drops. These allow them to provide feedback while the solution is being developed by the IMS team. This timely feedback helps us provide a better user experience with the final solution. Because sponsor users are involved from day one of the solution development, they are likely to introduce it into their production systems at a faster pace. Considering the healthy pipeline of requirements from our clients, the IMS team is planning to deliver new functions every quarter leveraging Agile practices while closely collaborating with our sponsor users.

If you’re interested in submitting a Request for Enhancement (RFE), or curious about the ones currently under evaluation, visit the IBM RFE Community. In the Filter the page content by brand and product drop-down menu, you can select All Brands and then use “IMS” as a search target under products; alternatively, you can select Analytics Platform for Brands and again use “IMS” as a search target under products. You will see all IMS Tools as well as IMS Database Manager, IMS Transaction Manager, IMS Enterprise Suite, and IMS System Services.

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