How to do a DevOps transformation
January 17, 2018

5 Focus Areas for True DevOps Transformation

DevOps

The pressure is on.

Organizations are expected to deliver more features on newer technologies, constantly. They’re turning to DevOps to keep up, which is excellent, but only if that transformation is the proper answer to the proper question.

Not, “How do we keep up with these DevOps trends?”

But, “How can our DevOps transformation provide more value to our customers?”

In other words, don't do something just because everyone else is doing it! Instead, define how your team and business will benefit, and what the real end goal is. The end goal — what I call a true DevOps transformation — is to deliver working software that does what was asked for.

It’s an important distinction to make.

When you’re in the business of software tools, as I am, you get to see how leading companies innovate to deliver better quality software more often, with fewer bugs.

How to Do a DevOps Transformation

Here are key five areas we look at when helping our global customers and internal teams transform to a customer-centric DevOps delivery model.

1. Design & Architecture

Get close to your customers. Engage with them to understand what will help them move forward. Create customer advisory boards to help align the product design and architecture to real business value. Be true to what you are creating; but don’t forget this must become valuable for end users.

Collaboration during this part of the cycle is critical. So find tools that will help you collaborate in a central place, where the focus is on allowing ideas to be shared and formal design plans to develop.

2. Culture & Organization Alignment

This is the most important part of any transformation.

Get the right people on the bus. If you have the right team, culture, and alignment things get a whole lot easier. Execution of a plan becomes the easy bit when your team is right.

Focus on a key set of goals or themes and execute those with everything you have. Clear any distractions that may come up by asking, “How will this move the business forward?” If you cannot answer that question, then what you’re working on is a distraction and will not add real value.

Take time to build a culture of open, honest feedback with a focus on moving the business forward. Be the best little light you can be, both internally and to your clients.

3. Test & Verification

The days when teams threw something over the wall for testing are long gone. Creating teams that deliver features or capabilities as a single unit is critical. When teams work as one, issues are captured and resolved faster because everyone can get to the bottom of the problem instantly.

The key to all of this? Automation.

Automate as much as possible. Be it your builds (CI), testing and verification (automated testing), deployments, or the combination of these. Take one at a time and start the automation process. Teams that automate realize enormous value.

4. Continuous Delivery

When releases increase frequency and value is delivered at each cycle, continues delivery and delivery pipelines become critical. With these pipelines in place, teams are able to deliver faster and more efficiently. Automation can take their productivity to the next level by further streamlining the delivery process.

5. Operations & Support

A slightly modified version of The Golden Rule applies here:

Deliver service you would expect to receive yourself.

Create high performing operations and support teams that delight your customers and prospects by including your support teams in design  and architecture sessions, so they can give direct customer feedback, and, in the end, understand how and why things are designed the way they are.

This is key to ensuring support matches your commitment to transforming into a true DevOps organization. For me, a true DevOps organization is one that is closer to their customers and delivering true value that moves the business forward.

True DevOps Transformations Deliver Value

Again, the true value of DevOps lies in finding ways to deliver more value to customers. Not in subscribing to trends.

Getting teams to reorient their thinking to this line of thinking can be a challenge. Start by having the team STOP and BREATHE and FIND and DEFINE {IT}, while asking, “What do we want to create that will delight our customers, staff, and business shareholders?”

Spend more time understanding what your customers really want. Because that’s the secret to true DevOps transformation.

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