Leading IT Analyst, Forrester, last week published a new report: Eliminate DevOps Myths With Situational-Awareness-Based Performance Management. In the report, John Rakowski asserts the importance of focussing on the end-user experience of your applications over the convoluted over-discussion of the meaning, definition and context of DevOps that many enterprise organisations currently find themselves in.
The central tenet of the paper, as the title indicates, is to focus on situational awareness - a complete understanding of the position the business is in, in relation to their IT capability and goals. This directly reflects the ambitions of next generation Application Performance Management solution providers, such as Ranger4 partner, AppDynamics, who have designed their offerings around understanding what is going on at a business transaction level, to the extent that APM statistics can be delivered to Line of Business executives who can see the direct impact on their income (for example) that an application issue or outage is causing in realtime (and IT can take immediate steps to resolve).
The report recognises the pressure organisations are under to deliver more innovation, at higher velocity and at higher quality than ever before and makes suggestions on how to drive IT performance to deliver improved business value and reduce wasted effort.
Rakowski looks at the univerally acknowledged DevOps component acronym, CALMS (adding an additonal S for 'sourcing') and compares how each piece looks in a traditional service delivery approach, versus a modern delivery approach; for example, running constant feedback loops (sharing) and measuring everything through the software development lifecycle - not just what's happening in Ops.
We do see many organisations recognising the need to start everything by thinking about their users, the consumers of their applications and business services, and recognising that sub-standard, or even not 'delighting' these people runs a very high risk of losing business in the short as well as the long term - the difference ultimately between survival and thriving. However, as we've previously noted, it can be difficult for organisations with deeply ingrained habits to turn their approach on its head. When organisations of hundreds, thousands of people are used to annual budget rounds, cuts, investment cases and KPIs based on resource reduction in the challenging economic market we've been in for the last few years, it can be tough to think modern, think user and turn traditional IT practices around.
Our key recommendations for Modern Service Delivery (see this article on Optimised DevOps), reflected in Forrester's report are:
- Put your application users' experience at the top of your IT agenda
- Stop thinking about release velocity and frequency, plan for deployment on demand
- Stop thinking about MTTR; create a world without outages - where you can pre-empt system failure and instantly redeploy a last known good state of your application with no interruption to the service to your users
- Create cultures where autonomy, mastery and purpose reign
- Choose tools that allow for rapid mastery
We all know that DevOps isn't about tools, but also that automating interactions once the right culture has been created is the only way to fully optimise your SDLC. As I am quoted saying in the paper: "Some new solutions to the market are easy to use and configure, leading to faster mastery.” Choose those tools and you'll see faster, greater returns on your investments and increased velocity of your innovation to market - less waste and less change of creating tech knowledge bottlenecks in the future.
You can download the full report from Forrester here.