Organizations are under immense pressure to deliver software that creates better customer experiences at a faster and faster pace. In response to this, “speed and agility” has understandably become the mantra of today’s enterprises.
Within IT – and within the broader business – the most common answer to this mantra is Agile and Devops. This was not the case just some time ago, but now, everybody is talking about Agile and DevOps. It has definitely captivated market leaders but is still a bit of a nebulous realm. Gartner Research’s Director, George Spafford, notes: “DevOps challenges conventional IT thinking with its lack of a standard definition and approach, its constant evolution, and its requirement for acceptance and management of risk.”
Is this just hype – or is it demand driven by real customer needs? Hype or no hype, organizations are making the move. But are the benefits and business case really clear to them – or is their DevOps question creating more confusion than certainty? Too many times, I’ve seen clients dive head-first into DevOps initiatives, solely based on fears of becoming an industry laggard.
A winning strategy: DevOps for business – Not DevOps for DevOps
According to Gartner Research, “A DevOps initiative must focus on business requirements and not on ‘doing DevOps for the sake of DevOps,’” and “avoid the all-too-common mistake of launching a DevOps initiative before establishing that a business reason exists to do so.” The good news is that in most cases, a lot of organizations are starting off on the right foot. They’re experimenting with Agile and DevOps methodologies in customer-facing, revenue-driven areas (for example, CRM, Salesforce.com, etc.), and they’re beginning to see results.
And, even better news – Forrester Research has stated that: “Faster delivery used to mean lower quality and higher risk. But leading organizations have shown that applying Agile and DevOps practices enables faster delivery, higher quality, and lower risk.” So, there’s definitely a lot of potential opportunity here.
Business value is the bottom line: Good DevOps is driven by ROI and customer-centric, product-based structures that align with your business goals
When implementing Agile and DevOps methodologies, there are two key things we need to consider:
A predictable ROI for your business
It’s crucial to come at DevOps from an ROI perspective and define and justify all the benefits – quantitative and qualitative – that you’re looking to achieve (i.e., faster time to market, cost reduction, etc.). Experimenting with Agile and DevOps methodologies on independent projects using a smaller scale will generally not provide enough benefit – all your change management efforts (tooling, etc.) are not justified for the corresponding volume. Also, you won’t be able to reap the synergistic benefits of a wider, consolidated scope.
A customer-centric, product-based structure
When you implement DevOps in a broader sense, the big question is, how do you define your scope? It can’t be small, independent projects – so how do you get started? The answer lies with your customers and the offerings you deliver them – a product-based DevOps approach derived from exactly this.
In a product-based approach, product teams work as independent and empowered units, orchestrating product-specific requests, and technical improvements across your entire value chain. Everything is centered on the products and value you deliver.
When you set up DevOps around your customers, and the products and services that you bring them, your speed, agility, and experience benefits are drastically amplified.
Look out for my next post that delves deeper into the dynamics of a product-based DevOps approach and the opportunities it holds for your business.
You can also find out more on how a product-oriented mindset, and embracing and implementing DevOps across your organization can really maximize business value in our joint report with Everest Group®: Applications Transformation for the Digital Age – From Delivery Excellence to Business Value.
To learn more about how we can help you craft a business-value and customer-centric DevOps, strategy, please contact me here.