Are your agile and devops processes good enough?

Many organizations have opted for agile planning and delivery methodologies to improve consistency, reliability, and customer satisfaction in building and improving applications. They embrace DevOps cultures, principles, and automations to increase deployment frequencies, shorten wait time for changes, shorten mean time to resolve incidents, and improve other key performance indicators (KPIs).

You may be wondering how your team and department compares to other like-minded organizations in adopting agile systems and devops. Are you embracing best practices, facing similar struggles, and aiming for achievable results?

Two recently published reports have some answers. The 15th Agile status report by and Puppet’s DevOps Status Report 2021 both provide benchmarks on the overall maturity of these practices. Both reports include a lot of detail and analyst comments. Here are my five key takeaways from these two reports.

Agile and devops will evolve to support more hybrid work

Agile practices continue to advance from Agile manifestowhile DevOps platforms and capabilities are making it easier for more technology teams to automate and get the cloud up and running. The move to remote work in 2020 and the current interest in hybrid working models will create new opportunities and challenges for organizations.

In the agile report, only 16% of respondents claimed to be completely remote before the pandemic. As pandemic restrictions are lifted, 56% will favor a hybrid approach and another 25% will stay completely away. Only 3% plan to report to the office full time.

Innovation and collaboration are often easier with placed teams, so many leaders will seek practical changes and tools that support hybrid ways of working. Hybrid work will require changes in the way agile teams organize daily meetings, automate more workflows between agile tools and devops, and formalize communication and collaboration practices.

Achieving agile maturity or devops is not easy

The devops report said that 10% of organizations rated for having highly evolved devops practices in 2010. In the 2021 report, that number grew to just 18% of respondents. But these organizations can deploy on demand, require less than an hour of lead time for changes, have less than an hour of mean time to recover from incidents, and have change failure rates of less than 5%.

That’s certainly a very high bar for most organizations, but 78% of mid-mature organizations still demonstrate significant improvements in these KPIs.

In the agile report, 80% of respondents perform the basic agile ceremonies, such as standups, retrospectives, sprint planning, and sprint reviews. But more than a third of those surveyed are not using estimating practices, assigning dedicated product owners, planning launches, roadmap products, or implementing agile portfolio planning. Respondents identified more than 20 agile platforms, 10 different frameworks for agile scaling, and more than 20 different planning and delivery tools in use today.

This shows that there is no clear answer on which maturity bar to target, what practices to adopt, or the types of tools to standardize on. Each company’s business goals, cultural DNA, and leadership goals will lead them to different technology strategies and different paths of practice maturity.

Improving DevOps KPIs requires adopting standards

One of the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto is, “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” I agree with that statement, but I also believe that companies, departments, and teams should adopt technology standards, select common platforms, and establish practices. centers of excellence.

Technology leaders and architects may prefer complete freedom in tool selection, but research suggests that mature DevOps teams are more likely to create standards. In the devops report, more than 87% of high-maturity organizations and 65% of medium-maturity organizations share common devops tools, languages, and methodologies. They seek to have clear roles, plans and objectives for their work (89% for the highly evolved and 72% for the mid-level) and ensure that the people on their team have a clear understanding of responsibilities (91% for the highly evolved and 78% for intermediate level).

The devops report has tips on how teams are organized around infrastructure delivery goals, solutions, and features, while the agile report illustrates which agile tools and practices are most widely adopted. Leaders should encourage agile teams and DevOps professionals to discuss standards and leverage platforms before looking for new tools, innovations, and updates.

Alignment with target KPIs benefits the company

How fast is fast enough? What level of automation is required to reduce errors and minimize manual steps? Are specific operational KPIs aligned with business objectives and customer or end-user satisfaction?

In the agile report, the top three measures of successful agile transformations, with more than 50% response, are: customer satisfaction, business value, and business goals achieved. Additionally, 56% of respondents have implemented or plan to implement value stream management.

There are two conclusions here. The first is that, whether it’s agile, devops, or both, teams need to focus on business results and customer satisfaction as their top goals. The second conclusion is that selecting and improving operational KPIs requires investment, so leaders must select which metrics to focus on and which goals to target. For example, teams with many change failures can focus on this KPI and prioritize continuous testing practices. On the other hand, teams building customer-facing applications in a competitive market may choose to increase deployment frequency to get new features faster.

Breaking down cultural barriers requires strong leadership

Both reports point to the need for active leadership and culture change as critical to the success of agile and devops programs. In the agile report, more than 40% of respondents identified culture clashes, lack of leadership engagement, and inadequate administrative support as agile challenges. In the devops report, more than 44% of the leaders of the most evolved devops organizations actively promote cultural changes, devops practices, and business benefits.

Respondents recognize that the only way to gain buy-in for collaboration with business stakeholders in end-to-end processes, investment to implement platforms, and time to train and adopt practices is when technology leaders drive transformative change. with your business colleagues. After all, devops isn’t just about cloud automation and optimization, and agile methodologies aren’t just about productivity, quality, and on-time deliveries. When agile and devops target business benefits and customer impacts, everyone wins.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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