2017 was the year of DevOps! The team here at Forrester is seeing this momentum grow every day with increased inquiries, solution proliferation and a growing number of calls from executives on scaling from DevOps pilots to the enterprise. Enterprises are accelerating to deliver on the promise of Digital Transformation – they have no choice. Conversely, we are also experiencing many organizations overstating their DevOps progress – yes, they are gaining some speed – but the primary benefit connecting development and operations for both speed and quality, is still elusive for many.
Reality check required
DevOps radically transforms your IT landscape, impacting culture, people, process, and tooling. For a few organizations, DevOps started with a series of successful pilots or prototypes. Today it is expanding and gaining momentum in all verticals and scaling enterprise-wide. DevOps ushers in a major cultural shift with the transition to product teams from individual silos, automated end to end processes and new tooling. Our research identifies that executives and practitioners differ widely in their perspectives on strategy, customer experience, and the progress they have made – introducing some potentially significant chasms which require bridging.
Speed with quality requires a mind shift
Digital transformation shifts focus from internal systems to the customers. In this era, your customer has the power to disengage with your company and might engage with your competitor. Velocity is king — but speed without quality is a recipe for disaster. The traditional approach of slowing down delivery in an endless quest for perfection is no better; that’s why speed with quality is the DevOps mantra. To succeed, organizations must eradicate traditional thinking and develop the ability for continuous deployment. Yet, although understood, release cadence remains unsatisfactory with just 27% of execs whereas 21% of practitioners strongly agree that their business is happy with the time it takes to release new features. Using multiple automation tools within functional silos impedes the release cadence. Some of the challenges reported include communications due to executives being more used to speaking the language of business than the language of technology, practitioners’ inability to articulate delays or process gates in terms that the business can understand which result in cadence frustrations.
Automation across the lifecycle is critical to value creation
Our research confirmed executives consistently overestimate the technology managements levels of automation across multiple stages of the release pipeline. The velocity gained from automation is critical to creating value. Disconnects introduce manual handoffs andor manual actions, or non-supported integrations lead to delays and human errors which causes delays and quality issues. Automation throughout the life cycle is non-negotiable and is fundamental to meet the business demand for speed and agility. Automating the entire pipeline leads to an immediate spike in business velocity that is not only sustainable, additionally forming the baseline for future acceleration. To assist you in this important endeavor, tooling is available to drive and enforce organizational good practices to overcome these hurdles.
For an enterprise to implement successful DevOps, executives, and practitioners both need to understand the current maturity state. Executives and practitioners differ widely in their perspectives on strategy, customer experience, and how much progress they have made on their DevOps journey. For guidance on where disconnects commonly exist and how to address them while pursuing continuous deployment, see my report, A Dangerous Disconnect: Executives Overestimate DevOps Maturity. This report breaks down discrepancies with best practices leveraging DevOps philosophies and practices to eliminate the disconnect. When pros and executives are on the same page, your business wins!
As always, I welcome your observations, comments, and experiences. You can contact me here and do not forget to follow me on Twitter (@RobertEStroud).