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Improving Business Value through lean-agile software development and IT operations By Naveen Kataria and Ajaibir Singh


usiness value delivery drives decisionmaking associated with IT portfolio management and service delivery. Those associated with software development find themselves at odds while working in / with IT operations. There have been some encouraging trends and success stories including in large organizations where software development and IT operations functions are finding ways to collaborate more effectively to improve business value. In fact reacting rapidly to shifting business priorities that are often manifested via frequent software deployments, with the support of stable and predictable IT services has seen an uprising trend among organizations. This proves that development and operations functions can partner effectively. Most importantly, this article provides insight into how IT can help organizations achieve the business outcomes they wish to achieve, by leveraging the best that lean-agile software development and Service Delivery have to offer. Examining the Sources of relationship between Software Development and IT Operations The relationship between software development teams, which focus on creating and modifying software, and IT operations groups, which have responsibilities that include deployment of software packages to production environments is often contentious. For instance, to look at things from an IT operations perspective, operations are evaluated largely on the extent to which the systems they manage are stable. Given this fact, it is understandable that there is a desire to restrict deployment of software to a production environment as much as possible, to avoid the instability that is so often associated with software releases (Humble & Molesky, 2011, p. 6). Organizations are discovering ways to make the relationship between software development (“Dev”) and operations (“Ops”) much less contentious, and a term that is often used to describe this evolving relationship is DevOps. This article seeks to provide further evidence that it is not only possible to bridge the perceived divide between the Dev and Ops communities, but also to show how their shared interest in the delivery of business value makes Dev and Ops natural allies. One of the changes in the IT industry that is prompting organizations to change their perspective on the DevOps relationship is a shift from traFeedback:

ditional software development approaches, based on a phase-based, or “waterfall” model, to agile software development. In sharp contrast to waterfall development, which for larger implementations tends to produce working software relatively infrequently, agile software development makes it possible to deliver working software much more rapidly, and at a predictable cadence. Although from a business perspective the rapid delivery of software may seem like a good problem to have, from a technical perspective, frequent deployments of software to production environments find many organizations unprepared for such a profound shift in their internal operations. There is no better illustration of the importance of the Dev-Ops relationship to the health and wellbeing of an organization than the story that is told in The Phoenix Project (Kim, Behr, & Spafford, 2013). The story begins with an organization that is clearly in trouble, beset with financial problems and organizational dysfunction, with a high degree of conflict among business and IT stakeholders. Given this backdrop, a mid-level IT manager suddenly finds himself in very senior position where he is given a mandate (more of an ultimatum, really) to address many of the organization’s most dire problems. During his early days in the new position he discovers just how central a healthy Dev-Ops relationship is to being able to make the sort of improvements he has been asked to make. Kim, Behr, and Stafford not only tell a fascinating story, they describe realities that they have observed in many different organizations, and even more importantly, they illustrate that it truly is possible for an organization to realize the benefits of lean-agile software development along with IT operations, and to build a healthy, collaborative relationship among those in software development and those in IT operations that works to the benefit of the organization as a whole. For organizations considering an agile transformation consider the difference in terms of the likelihood of success between an organization that takes the time to do a proper assessment of its culture, its values, and its principles, versus an organization that makes no such effort. In the former case, it would be typical for a broad spectrum of stakeholders to be involved in the planning, design, implementation, and continuous improvement of the agile transformation initiative, and those stakeholders would most certainly include individuals representing various business functions, along with staff working in software development and IT operations roles. By way of contrast, in the latter case, where an organization rushes into an agile Synergy Oct 2015, Page 9

Synergy Issue 15 - Oct 2015  

Quarterly Newsletter of PMI North India Chapter