I deliberately stated the title in the “traditional” way. How to get control OVER teams.

You want to implement DevOps, so you are aware of the fact that when implementing DevOps, you need to adopt Lean and Agile principles along the way to success.

Implementing DevOps indeed not only implies the introduction of tooling to ensure end-to-end automation, but also a change in culture and different people and parts of the organization collaborate together.

What does Agile tell us?

Studying agile principles, you will have discovered that according to agile principles, you best build projects around motivated individuals/people. You should give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done. Another principle is make teams self-organizing.
The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. Finally, you should strive for simplicity, as this is essential for flow, quality, and focus. If you are interested in further detail, I suggest you also take a look at the 12 principles behind the agile manifesto.

What does Lean tell us?

When reading about Lean, you probably have encountered the DMAIC improvement cycle. DMAIC, which is an acronym for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, is a data-driven improvement cycle used for improving, optimizing and stabilizing (business) processes and designs. It is in fact the core tool used within Six Sigma projects. However, DMAIC is not exclusive to Six Sigma and can be used as the framework for other improvement applications.

Since in this blog I am talking about control, let’s elaborate some more on the “C” in DMAIC.
The focus in the “C” is on how do you sustain any improvements/changes made? Teams can introduce changes/improvements, but they must ensure that the process maintains the expected gains. In the DMAIC control phase, the team is focused on creating a so-called monitoring plan to continue measuring the success of the updated process.

What to remember?

From the above, and transposing this in the context of DevOps and Application Delivery, the 3 things to get better control to me are:

  • Build cross functional teams of motivated individuals, people willing to go for customer value.
  • Give those teams an environment and the support they need to get the job done. To maximize flow, remaining customer focused, and striving for quality, ensure the environment is a simple as possible.
  • Make sure it is easy for teams to monitor and measure delivery performance towards “success”.

Interestingly enough, you will not find any direct guidance in the above on how to gain control OVER teams or people, because it is against fundamental Lean and Agile principles. As a manager, you can “control” more or less by helping shape or define the WHAT, the objective, the result, the definition of success, but it is up to the team to define and decide on the “HOW”, the way to get to success or the objective. The reason I write “more or less” is because success is mainly defined by the customer, the consumer of what is being delivered, not necessarily the internal manager.

Now let’s drill a little deeper into the support a team need to get (self-)control. We mentioned a simple environment and a way to monitor and measure.

In the context of application delivery, this translates into the application delivery end-to-end toolchain environment and the way delivery activities can be monitored and measured within this environment.

Very often when speaking to customers I am hearing about toolchain environments similar to the one in the picture below:

Code-Deploy-Track by clarive

I typically see different tools used for different aspects in the delivery process, often not or hardly linked to one another. Many times, I even see multiple tools deployed within the same phase of delivery (as shown above).

Why is that? I have witnessed multiple reasons why companies have seen their delivery environment grow over the years, the most common ones being:

  • Different platforms requiring different tooling for coding and/or deploying
  • Through acquisition, different environments have been inherited, and as a result multiple tools became part of the merged organization. To avoid too much change, environments have been left untouched.
  • Companies have given their delivery teams autonomy/flexibility without proper guidance. At first sight, giving power to teams is aligned with the proposed principles, but if this is done without overall architecture or in silo, then this can lead to suboptimal conditions.

The biggest issue for organizations providing a delivery environment similar to the one in the picture above is that tracking (the end-to-end monitoring and measuring of the delivery process) becomes a real nightmare.

According to Lean principles one should monitor and measure the delivery value stream. This value stream is customer centric, so it crosses delivery phase and tooling boundaries. If measurement data is spread over 30+ tools, then monitoring performance and obtaining insight at real-time becomes a real challenge.

How to become successful?

Clarive has been designed and developed with the above in mind. The Clarive DevOps platform aims for simplicity and ultimate operational insight.

Real-time monitoring and measurement is achieved by strong automation and integration. Automating the delivery process implies automation of related process flows (such as demand, coding, testing, defect, and support flows) combined with the automation of delivery related activities (such as build, test, provision, and deploy). Clarive is the only tool that allows you to automate both within the same tool. This is what gives you simplicity! No need for multiple tools to get the job done. As a result, all measurement data is captured within a single tool, which gives you real-time end-to-end data across the delivery value chain. This is exactly what teams need to control their process and what organizations need to control/understand the overall process.

But reality is that significant investment might have been done in certain delivery areas (tool configurations or script/workflow automations) already, something the business will not easily allow to be thrown overboard as this then will be seen as “waste”. Clarive addresses this with its strong bi-directional integration capabilities allowing organizations to re-use existing investment and treat simplification as part of the improvement cycle.

Clarive enables teams and companies as a result to gain insight and control over their end-to-end delivery processes in very limited time.

Below are some sample screenshots of how Clarive provides powerful Kanban as well as real-time monitoring insight and control.

Kanban as well as real-time monitoring insight and control

assigned_swimlane by clarive

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