Apr 23, 2019 - John Jeremiah    

Deliver business value at the speed of business

How can DevOps help you reduce cycle time?

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What’s the point of DevOps and digital transformation? Is this just another “IT project” with limited business value, or will they deliver real value to the business?

The goal of digital transformation is to change the business with new models, new services, new value, and new ways to connect with customers. Consider the observations of the World Economic Forum’s Digital Transformation Initiative, where they argue that a digital transformation will lead to improved customer experience and outcomes, efficiencies, and business models. One of the key ways to enable these changes is “agile and digital-savvy leadership” and a technology infrastructure that is ready to respond to changing demands.

In order to succeed in your digital transformation strategy, you must be able to transform your technology delivery processes and platforms.

What’s the solution?

The good news is that many of the key techniques to facilitate faster and more responsive delivery are known. For the past decade, enterprises large and small have found success with adopting DevOps principles to extend Agile project planning to deliver business value at the speed of business. In many ways, DevOps is one of the key enablers to unlock the velocity needed for delivery teams to respond to rapidly changing business objectives.

Any sort of IT transformation, such as DevOps, must be defined as a business initiative with tangible business outcomes. However, too often, initiatives like Agile and DevOps are relegated to be backbench, IT-focused projects that are set up to fail. If your Agile or DevOps transformation project isn’t closely linked to business objectives, or if it doesn’t have business stakeholders, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board and re-make the business case to sell the vision. As IT leaders, you cannot go it alone.

Taking a closer look at your value stream

So, how do you operate and stay focused on business objectives as you accelerate application delivery? I’ve heard from many customers who find their “portfolio planning” process and tools disconnected from the actual work developers and delivery teams do. The problem they face is not having visibility into the cadence and delivery of new features and capabilities that the business has requested. While they try to integrate disparate tools to keep track of everything, they ultimately end up using a patchwork spreadsheets/PowerPoint hybrid to create dashboards and reports in the hopes of keeping executives informed. It’s a waste of effort, error prone, and frustrating to pull all the data together over and over again.

To solve this alignment puzzle you need three things:

  1. Effective visibility and traceability between business initiatives, coding, and delivery.
  2. Commitment to Agile planning and prioritization.
  3. Automation of manual, error-prone tasks, such as testing, configuring, reporting, and tracking activities.

Let's dig into those:

Increase visibility

The first step in achieving success is breaking through the barriers to communication and collaboration in your organization. Too many different tools, spreadsheets, PowerPoint decks, and islands of information create friction and confusion. You need to consider how you can align your policies, processes, and technology enablers to encourage collaboration, sharing, and visibility into business initiatives. Only then will you be able to respond to the rapidly changing business needs.

Simplify workflows

If visibility is the first step in your transformation, then your second step is embracing the reality that yesterday’s business plans and priorities may well change tomorrow. The days of annual planning and long-running projects that deliver only after months of effort are gone. The pace of change in the market demands a comparable level of flexibility in our planning and prioritization.

Favor automation

If your most valuable assets are your people, then don’t ask them to waste their time and talents on routine manual effort. To improve your ability to accelerate application delivery, you need to examine your processes and policies and automate your manual, repetitive, low-value tasks. This will unlock the untapped potential in your team while speeding up your pipeline and reducing error rates. The power of modern automation is a key driver to deliver at the speed of business.

A successful transformation is not only possible, but also crucial to long-term success in a market that is moving at a radically faster pace than it was a few years ago. Now is the time to start.

Join us for an upcoming webinar in which we'll learn how software delivery leaders play a vital role in the success of digital transformations.

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