A Business Perspective for DevOps
by Peter J. McGarahan, Founder and President, McGarahan & Associates
As a former Director of Infrastructure & Operations (I&O), I found it beneficial to establish a respectful working relationship with my Development Colleagues. It was important for the accountable leaders to better understand the objectives, workings and success metrics of each team. It was also critical for the leader to establish the ‘rules of engagement’ for how each team would assist each other in achieving their stated objectives (success metrics). It certainly helped to have an IT / Business leader who established a cooperative / collaborative teamwork culture. She also supported it with shared IT / Business objectives and performance goals for all accountable IT leaders. The I&O team certainly benefited from a CIO who understood the importance of customer service, the value of support and the business impact (negative IT perception) caused by repetitive incidents, problems and service disruptions. It was a game changing day for I&O when the CIO announced that all accountable leaders would have half of their performance objectives (bonus compensation) based on the success metrics of the I&O team.
In working with Infrastructure & Operations organizations, it has become apparent that as we continue to implement, measure and continuously improve the IT Infrastructure Library v3 (ITIL) processes, we must simultaneously address how we focus on all things new! In a recent Cutter Executive Update entitled IT’s Change Imperative, I relate lessons learned from my conversations with Geir Ramleth, CIO of Bechtel and Ron Griffin, Senior VP of Applications for Hewlett-Packard. Their leadership, vision and courage inspired me to think differently about how IT can better work together for the benefit of the business. In the end, the only success that matters – is the continued growth and profitability of the business. A summary of their change success stories:
- Hewlett-Packard CIO Randy Mott hired the right people to implement his IT strategy and change plan that included building, consolidating and automating its data centers; transferred work in-house from contractors; standardized on only a quarter of its apps; and built one central data warehouse — all while cutting spending in half.
- Geir Ramleth, CIO of Bechtel described how he used cloud computing principles to transform IT and make Bechtel’s computing environment more agile. He had a vision of allowing Bechtal’s global employees access to the right resources at any place at any time with any device – delivered securely and cost-effectively. He encouraged his IT people to step outside their comfort zones and do things in a different way. He resisted modifying the current state and went with the transformational change fearing they would only wind-up incrementally better. In targeting a desired end state, he gave his team guiding instructions to “Assume we’re starting from scratch. Assume that we actually are a startup that doesn’t have over a hundred years of experience and sub-optimized IT legacy.”
In the spirit of change, we should challenge ourselves to develop shared ‘devops’ goals / objectives. In the end, these should help us identify, link and realize how to translate IT objectives / metrics into tangible business benefits / value.
I have listed some shared ‘devops’ goals / objectives that I believe are a good starting point. I encourage and invite your thoughts, opinions and ideas around these and any others that you feel would aid ‘devops’ in working to establish measurable business value credibility.
1. Lower the total cost of ownership of all services (best way to achieve this is build them with serviceability, usability and maintainability in the design of all new applications, systems and services).
2. Increase business value – achieve business benefits (lower operational costs, increased revenues, improved customer experience)
- Simplified navigation
- Productivity enhancing capabilities /functionality
- Plug ‘n play integration
- Training / On-line Self-help features
3. Minimize business impact
- Reduce change-related outages / incidents.
- Reduce number of problems / incidents / calls.
- Reduce the number of requests / training-related calls / inquiries.
- Provide insights and tracking to the number of Known errors / workarounds / knowledge articles (solutions).
- Speed to resolution based on business prioritization model
- Operating Level Agreement / Commitment between Single Point of Contact (SPOC) Service Desk and internal IT Service Providers based on response / resolution times / commitments.
- Bug-fix Process:
- Provide insights into the ‘bug/fix/enhancement’ list and process with transparent visibility to business prioritization (needs / requirements / quantifiable benefits).
4. Improved and frequent Communication
- A marketing / product launch / status update and awareness campaign.
- Especially around rollout / enhancement time.
Peter J. McGarahan is the founder and president of McGarahan & Associates. Pete just completed his tenure as the acting Chairman of the IT Infrastructure Management Association, a sister organization to HDI. Pete’s value to the service and support industry and business is his thought leadership. As a practitioner, product manager and support industry analyst and expert, he has influenced the maturity of the service and support industry. His passions for customer service led the Taco Bell support organization to achieve the Help Desk Institute Team Excellence Award. IT Support News also named him one of the “Top 25 Professionals in the Service and Support Industry” in 1999. Support professionals voted McGarahan “The Legend of the Year” in 2002 and again in 2004 at the Help Desk Professionals conference for his endless energy, mentoring and coaching and his valuable contribution to the support industry and community. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.