Every company today should be terrified of disruption by a faster, more innovative competitor.
In fact, as you read this article, Amazon is busy deploying a new release every second, and odds are they’re already planning to move into your industry. Any company that doesn’t keep a healthy fear of disruption — and speed up their own innovation — will be swallowed up soon enough.
That’s why companies have adopted DevOps practices. DevOps promises speed and continuous deployment through integrated development and operations teams. According to Stackify CEO Matt Watson, DevOps is about improving the quality and velocity of our software development.
But there are a couple problems with DevOps for big businesses. It’s difficult to balance speed with staying compliant and mitigating risk. It’s also hard to find a correlation between DevOps metrics and the high-level business KPIs (key performance indicators). When goals are misaligned and speed is prioritized over security, the results can be disastrous.
These challenges have driven some businesses to adopt a new methodology that integrates business-level priorities with DevOps. It’s called — you guessed it — BizDevOps.
BizDevOps is already changing the way companies deploy new software. Deployments are released in near-perfect alignment with the company’s overarching business goals as well as security and compliance requirements.
BizDevOps integrates business leaders into the DevOps lifecycle, creating a streamlined workflow from business strategy to deployment and maintenance. While companies have always tried to align development with business goals, new technology is finally enabling them to automate this process. When done well, it allows companies to execute on a vision faster and more efficiently.
Blueprint Systems illustrates the BizDevOps lifecycle in the image below:
Slowing down development is not an option for businesses, but neither are missing goals and shirking compliance regulations. BizDevOps helps companies balance these priorities, while also improving the DevOps team itself.
There are several key benefits to adopting BizDevOps.
Companies often struggle connecting the dots between improved DevOps metrics and business KPIs. Even worse, sometimes the DevOps team and business team are working towards completely different goals. BizDevOps prioritizes alignment so every deployment is in service of the bigger company mission.
Security and compliance requirements are more complex than ever. While speed is a priority, it must be done with the highest standard of conduct. Failing to do so can be catastrophic — just ask Equifax and Volkswagen.
When it’s done right, risk and compliance requirements are met without sacrificing deployment speed.
A major goal of DevOps teams is to reduce the amount of code they have to rewrite. But when requirements for a project are vague, or they change last minute, your team’s efficiency goes out the window. Continuous input from business leaders can drastically reduce the amount of rework for a DevOps team.
It might seem at first glance that BizDevOps only helps the company, but it actually benefits developers as well. Along with minimizing rework, it gives developers a seat at the decision-making table. As part of an integrated business unit, developers have a say in the strategic planning of a product, not just the execution of it.
This leaves developers feeling more ownership over the projects, which in turn leads to higher job satisfaction when the project is successfully executed. It also gives developers another avenue of upward mobility into business leadership.
BizDevOps isn’t a turnkey solution for businesses. It’s a methodology that only works if you utilize the right people, processes, and technology. You should expect a learning curve when adopting this new concept.
“Don’t oversell BizDevOps,” said Paralucent’s VP of Technology, Stephen Thurlbeck, in a recent Youtube video. “You will need to invest. You will need to do some training. You’ll likely need to purchase software.”
Thurlbeck also warns that companies might need to increase headcount, sometimes short-term but possibly long-term as well. However, with patience and upfront investment, you will eventually see your productivity turn a corner for the better.
“Ultimately,” said Thurlbeck, “What you’ll see is the same amount of people, over the long term, doing more work.”
BizDevOps is only possible thanks to technology that provides real-time software analytics to businesses. Application Performance Management tools like Retrace give business and DevOps leaders immediate insight on key metrics like application speed, user satisfaction, error rate, and other custom metrics.
Another important tool is the low-code development platform. As business leaders become integrated into the development lifecycle, they need the ability to make changes on the fly. Low-code platforms like Onspring helps a business build custom applications for a fraction of the time and money
If you’re ready to adopt BizDevOps at your company, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The purpose of BizDevOps is to integrate business managers, development teams, and operations into a single, continuous process. Start by formally putting all of these groups in a single team. Eventually it can be even more effective to organize by business process, business service, or business component in larger enterprises, although it may be appropriate to have it based on product for a software development company that delivers products. For example, ING developed BizDevOps teams that included members from marketing, operations, business intelligence, and IT.
Don’t try to change your development workflow all at once. Start with a single product or business process. You’ll learn a lot about your company’s unique needs with your first attempt at BizDevOps. Scale out slowly as you learn more and develop your process.
As Thurlbeck from Paralucent said, you need to temper expectations at the start. It will pay dividends over time, but you have to be patient. You should to commit to trying BizDevOps for at least a year before reconsidering.
This isn’t another “best practice” fad that will be gone in a year. We truly believe it is the development methodology of the future. As the saying goes, “every company is a software company”. That means your entire business needs to be organized with agility and innovation in mind.
BizDevOps is the natural progression of a theme that we’ve seen since the dawn of the internet: faster software development leads to faster disruption. BizDevOps is a roadmap to getting your company on the right track and staying ahead of the curve.
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