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This post is a companion to our webinar: Appetite for Agile. Scott Heffield, our SVP of Operations and one of our resident SAFe Agilists, will whet your appetite for Agile even if you're not on a development or even a technical team. He's going to flip the script on the Agile Manifesto and look at its principles through the lens of cooking in your home kitchen. Scott will demonstrate that the Agile principles can be applied across multiple domains and disciplines.
Earlier this week we had the chance to sit down with transformation expert, Tony Saldanha, to discuss digital transformation, and why so many transformations fail. After 27 years as VP at Procter & Gamble and as acting President of Transformant, Tony has had the opportunity to drive countless organizations through the transformation process, which led to writing his own book “Why Digital Transformations Fail” in 2019.
The path to successful DevOps transformation is not straight and steady, nor does it look the same for everyone. With success stories like Amazon, Facebook, and Google leading the way, it's no surprise that IT leaders are turning to DevOps as a means to revolutionize their business. But without clear direction, IT organizations can feel stifled, overwhelmed, and unsure where to begin.
The role of an IT leader has evolved through the years, as technology makes its way to the forefront of the modern business world. As the need for effective IT increases in an organization, so must its ability to meet the needs and goals of the business. However, aligning two incredibly diverse organizations (the business and IT) is much easier said than done.
You’ve likely heard of DevOps and Agile and may be experimenting with them already. But are you using Agile to your greatest advantage as you work toward your DevOps transformation?
DevOps: Turning the IT "Problem" into a Business Solution Each day, IT professionals are faced with immense responsibility. In a world that revolves around tech, employees, executives, and customers have high expectations for their digital experiences, and leaders who fail to adapt will be left behind.
"We should be doing agile, right?" Developers are naturally drawn to the idea of agile development. Speedy delivery cycles, with less planning and documentation…what’s not to like? Well, for starters, there’s the disconnect between theory and implementation when undergoing an agile transformation. Some organizations have a solid understanding of agile principles but can’t apply them. This can lead to uncertainty and skepticism about agile ideas. To combat this, Veracity has found some success with a ‘delayed boot camp’. In this model, in-depth about agile training comes later in the agile transformation process, and not before you've been given the chance to experience agile through hands-on learning. In this model, training often comes after they’ve attempted a couple of agile sprints. While this "learn by doing" approach might sound counter-intuitive, stick with us! We'll show you what it's all about. Focus on the Product, Not the Process Contrary to popular believe, the beginning isn’t always the best place for an introduction. Development teams typically start their agile transformation with an agile boot camp or an "Agile 101" session. There, everyone learns agile theory over a couple of days. After a PT planning or ‘Sprint 0’ exercise, the sprints begin…and sometimes sputter out. If you’ve been in agile development long enough, this might start to sound familiar. Veracity found a few problems with these early boot camps. Most concerning is that these early bootcamps seem to emphasize the process over the output. Then, vocal skeptics (we all know one), often distract the class, requiring instructors to waste time wading through ultra-specific questions. The goal of software development should be to create high-quality value, faster. If that’s our destination, we can’t be too distracted nailing down the exact way to get there. We just have to get there. Get Everyone on the Same Page The delayed boot camp model helps development teams stay focused on their product output, without getting tangled up in the process along the way. This starts with an inception and alignment exercise. At Veracity, this ‘I&A’ exercise is a two-day planning process with key stakeholders. These can be organizational leaders, the development team, even marketing and sales staff. Everyone should be on board with the agile transformation. The development team leaves the exercise with a release plan – and just enough background information about agile development needed to follow it. Then, it’s time to attempt a couple sprints before reuniting for the delayed boot camp. The tailored I&A exercise helps get your team excited about your agile transformation. Why? Because it keeps the focus on application and output. Your team isn’t hyper-focused on becoming experts in agile development theory. They’re ready to build deliver value in the form of a superior product. And use agile as a tool to do it. Regroup and Dive In When it’s time for the delayed boot camp (after about two sprints), your team can practice agile using real-life examples from their current projects. This can help reduce downtime and thwart would-be agile skeptics. Where traditional boot camps have struggled through hypothetical examples, your team can continue its hands-on learning. Your team might not have found loads of success in their pre-boot camp sprints – and that’s ok! This is where experiential learning comes into play. Some aspects of agile will have clicked, others will be more challenging. But, because they’ll have already tried agile on their own, they’ll arrive at the boot camp ready to learn and with relevant, useful questions. Keep Moving Forward Life rarely gives us any ‘silver bullet’ solutions, and the delayed boot camp model is no exception. Agile transformations are challenging! Many organizations do find traditional boot camps to be effective. As with any shift within an organization, it’s important to remain flexible and positive as challenges arise. And it doesn’t hurt to celebrate small successes, especially early on. Stay positive, focus on the output, and find the agile process along the way. Veracity specializes in helping organizations conceptualize, design, and build effective software. We believe that by prioritizing planning early in the launch process, we can reduce time and energy wasted at the later stages. For more information, check our our webinar: Agile by Doing or schedule a free hour with an expert to get started.
IT leaders are on an endless hunt to improve their organizations in ways that are cross-functional and efficient. Naturally, DevOps is often explored as a potential solution. The results speak for themselves: businesses successfully adopting DevOps are outperforming their peers. According to the DORA 2018 State of DevOps report, in the last year alone, high-performing DevOps organizations deployed 46x faster than their peers. Time to restore services took place an average of 2,604 times faster than with low-performing DevOps competitors. DevOps has a proven track record of success, which should make adoption relatively simple, right?