Ten ways to check that your organisation is driving fast and safely down the DevOps highway.

I’ve always found long road trips slightly more relaxing when stopping every once in a while.  Checking the car and caravan is in one piece and the family get a breather from each other.   DevOps is a similar journey that needs regular review to make sure everyone is in alignment and heading in the right direction.  Some quick checks include:

DevOps Highway

Are you measuring value?  The DevOps handbook suggests three metrics. Lead time, process time, percentage complete over accuracy.  Having a baseline and showing improvement will keep stakeholders happy and teams engaged.

Is all work visible?  Can you see what all the teams are building? What’s in progress, what’s waiting to get started and what work is complete.  Visibility can take various forms: Dashboards for build and deployment quality. System health monitors, a customer or team view of work and its priority.

Are you engaging the business?  This is vital to manage expectations, limit work in progress and the team adding value.  Showcasing work is great for eliciting feedback and involving stakeholders.

Can delivery teams create their own production-like environments?  Moving away from the development quote “it worked on my machine”.  Self-service environments increase flow and remove operational teams as bottlenecks.

Is the process to build, test and deploy automated?  Getting early feedback minimises the fix-time for defects and improves code quality.  Prioritise a backlog of repetitive or error-prone tasks that you can automate.   Build out automation in increments to get feedback and value.

Is architecture seen as a gatekeeper or enabler?  Architecture must guide and support teams moving into autonomous value streams. Fast-tracking new tools and technologies that increase delivery speed. Working on a future state is far less important than tomorrow’s.

Are vendor commercials being rewritten?  Procurement teams should understand the struggles of teams and if there are constraints. Working towards licensing models that support scale and enable wide adoption.

Are leaders engaged?  Leaders need to listen to teams’ challenges, support, empower and allow time to improve. This will motivate staff and have a positive effect on culture.

Are teams forming with all the skills needed to deliver autonomously?  Teams with the skills to deliver complete business features increase flow and efficiency.  Motivating team members to take on multiple roles ensures greater team productivity.  Map out your teams skills and what roles they would like to progress in.  This includes analysts that can test, developers that can code infrastructure.

Is HR engaged?  Some people don’t want to change, or may act so negatively that it demotivates others.  Restructuring teams is not a necessity. Releasing individuals to work collaboratively in a common space can have a positive impact.

After taking a break, you may find that many things need attention. Ignoring them or failing to ensure they get fixed, might result in some big delays or worse.   The scope of DevOps should not be underestimated or simply considered a technical activity.  A good map, a well-serviced vehicle and happy passengers will ensure you reach your destination.