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Agile Is Not Possible Without DevOps

There is no Agile without DevOps. As the hype and hope for digital transformation grows, many companies have started thinking about Agile. But what is Agile and why is it not enough?

The Agile Manifesto doesn’t capture the bigger picture, which is how to maximize value and achieve the end goal of the organization, company, or product. 

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on

the right, we value the items on the left more.

Becoming a high-performing organization

Software teams can apply their understanding of those principles and implement some of the most common frameworks, scrum is one of them. Companies gather different individuals from the organization and form a multi-functional team, then assign some roles from the playbook such as product owner or Scrum master. Even if they follow the manifesto and apply Agile methodologies, the core processes and capabilities at the company haven’t changed.

There will be barriers either to reach the customer, because a dictatorial product owner is still hyper-focused on requirements instead of data and learnings, or there will be a wall between development and operations, that will prevent flow throughout the entire process. 

If the product team is not fully integrated, having access to the longer cycles of the business, from ideation to analysis, Agile is only a mirage, also referred to as “cargo cult Agile.” Similarly, if the team doesn’t operate with the product in production, the possibilities to learn and improve are limited and the value stream is disconnected and misaligned. 

If we look at DevOps as the full extent of lean practices applied to the technology life cycle, and not only as the concepts of release engineering and automation, DevOps becomes the core capability that will allow companies to transform and become digitally integrated. 

Technology life cycle

  1. Ideate
  2. Research
  3. Design 
  4. Build 
  5. Deploy 
  6. Release
  7. Analyze (Learn)  

In order to maximize the outcome out of the technology value stream, it’s important to allow feedback loops across the production network, both for short and long business cycles. 

Principles for maximizing outcomes

In the book The DevOps Handbook, the authors discuss the three ways, the principles of DevOps, that high-performing organizations follow:

  • Flow, to maximize throughput and delivery
  • Feedback, to accelerate learning and create better products  
  • Continuous learning and experimentation, to allow the organization to improve and evolve

At Wizeline, we partner with different types of organizations, forming high-performing teams to build products and platforms. Our teams focus on maximizing and enabling these principles. We encourage teams to set their own goals and metrics, because every project and customer are different; one team measures Flow looking at the full cycle of a user story, from ideation to production; another team, to maximize Feedback Loops, the platform has built-in capabilities to measure performance, usage, and engagement, allowing the product team to learn along the way and keep improving; finally, those companies that embrace a Continuous Learning and Experimentation culture, show better team performance, product innovation flows faster, and customer satisfaction is higher. 

Teams and companies that want to succeed in their digital strategy, have to go beyond Scrum and Agile, they have to achieve a real DevOps culture that fosters communication, transparency, and collaboration.

 

Written by Anibal Abarca, Director of Solutions and Field CTO at Wizeline
Written by Anibal Abarca, Director of Solutions and Field CTO at Wizeline

Nellie Luna

Posted by Nellie Luna on September 3, 2019