Digital Disruption – How IT can Thrive with Agility & DevOps?
Listen on the go!
Disruption doesn’t send meeting invites! Xerox learned about it. Kodak was doomed with it. Encyclopedia Britannica never knew it coming. Nokia gave into it! And, Googles of the world can disrupt themselves.
RajendraPrasad Thota, Global Practice Head – Advisory & Transformation at Cigniti in this blog post explains how the adoption of Agile and DevOps practices helps IT organizations to deal with digital disruption effectively. He says that IT being the strategic enabler of business, should Build Agility, Ride DevOps to meet the digital disruption on the tracks.
Today’s digital disruption is more about the software-driven businesses – the intelligent, open APIs, the extended ecosystem of connected and integrated apps, and the customer experience. And, it is all about Velocity and Value creation. As per a recent research report, 72% of business executives agree that they will get disrupted over next 12 months. And, to thrive in this new game, companies should effectively leverage its IT capabilities that can deliver software faster, than their competition.
But how does one deal with disruption? The truth is one cannot be fully prepared! Experience has taught many that it is not possible to be fully prepared for future [Read: Black Swan], but can only take short term bets and maximize the wins along the way. This is exactly how Agile also sets itself up to tame the future. It simply embraces the chaos and lives by the sprint. Bending the rules, and embracing the chaos. Raj here draws a parallel to an Auto Rickshaw in India. It is nimble, fast, and adaptable and can leave many in surprise with its ability to steer sharply with its head on and carry a broader and larger load on its back. IT too should adapt its philosophy!
Thriving in this age of disruption?
IT being the strategic enabler of Business, should Build Agility, Ride DevOps to meet the digital disruption on the tracks.
Agile, doesn’t believe in plans [Read: lengthy documented plans], it believes in planning, continuously. It lives closest to the feedback, the reality, and enables the smallest loop possible between the moment of truth and lesson learned. It is the OODA loop of the new world.
- Agile doesn’t wait for the invite! Agile is flexible and bets small. It slices functionality into the smallest piece thereby reducing the burden of management and risk of release.
- Agile is experimental and helps tame the temperamental nature of market with smaller and faster releases. Smaller the bet, the faster the feedback for correction.
- Agile learns fastest and is closest to reality. The fastest feedback helps correction and improvements are easy. It is less costly too.
- Agile makes it Visible. Agile, firstly, helps identify the elephant in the room! The minute agile is implemented, many inefficiencies and constraints in the system are exposed. Hence, the ability to deal the constraint and decide becomes fastest.
- Ride DevOps – The ability to run the last mile with both Dev & Ops team in harmony is the proven way to deliver faster to the production. The ability to work together using integrated tool chains, automation, and shared responsibilities help releases go faster. Read more about Agile & DevOps here.
Once important processes and practices of Agile and DevOps are laid out, the more important factor is how does one get the visibility into the tasks / activities that make up these practices at any point of Value Creation in the delivery pipeline? How can one make decisions based on the data that they see? What kind of key capabilities and levers are required for IT so that they can help their business jump the curve?
Value & Velocity – The twin engine of business agility
Value [the dollar figure / customer experience associated with the feature / user story / release – can be expressed in gain or loss] is designed and delivered, and how Velocity [Velocity is the speed with which the value -with Quality] is delivered will be the twin engine that can help speed up the monetization in the Agile & DevOps implementation.
If business and IT can get a handle on these two critical components of the delivery pipeline, then it can surely plan to dance with the disruption confidently.
A specialized metrics framework should be designed and developed that can help all key stakeholders of Business, Development and Operations. It is like having a Cockpit Dashboard built on the agility of an auto rickshaw.
- Can a business metric like usage, clicks, customer experience be connected to IT metrics such as velocity, deployment, or value created per dollar spent which can enable the equation for alignment of business innovation, IT value, and disruption preparedness?
- Can the Velocity of Delivery & Decision Making be improved by providing visibility into the innards of the delivery pipeline by quantifying [example] the value created / lost, the velocity with which code can be developed, tested, re-tested, fix times, and deployments?
- Can these insights help in designing and deploying continuous improvements based on faster feedback loops across the lifecycle right from code quality, deploy failures, environment availability, the cost of delay, production incidents, MTTR, etc?
- Above all, will it have the ability to pull out the contextual lessons learned, techniques that worked, reusable components that can be used, target operating models that can be deployed to transform on demand?
Let us take a sample scenario: Can the incidents related to Customer Experience be tracked to metric of Value lost due to bad UI design leading to reduced number of clicks on that feature? Will it lead to both Business & IT teams immediately [read: Velocity] re-designing this through self-learning / intelligent apps. If so, what kind of design is required for applications? What kinds of testing is required to prevent this? What teams are involved in designing and monitoring this experience and what changes are needed to make this team work?The inspiration should surely be from the Agility of an Auto-rickshaw, with a twin-engine and a cockpit dashboard of a flight!