DevOps done right has the ability to remarkably reshape your business. But these sorts of transitions are often multi-year endeavors that require substantial upfront investments in tools, the onboarding of external SMEs, and a full retooling of internal resources. In order to get a full buy-in from leadership, it’s important to build a robust business case that explicitly conveys all the potential benefits that DevOps can bring to your enterprise.
Show me the DevOps – painting a picture of dynamic transformation
So, how can you build a truly compelling business case for DevOps? What tangible benefits could it really bring to your development, testing, and operations as a whole? Well, read on and have a look below. I’m going to tell you – or rather – show you how you can make the entire DevOps transformation visible and paint a truly dynamic picture with value-stream mapping (VSM) that builds a baseline for measured DevOps improvements sprint after sprint.
Value Stream Mapping – the key to realizing your DevOps vision
At ADMnext, we begin a customer DevOps journey with a comprehensive assessment of their business and IT processes. Using our templates and accelerators, we assess their current maturity level for each of their SDLC dimensions, which includes source code configuration, and build, test, release, and environment management. During this assessment, we utilize value-stream mapping extensively to look for inefficiencies, waste, or redundancies within their business and IT processes. Essentially, value-stream mapping is a lean management technique for analyzing every step in a process from concept to delivery – and is an essential pillar in the successful realization of your DevOps vision.
Getting started with VSM
In order to help businesses utilize value-stream mapping most effectively, Peter Hines and Nick Rich of the Lean Enterprise Research Center in Cardiff established seven value stream mapping tools. These tools include:
- Process activity mapping:Establish process flows, identify waste and redundancies, and analyze workflow and business processes
- Supply chain response matrix:Identify any roadblocks in the process using a simple diagram
- Production variety funnel:Look to other competitors and industries to see what solutions they’ve discovered for similar problems
- Forrester effect mapping: Create line graphs that illustrate customer demand against production to visualize supply, demand, and possible delays
- Quality filter mapping: Identify any defects or problems in the supply chain
- Decision point analysis: Determine the push-and-pull demand in the supply chain; a process to determine production orders based on either inventory or customer demand
- Physical structure mapping: A top-down overview of what the supply chain looks like at an industry-level.
While these tools serve as an effective overall guide to VSM, Hines and Rich emphasize that VSM shouldn’t be confined to them and that it is up to individual organizations to decide which Agile or lean management frameworks to use.
Getting a real look at VSM in action
VSM flow charts can be drawn up for your business processes using domain-specific templates. Some of the most commonly used tools for making these VSM flow charts include Microsoft Visio, Tableau, Lucid Chart, and MS Excel. Below are some samples of common notations used for drawing up VSM flow charts:
Fig. 1.0: Sample VSM notations
The illustration below demonstrates the typical stages in an SDLC process. At each stage, the process time and wait time are displayed.
Fig. 2.0 A sample VSM for an SDLC process
Bringing down SDLC process times with VSM
The cycle time for the entire process is the sum of all process and wait times. Typically, wait times are due to issues with:
- Task hand-offs between teams
- Rework on code or environments
- Defects or quality issues
- Waiting for resources
- Manual execution of tasks
DevOps addresses most or all of the wait time causes mentioned above and increases productivity and speed to market. Effective VSM enables you to define a baseline for cycle times for each business and IT process and showcase continuous improvement sprint after sprint. In a typical CI/CD workflow, the tasks of build, test, and deployment are automated in order to reduce errors and the overall time utilized for each task. The continuous CI/CD workflow orchestrated by CI/CD servers eliminates human hand-offs by reducing any manual errors and waste time.
VSM: seeing the exact ROI and business value created during your DevOps transformation
KPI and metric collection throughout the CI/CD workflow enables continuous task and wait time measurement. Hence, VSM for business processes at the beginning of your DevOps journey during the assessment phase helps build a solid baseline for continuous improvement. The measurement VSM brings sprint after sprint assists in showing the exact ROI and business value created to leadership during your DevOps transformation.