By Dick Stark
Two weeks ago I looked at the DevOps Handbook, Part 1, which discusses the three main principles that form the foundation for DevOps organizations. Part 2 is all about how to start a DevOps movement within an organization.
Up until about two years ago, when we started our DevOps practice, RightStar had focused primarily on the Operations side of an organization: IT service, (now digital management), performance and application management (e.g., BMC TrueSight), and data center automation, (e.g., Blade Logic Server Automation).
RightStar has also been involved in transformative projects such restaurant’s move into the on-line food ordering business (a greenfield project). Our job was to upgrade their infrastructure by adding performance, capacity, and availability tools to support the added stress caused by new web-based order processing system (a brownfield project). This organization faced stiff competition from other digital businesses and had to make a digital investment in order to remain competitive.
Part 2 of the DevOps Handbook is filled with specific case studies of similar types of jobs: Nordstrom’s and Etsy’s transformation to more digitized e-commerce systems, IT infrastructure upgrades at LinkedIn and FaceBook, and API enablement at Target. All relied heavily on DevOps principles and systems to make successful digital transformations.
What can we at RightStar learn from Part 2 of the DevOps Handbook? Very simply, we can help guarantee project success, either on our own customer ITSM projects, or by using Atlassian tools to better manage our DevOps customer projects. A good place to start is to document the value stream using high level process blocks:
Each process block includes the lead time (the total time starting when the request is made) and the process time (the actual work completed or VA). For example, in the Design and Analysis phase of the above value stream, the lead time is 2 weeks which may be due to delays getting a project workshop set up, which itself may only take two days. By understanding the value stream at every step it is possible to focus on specific areas of improvement.
The remainder of Part 2 focuses on getting Dev and Ops to work together by improving processes, such as upgrading and cross-training team members’ skill sets (deep expertise in a few areas is better), using automated self-service cloud based platforms (Operations becomes a service broker), and DevOps tools such as JIRA, Confluence, and HipChat. that will reinforce culture and accelerate desired behavior changes.
By getting Dev and Ops under the same roof and using JIRA and JIRA Service Desk to create a shared, instead of siloed work queue, work can be prioritized globally. Chat tools like HipChat also reinforce shared goals and can dramatically reduce the time to get help or needed information.
The end result in a reduction in time to value, especially as lead times shink and quality improves. This is why I continue to be excited about the impact DevOps can make as we undergo this digital transformation.