Every business today is under pressure from a startup that is disrupting their traditional market. We have seen this in the taxi industry with Uber[i], ATOM Bank is revolutionizing banking[ii] and Airbnb the hotel industry.[iii] The overused statement that today every business is a software business, is resonating in every industry and we are all under pressure to not only deliver faster, we must do so with quality and add value to our respective businesses.

To achieve velocity, organizations are turning to DevOps in their cultural and technology transformation. In my recent report, “How To Deliver Services With Quality, Agility, And Value,” I look at these issues and discuss how to pragmatically assess your DevOps journey.

CALMSS a Model for Success

Delivering faster requires a new model, one which features smaller changes driven through faster high-quality release cycles that leverage end to end automation. To guide the transition, infrastructure and operations (I&O) pros should employ the CALMSS  competency model (Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement and management, Sharing, and Sourcing). All team members who are engaged in the product life cycle – from individual contributors to the executive team – must master these competencies. I&O pros must also use benchmarks to assess their progress and to maintain or adjust their current DevOps competencies accordingly.

Automation: “The Weakest Link” to DevOps Success

Whether you are looking at release, change, configuration, or knowledge flows for development, testing, and production, our recent benchmarks reinforce opportunities for significant improvement via the use of automation across the DevOps lifecycle. Automation is pivotal to velocity and elimination of the manual steps which introduce inconsistencies and mistakes in the delivery life-cycle process. Based on our research, I&O pros often use individual tools to automate each phase of the software lifecycle. Low hanging fruit for I&O is the promotion of changes into production, as releases leveraging ARA tools.[iv] These tools deliver code changes to production environments in the form of complete packages that include infrastructure, middleware and applications and additionally deliver automated fallback capabilities (the “oops!” feature).

Get Lean: Start with Value Stream Mapping

Most I&O teams are burdened with years of process debt (to go with our technical debt) based on organizational silos. DevOps leverages integrated product teams which are comprised of individuals from across multiple disciplines, including application developers, security professionals, customer experience professionals, enterprise architects, and I&O pros. Each product team should be aligned and dedicated to the success of a single product or service.[v] One of the tools or approaches to remove waste is value stream mapping (VSM). VSM exercises allow a fresh approach to processes that remove redundancy and non-value adding actives to assure the most efficient and effective process to execute. When linked to automation, processes that take weeks or months can be reduced to minutes or seconds – and performed consistently.

Measurement and Reviews are Critical to Ongoing Success

If you don’t measure a process, how do you know it is a success? Whether embarking or continuing a DevOps journey, I&O pros should use the CALMSS competencies to drive and monitor behaviors across all roles – from individuals to teams to executives. Leveraging the CALMSS model will create a set of competencies that – when leveraged with measurements and benchmarks – will highlight areas for improvement.

How to Deliver Services with Quality, Agility and Value

The end game in today’s business climate for I&O professionals must be to accelerate velocity whilst also emphasizing quality. To do this, organizations must benchmark and measure their performance against the 6 CALMSS dimensions to understand their current state and plan their path forward, the topic of my latest Forrester report; “How To Deliver Services With Quality, Agility, And Value” (Forrester client access required). 

As always, I welcome your observations, comments and experiences. You can contact me here and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@RobertEStroud).