In modern IT Agility and Automation are no longer considered as just a “nice to have” aspects. They are moving more and more towards being “must have” aspects. Therefore it becomes very important to switch some of our old school concepts into more modern views.
Modern concepts are helping us to see the overall IT landscape in order to have a better understanding of relationships between domains. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean accurate spotting of blockers, bottlenecks, gaps and improvement areas. As usual, the devil is in the details. Some old timers still use their personal skills and experiences to spot these issues, though that doesn’t guarantee efficiency or accuracy.
Delivery Rationalization Framework
Last year the Delivery Rationalization Framework (DRF) team was asked to design and develop Continuous Integration & Delivery (CI-CD) and Test Automation implementations for one of the big telecom providers in Europe. For that they have used the DRF to assess and analyze this enterprise’s needs. During that exercise it was clear to the DRF team that they were lacking the bird’s-eye view of the IT delivery process. This shortcoming had affected the team’s judgment, analysis and consequently the DRF assessment results. As a result the DRF team then recommended a new approach to IT Process Reengineering. This approach has been well received by the client management.
Dividing the IT processes into functional and logical steps
The new approach boils down to dividing the IT processes into functional and logical steps (up to a certain granularity). Then one defines the input & output contracts for each step, as well as the tasks performed during that step. This might seem normal or similar to any ordinary workflow, but the advantage of this approach is that it adopts many modern aspects inside the process such as automation, self-sustainability, process enforcement and governance in a correct harmony. In addition, the team has coupled the process with a responsibility matrix that links each detailed action inside the input, the output or inside the step itself to a responsible team or function. Since the client was moving from a waterfall mindset to Agile, this was one of the most important advantages of this IT Process. Why so? Because this process could cater for both waterfall and agile by only switching roles to functions.
The benefits of this process were not visual to the DRF team until they started to use it as part of the DRF service offering for new clients. Only then did the team started to see the real impact, based on the customer’s feedback. Surprised yet satisfied, 100% of our clients that have seen this process admitted that they don’t have anything like it. They indicated that they need something similar. Over 50% of these clients admitted that they believe that most of their problems could have been solved or mitigated just by having a similar process.
The Eagle’s-eye view
What give this process incredible impact? The answer is: Perspective. By shifting the focus from a zoomed in step to a wider range of end-to-end activities, bottlenecks are easily identified and addressed. In a typical Continuous Integration / Delivery assessment the assessment team would be more concerned about the technical build, deployment and testing. In theory this is enough to design a CI-CD cycle but not enough to anticipate potential risks or find hidden bottlenecks. But in our new process the view is different since we widen the horizon and vision to include the whole IT delivery process from End to End. Diving into details to certain level that reveals the hidden factors and potential problems which are real and are impacting the delivery process and the successful implementation of CI-CD. And that is why we call it Eagle’s-eye view.