Basic CI-CD (DevOps automation) implemented? Check. What’s next?
Communicating the value delivered to all stakeholders is the key to jumpstarting your continuous improvement journey.
Over the past 10 years, DevOps has gone from an often-misunderstood buzzword to being ubiquitous in software delivery. Through the years, the priorities of IT sponsors and Product managers have evolved – where they were once kept up at night wondering how to play catch up and introduce DevOps in their organizations, today’s managers have a different set of problems. The 2021 State of DevOps report states that 83% of IT decision makers report their organization is implementing DevOps practices. Ironically, having institutionalized DevOps practices, the vast majority are unable to move to the next level of maturity.
Source: 2021 State of DevOps report presented by Puppet
So, now the question is, What’s next?
Achieving the next level of DevOps maturity is hard for most organizations due to multiple challenges. The primary challenge for CXOs and Technology leaders is knowing where every team in the organization stands today in the DevOps journey. With lack of understanding current state DevOps maturity across the board, it’s furthermore challenging to strategize the next level of maturity. Also, it’s equally crucial to check if the actions taken to elevate the maturity level are leading to improvements and producing the results/value.
One reason that organizations are reaching a plateau in their DevOps journey is a lack of organizational buy-in. This is exacerbated by the challenges DevOps and Product managers have in quantifying and communicating the value delivered to stakeholders across the value chain. Value takes on different meanings for different stakeholders. Where a QA manager will obsess over improvements in defect density, it is of passing interest to the Product manager who is more concerned with its effect on efficiency and throughput. With value being such a nebulous concept then, it is no wonder that managers find it challenging to keep their DevOps journey moving forward.
The focus is gradually but surely shifting from implementation to optimization, using data to drive decision making. Majority of IT teams unfortunately do not have comprehensive metrics and KPIs defined, often because each of them is accustomed to operating in silos within a narrow set of tools and processes.
With an ever-growing roster of tools and solutions it becomes difficult to extract data that is relevant and actionable. The challenge managers are faced with are twofold
- Defining relevant metrics and KPIs for every stakeholder and then
- Being able to capture and track them in a meaningful way
Where data is tracked and available, it is offset by issues such as
- Data is only available with a time lag which reduces the effectiveness of what is being reported on
- The information obtained is not prescriptive in nature and tough to action consistently
- Multiple tools are used for the same function (like JIRA, Azure Boards, Rally for ALM; github, bitbucket, gitlab for code repo; jenkins, tekton, azure devops for CI-CD) making it hard to get a unified view
- Teams use the same tools differently for their use
- Data extraction and cleaning is an effort-intensive manual process
In-house reporting solutions to overcome this, tend to be bulky and can often end up with stakeholders feeling lost in a deluge of unconnected data from different tools without being able to view relevant information on the end-to-end process. Hitting the sweet spot is a balancing act that ensures that relevant metrics and KPIs are available to the right stakeholders.
Value stream management (VSM) principles can help map and then focus different teams’ efforts on generating value while clearly defining goals that they can work towards.
Value Stream Management
Value Stream Management is a lean business practice that helps determine the value of software development and delivery efforts by integrating the DevOps toolchain end-to-end to connect from idea to realization. It is a combination of people, process, and technology to map, optimize and visualize the business value flow through software delivery pipeline.
Value Stream Management Platforms are the technology components that enable the VSM practice in enterprise software delivery. VSM platforms provide out-of-the-box connectors to the DevOps tools to gather the right set of data. The data integrated from the enterprise DevOps tools are visualized to generate real-time analytics and valuable metrics.
According to Gartner Market guide, the following VSM Platform capabilities supports the DevOps journey to optimize & advance the DevOps maturity level of the organization –
VSM tools drive the cultural shift in the organization by accelerating the project to product mindset. By connecting the steps within the value stream, all the stakeholders/roles across the software delivery process are mapped and provide greater visibility to the business and technology leaders.
Gartner highlights the importance of VSM in its research, “Predicts 2021: Value streams will define the future of DevOps”. VSM has taken center stage as the next step, especially for organizations whose DevOps journey has plateaued. Using VSM, metrics can be defined for relevant functions and stakeholders that enable software delivery teams to focus on providing business value by tracking against relevant KPIs for continuous improvement.
VSM leader Kaiburr’s Value Stream Management – Digital Insights platform provides a single pane for end-to-end software product delivery. It connects to all the tools used by product teams and helps identify bottlenecks, gaps, and pitfalls near real time.
With just 15 minutes of configuration, Kaiburr produces real time actionable insights on end-to-end software delivery with 350+ KPIs, 600+ best practices and AI/ML models.
Most organizations today gather insights only on one or two of the functions, while Kaiburr provides KPIs, Insights, Best practices, and Policy validations across a wide range of functions covering different personas.
In practice, this might look like this:
Some significant DevOps Metrics/KPIs covered in Kaiburr at Organization and portfolio levels includes:
- DevOps Score
- Mean Time to Change
- Cost of Change
- Code Quality Score
- Compliance Score
- Security Risk Score
- Sprint Performance
- Defect Density / Leakage
- Vulnerability Score
- Test Effectiveness Score