Ranger4 DevOps Blog

#DevOpsFriday5 with Peter-John Lightfoot

Posted by Priyanka Jain on Fri, Sep 30, 2016 @ 23:09 pm

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It's the Ranger4's #DevOpsFriday5 series and this week's answers are courtesy of Peter-John Lightfoot. He's Devopstastic!

1) How do you think bi-modal IT complements or contradicts DevOps principles and practices?

Taking a bi-modal approach at the outset is a valid starting point for most large organisations with deep legacy. It supports the realisation of returns on historical investments, whilst providing a platform for the advancement of devops practices. As long as leadership focus transitions to the Mode 2 environment with respect to current and future investments, this platform at maturity will also provide the bedrock for modernisation of the Mode 1 core.

2) How do you think an organisation can achieve end to end ideation to realisation? (Measuring the cost of a feature from inception to delivery and its value when operating in production)

Measurement depends on two things: a) knowing what to measure; and b) having a mechanism for collecting the metrics in answer of (a). In pragmatic terms, it requires an understanding of what "value" means and how it can be measured (it could be as clear-cut as conversion rates, or as opaque as productivity improvements). Lean principles apply in building this understanding for the value stream as a whole right from the outset (i.e. don't fall into the trap of compartmentalising the value stream). Cost, on the other hand, is at most a complex combination of T&M calculations. Critically, both cost and value must be understood and measured for the value stream from the outset, and the measures then continuously refined and improved.

3) How do other frameworks or movements like Lean or Agile impact your ability to do better, faster, safer to drive up customer satisfaction and lower cost of service?

Lean, Agile and DevOps are different lenses looking at the same set of challenges. Furthermore, Lean and Agile both in large part contribute to the culture and mindset put forward by DevOps (and even its techniques, for example "Shift Left" is basically a reinterpretation of Lean's "Build Integrity In"). It is my opinion that, while some DevOps tools, techniques or even principles could be successfully applied in isolation - as similarly could those from Lean or Agile - it is not until the three are seamlessly combined that an organisation can start to realise the full potential that DevOps has to offer. I even venture to suggest that a new notion of Delivery should soon supercede all of these by integrating them into a single unified theory.

4) What are the key pieces of advice or encouragement you would give a devops change agent driving improvement?

Let Kaizen be your cornerstone. No matter how many times you are turned away, return only to improve your experiments and refine your measurements. Empirical data is the key to unlocking the understanding of unrealised benefits in the minds of others. If you need to, network with someone that has a knack for data presentation. Be persistent, and remember: the value lies not in the tech, but in what you do with the tech.

5) What metrics really matter when you are doing devops?

As a consultant working in varied and diverse environments, I can attest that the true answer to this question is entirely subjective to the organisation being questioned. Moreover, even within that organisation the answer will be entirely subjective with respect to different areas (e.g. leadership, development, operations). However, from the same perspective I can say without hesitation that any organisation on the devops journey *should be* looking to understand and measure MTTR (mean time to recover), and anything feasible that would contribute to a detailed understanding of "down time" (e.g. cost to recover, loss of potential etc)

About Peter-John:

Peter-John is a Senior Consultant with Assurity – a leading Delivery Consultancy – with a passion for improving software delivery practices to increase the efficiency, throughput and predictability of delivery teams.

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Topics: #DevOpsFriday5, DevOps