Digital Transformation & Maturity

The six steps to DevOps success

DevOps is more than a cultural shift claim Forrester and IBM in their new joint report Accelerating Innovation with DevOps.

“Effective DevOps relies on several competencies working together in unison to create an organization obsessed with business value rather than individual excellence.”

The report lists six areas of competency that individuals, integrated product teams, business units, and organizational leadership must mature to run a successful DevOps practice: culture, automation, Lean, management and measurement, sharing, and sourcing.

“Maturity in these competencies grew between 2015 and 2016, yet there’s still room for improvement.” To enable a high performing DevOps organization, the two firms advise businesses to:

Develop a trust-based culture

In a traditional organization, failure typically leads to apportioning blame. As a result, getting processes changed may require additional approvals within significant layers of bureaucracy.

The fundamental aspect of DevOps is trusting the team to work together, driving organizational outcomes and value.

At Domino’s Pizza, CIO Kevin Vasconi worked with the CMO and CEO to help them understand the transformation. The shared mission and purpose helped make the company’s DevOps transformation possible; as Vasconi noted, “Not everything we did was a complete success, and we had to be able to fail fast and move on and make that part of our culture.”

Automation across the lifecycle.

Decreasing release cycle times requires automation across the entire life cycle.

Testing and building automation is commonplace, but you must automate other phases of the life cycle — such as releases and the handoffs between the automated steps — to ensure the fastest, most reliable life cycle possible.

One insurance company experimented with automation to enable faster deployment methods and remove inefficient gatekeepers. They complemented these tactics with automated rollbacks that saved the company $30,000 an hour.

Develop, adapt, and enforce Lean processes

Trimming down clunky processes is easier said than done, especially when the processes have been around a long time.

For example, failure in the release process typically results in adding additional manual checks and balances that simply treat a symptom rather than solve the challenge.

Examining end-to-end processes allowed Suncorp to identify duplicate and dated systems that it could decommission. The company could transfer budget from maintaining outdated systems to designing new customer touchpoints. Suncorp was able to improve customer experience and achieve 2016 cost savings of $265 million.

Extend measurement and management to customer metrics

Traditional metrics are often reactive, measuring technology availability and performance rather than proactive customer metrics.

Product teams should help develop metrics that focus on product performance and customer impact.

In the airline industry, on-time plane departures (D0) are the golden industry metric. JetBlue Airways CIO Eash Sundaram applies this customer-centric metric to measure the performance of his DevOps teams. According to Sundaram, “When everyone in IT owns that D0 metric, they become part of an entire business community that is passionate about the airline running on time.”

Share for the common good

Breaking from traditional silos and delivery methods requires forming integrated product teams focused on the success of a single product or service. Integrated product teams build on and develop each other and should share best practices with the team and their peers to drive excellent CX.

At CarMax, CIO Shamim Mohammed advocated colocating integrated product teams. This allowed team members to share information and create solutions for new customer requirements. Mohammed also established internal open houses so product teams could share their work with business stakeholders and solicit feedback.

Source with confidence

Decreasing time-to-innovation requires a sourcing strategy that allows flexibility and simplicity in software, services, and human resources. Outsourcing instead of using company-only resources provides flexibility in augmenting development and delivery capabilities.

For example, when the integrated product team lacks expertise, outsourcing configuration management can quickly reduce the errors generated from nonstandard system configurations among development, testing, and production environments.


But, for all of this to be possible, the report emphasizes that institutionalized behaviors need to change.

“Nurture a DevOps culture of experimentation, inclusion, and learning; enable it with the right tooling; and drive it with holistic lifecycle automation.

“In the process, you’ll be instrumental in changing the course of not just your company but your entire industry.”

Thousands of telecoms executives are gathering at Digital Transformation World in Nice, to explore, collaborate, and become. If you’e interested in this article, you might be interesting in some of the content coming out from the 2020 Digital Operator part of the event where the industry will discuss vision, strategy and roadmap.


    About The Author


    Arti has been writing and editing for seven years in the fields of technology, business and finance. She is particularly interested in how firms are innovating to bring us into the next digital age.

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