Are you suffering from DevOps disorientation? A measured, business-focused strategy can set you on a clear path

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Cutting through the DevOps hype with a business-focused strategy for faster delivery and heightened agility

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 the broader business – the most common answer to this mantra is Agile and DevOps. This was not the case just a short 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 ROI 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 here.

Essentially, the potential of DevOps transformation within your organization can manifest itself in the form of the following business drivers:

  • Faster speed to market
  • Heightened customer satisfaction
  • Reduction in operational costs
  • Increased revenue
  • Improved quality

The key to achieving this potential lies in DevOps implementation that is data driven and begins with setting up the correct business metrics and KPIs. This will guarantee that you can measure and define your success criteria adequately – in order to attain your ideal Definition of Done (DOD). Your business metrics should be measured and reviewed at the end of each sprint/release and course corrections should be made to ensure continuous improvement.

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. 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.

How do we measure the business value of DevOps transformation?

At ADMnext, we begin client DevOps journeys with a comprehensive assessment of their business and IT processes. During this assessment, we utilize value-stream mapping extensively to look for inefficiencies, waste, or redundancies within their business and IT processes. 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 value along your DevOps journey.

For value-stream-mapping measurements, we recommend applying the seven value stream mapping tools of Peter Hines and Nick Rich from the Lean Enterprise Research Center in Cardiff. These tools include:

  • Process activity mapping:establishing process flows, identifying waste and redundancies, and analyzing workflow and business processes
  • Supply chain response matrix:identifying any roadblocks in the process using a simple diagram
  • Production variety funnel:looking to other competitors and industries to see what solutions they’ve discovered for similar problems
  • Forrester effect mapping: creating 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 and 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.

ADMnext – the definition of business-focused DevOps transformation

I’ve highlighted the real importance of business-focused DevOps transformation in this post. However, the right partner here can make all the difference when it comes to the true potential value that DevOps can deliver to your business.

ADMnext can help you set up the tangible and intangible metrics and KPIs that should be measured  in order for you to attain your desired Definition of Done (DOD) and overall success throughout your journey. We can also work with you to implement value stream mapping within your organization and enable you to reap all the benefits of this lean technique by building a baseline for current business processes and measuring the continuous improvement it can provide as you progress.

To find out more about how to best measure business value in your DevOps transformation and guarantee the success of your DevOps transformation efforts, you contact me now to get started or visit us at Capgemini’s ADMnext here.

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