by Flint Brenton

3 pillars of devops success for 2018

Dec 27, 2017
DevopsIT LeadershipIT Strategy

Now that the industry has a grasp on what devops means, companies have invested in tools, and the concept has "grown up," it is time to for devops to start delivering on its promise and proving worthwhile.

three check marks blackboard list
Credit: Thinkstock

In 2017 we all witnessed significant advancements in the software industry. We now see speed and confidence in planning, development, deploy and release. Software has impacted virtually every aspect of modern living. As an industry, the strides made during the past year have been significant. In this three-part blog series, I’ll share my insights into devops success factors as we head into 2018.

The three pillars for continued devops success are:

  1. Value streams
  2. Connected visibility and context
  3. Improved compliance, governance, and security

Devops as an ideology and practice has matured dramatically in the last few years (thanks to the agile movement for laying the groundwork), and analysts are now calling it mainstream. Not to say adoption is complete by any means, many companies are still figuring out how to get started on the devops journey. However, at this point, any winning organization delivering services to customers via software has discovered that the best kinds of software solutions are those developed and released in sync. That means with both sides of the house — dev and ops — communicating. An entire economy has popped up to support this goal — connecting the software development lifecycle and automating processes.

Now that the industry has a grasp on what devops means, companies have invested in tools, and the concept has “grown up,” it is time to for devops to start delivering on its promise and proving worthwhile.  The evolution of the software development industry brings us to the point where three key components will be part of any future devops discussion.

First, the focus will shift to value stream management and more significant attention given to the user’s experience. Second, visibility will be the only way to manage value and context will be essential to automation and business decisions. And third, tools will increasingly focus on making governance and compliance easier and security stronger.

Let’s begin with value streams, the first of the three pillars.

Monitoring value is a crucial indicator of the health, vitality and success of the enterprise. Top-level leadership asks: How do we identify actual value in our services, how do we follow value to make sure we are innovating correctly and how do we increase the amount delivered to customers?  Those are the questions that (should) drive business decisions.

In almost any sizeable organization today, software is essential to the value stream, particularly when it comes to facilitating how customers interact with a company’s services. Applications have become the new face of businesses in many different industries from banking and finance to government services. Helping organizations focus on the value stream—the start-to-finish process of software development and delivery—greatly simplifies an otherwise highly complicated process.

Managing the value stream looks like: connecting disparate teams and processes, monitoring and connecting tools, prioritizing tasks, ensuring greater efficiency in operations, eliminating outages through creating feedback loops and making informed and data-driven decisions.

A focus on the value stream also means a focus on the end user’s experience. This is the main reason value stream management increases business value.

Instead of the traditional project or application based tracking, value stream mapping connects the tool chain to a value chain or value stream. Thus, it provides more traceability, visibility, and data to work with.

Once your team maps over their tools in their process to a value stream, they can start tracking the metrics that are important to them.  The result is a system that is gathering data as the team creates and delivers software.  Measurements can include items such as:

  • MTBF– Mean Time Between Failures, average time between when a problem is found in the prod environment and when it is fixed
  • Defect rate – number of defects that are found per unit of time
  • CLT– Change Lead Time
  • RWR(Rework Rate) – % of tickets mapped to releases
  • UWR(Unplanned Work Rate) – % of unplanned issues

By gaining a deeper understanding of the value and impact as information flows through a designated value stream, you can better identify where to focus future time and investments.  Ultimately, value stream management is about better meeting customer needs and providing customized digital experiences. Value stream management enables better quality and quicker delivery.

In my next post, I’ll be diving into the second pillar, connected visibility and context and discussing how these are essentials to any value stream management strategy. Stay tuned.