MANASYS Jazz – Agile for COBOL

Picture this scenario

You are the head of Digital Banking at a major financial institution. Your legacy banking software has been your core banking platform for decades.  It’s written in COBOL and never seems to break.  COBOL development is difficult and skills are scarce, so of course you’ve outsourced its development off shore.  Nobody knows the system completely – it embodies decades of banking knowledge and experience – but there is no problem as long as it doesn’t need to be changed. 

But you can’t stand still!   Now the government is insisting that new legislative requirements be met within two years, and you know that this means changes to your core software to extract more information out of your legacy systems. You know that this will take time.

You start the process: you call technology and advise them of your requirements. With a worried look they assign a Business Analyst to your case. Meetings are arranged, requirements are documented.  Time passes.  Weeks, perhaps months, go by.  Eventually you’re able to sign off the requirements.

At last programming can start. You have little option except to wait for delivery of bits and pieces of the new COBOL code so that they can be tested in your development environment.   Does it work correctly?  Is it actually what you need?  “Robust” discussions with the supplier follow, and you have to pay for more “out of scope” work.  You have very little control over the project. 

Eventually it’s finished, but the “simple” change has now cost a million dollars, and taken 6 months.  But what choice did you have?

There is a better way.

Now picture this scenario.

You are the head of Digital Banking at a major financial institution. Your COBOL legacy banking application has been the core banking platform for the bank for decades.

Your Head of Technology has invested in a product called MANASYS JAZZ from JAZZ Software, a high-level programing platform that brings COBOL development into the 21st century.

You have on your team a Business Analyst who has been taught how to use MANASYS Jazz, and has it installed on his laptop. He brings this to a meeting where your business requirements are explained. While listening to you, the BA is quietly typing, using the JAZZ workbench to document your requirements.

At the end of the discussion the BA asks if you would like to see a prototype running on the mainframe development system now. He submits his work to the mainframe, the job runs, and a result is on the screen for you to see.  The prototype isn’t exactly right: it’s showing you what you asked for, but you now realize that more is needed.  You discuss this with the BA, who makes some more notes, and you schedule another meeting for a week later.

A week later he shows you the current prototype.  Most calculation details have been completed, and the prototype is reading the complete file.  But the BA has found some issues in the file that neither he nor you knew about that may prevent success.   You discuss who the BA should meet with to find a resolution, and schedule another weekly meeting.

With assistance the BA has found some more files that contain the answer.   He demonstrates the current prototype, which is almost complete.  With a few more weekly cycles it is ready for production, so you approve it and the program is handed off to system support.  It is promoted to production through their usual review processes.

You have completed the project in less time and cost than it previously took just to get sign-off to start programming.  And you were never out of control. 

It can be that simple.

Manasys JAZZ – Agile for COBOL