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Does your IT racecar enable agile business victories or are you stuck in the pits?

In today’s business world, “fast eats slow.” And the IT department is now the primary driver (or inhibitor) for how fast a business can respond to the market and create new competitive advantages.

Is your business like a Formula 1 racecar, operating at top speed and agilely navigating the twists and turns of the track until you cross the finish line first? Or do you find that your racecar is frequently stuck in the pits with tire changes and other adjustments, or worse have you had a high profile blow out that dashed your company’s hopes of victory?

If you’re like most IT operations leaders I’ve spoken with in the last year:

  • Your environments have become more and more (not less) complex
  • You feel like you’re already operating at a frenetic pace
  • You worry that moving faster will lead to even less stable service delivery

If you’re an application development leader, you’ve probably gotten better and developing new releases faster by adopting agile principles or other related methodologies, but feel that operations simply can’t keep up and is holding you back. And if you’re a CIO, you are probably frustrated by the fact that development and operations aren’t working well and collaborating together to deliver on what your business needs.

I’m not going to suggest that you forklift how you develop software or run IT operations. That would be impractical and unreasonable. However, we’ve identified four areas that you can improve individually to help your business become more agile. And if you tackle all four of them, you will deliver a breakthrough in business agility.

These four areas exist at the boundaries between application development and IT operations. By focusing on improving collaboration and knowledge sharing in these four areas, you can foster a new hybrid DevOps function that will create new opportunities for victory in whatever industry you operate.

  1. Requirements Collaboration and Validation – As a project moves from business goals, to business requirements, to functional requirements, and to operational requirements the amount and frequency of handoffs between the business, application development, and IT operations is very large. At each handoff information can be lost or distorted. There’s actually a pretty well known and humorous cartoon about a tire swing that illustrates this problem.

What’s needed is a method to engage the right business, development and IT operations stakeholders to collaborate on and validate business, functional, and technical requirements. And this method should preserve those collaborations and their output so that others can view and access the information as they engage on project or support the release once deployed.

  1. Environment Synchronization – Have your ever found out right before a “go live” date that some of the operational requirements have changed? Or have you made changes in production that weren’t effectively communicated back to those responsible for pre-production QA and testing? With the pace IT operates today, this happens all the time in most IT organizations. The result is that launches are delayed because new requirements can’t be supported (e.g. I didn’t know we were going to need a UNIX environment for this project) or what’s tested in pre-production works fine only to fall over when deployed in production.

What’s needed is a method to synchronize configurations and operational requirements across the promote to production landscape, as well as the ability to communicate proactively any production changes that are relevant to development and testing efforts. Without this, we will continue to ship late and deliver unreliable applications that cause our business goals to be unmet and our business colleagues to continue to be frustrated by IT.

  1. Release Collaboration and Deployment – As you move closer to the release date, it’s critical to assess risks and timing. Unfortunately, risks assessments are often a time-consuming process and so they are cut short and only done superficially or they slow everything down causing the business value to be delayed or window of opportunity to be missed.

What’s needed is a method to engage business, development, and operations stakeholders to assess deployment risks, timing, and validate plans. And this method must incorporate what’s learned at each stage of the development lifecycle, and do so in a way that is inline with doing their daily jobs and not some big overhead administrative effort.

  1. Post-deployment Resolution and Collaboration – Once a new application or service is rolled out, there are likely to be some issues. All too often, we don’t get the right resources engaged to work the issue and that causes frustration on the part of the business, because the timing to resolve the issue elongates. What’s more, in an effort to get things fixed “quickly”, there is all hands on deck firefighting that pulls people off of new projects and far too many escalations of the same issues to senior resources without pushing down post-deployment learning to less senior staff to make use of. The hero culture so prevalent in IT, comes back to burn the organization because everyone gets caught up in this unplanned work instead of focusing on moving the business forward.

What’s needed is a method to identify and appropriate escalate issues to development or operations with just-in-time, in-context knowledge for rapid diagnosis, while also capturing experience to quickly solve ongoing issues without pulling valuable resources off of new assignments.

A solution like ITinvolve  that uniquely combines knowledge capture, analysis, and social collaboration for IT, enables you to do each of these things. And if you tackle all four areas, you will:

  • Accelerate your business’ response to market opportunities and competitive threats
  • Align business requirements, IT projects, development teams, and IT operations personnel to enable continuous delivery of new application releases
  • Minimize operational and compliance risks from new application releases (including those that have legacy integration requirements)

If you’re ready to change the status quo, we’re ready to help you.

Matt Selheimer
VP, Marketing

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