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September 26, 2023

Announcing DevOps Enterprise Journal | Fall 2023

By IT Revolution

As our longtime audience will know, each year we hold the DevOps Enterprise Forum, a private event that brings together the brightest minds in technology leadership and new ways of working. For three days, groups met to discuss the unique challenges of the digital age. Each group then spent the next several weeks/months producing guidance papers to help the community navigate through the challenge.

Once again this year, we were also honored to welcome two groups from the US Department of Defense to discuss the unique challenges the armed forces face in meeting the technological challenges of today and tomorrow. 

These guidance papers are then collected into our Fall DevOps Enterprise Journal and shared for free with the community at large. This year, we have collected seven papers covering topics of leadership, software delivery, security, automated governance, and more. Below is a short description of each paper that you can read and share with your team.

Talking Business

Understanding Business Performance So You Can Mange More Than Just “The Tech,” Influence Your Business Partners, Create a Happier Workplace, and Drive Better Outcomes

By Ron Forrester, Paul Gaffney, Courtney Kissler, Scott Nasello, George Kraniotis, Dave Mangot, Dhruv Parpia, and Adrienne Shulman

We all want better results. Some technology leaders do this better than others. Their secret, according to reports, is more productive engagement with their business partners.* Their path to these results isn’t just better, generic relationships; it is deeper, mutually beneficial relationships anchored in the fundamentals of the business they are all serving. Tech leaders who are fluent in both the language of business performance and the language of technology deliver the best results and tend to create happier workplaces along the way.

If you are a technology leader at any level in your organization and you want to deliver better business results, you have come to the right place. This paper is a tool kit to help you better understand your business, gain insight into the goals and motivations of your business partners, and translate that understanding and insight into productive partnerships that deliver results. These tools will help you become a participant, not simply a recipient in key decisions.

Measuring Value

Navigating Uncertainty to Build the Right Thing for Our Customers and Our Business

by Matt Ring, Jeff Gallimore, Betty Junod, Andrew Davis, and Dwayne Holmes

In the age of software and digital products, more and more companies are trying to shift away from viewing IT as a cost center. And, while this is positive news, it’s important that technology organizations not misinterpret this to believe they have carte blanche to invest wherever and however they choose. IT may no longer be viewed as a cost center, but it is still an investment the company is making. And like any investment, one must see what kind of return is being made on that investment to decide whether to keep investing (at the same or different levels).

This paper is for digital technology organizations across industries that are finding it difficult to articulate the business value realized from digital and/or DevOps transformations beyond the initial investments of the change. Organizations may find past progress at risk and future opportunities evaporating if they cannot clearly articulate the return on their budgeted investment.

Technology leaders at all levels struggle with this challenge, especially in organizations that are shifting from a project-based to a product-based model for internal IT. The problem many face is the struggle to connect the dots between the work being done and the business outcomes the organization is seeking. It is not easy for technology teams to clearly communicate the relevance of their work to an organization’s strategic mission, especially in language that resonates with their business counterparts.

In this paper, we provide practical guidance on ways to align technology outcomes to business value, communicate effectively with business partners, and avoid the traps that can derail these conversations.

The Checkbox Project

Learnings for Organizing for Outcomes

by Kamran Kazempour, Chris Hill, Steve Pereira, Dean Leffingwell, Amy Willard, and Gene Kim

Winning organizations are able to do extraordinary things, more than any single individual could ever do alone. A winning organization fully unleashes people’s creativity and capabilities. These organizations generate more value, in less time, at lower cost, and seemingly with less effort.

Contrast that to an organization at the opposite end of the performance spectrum, which somehow constrains or even extinguishes the creativity and problem-solving capabilities of people. They generate less value, over more time, at higher cost. And every activity, no matter how small, requires an incredible amount of heroic effort from a vast number of people.

What is remarkable is that the two organizations at the opposite ends of the performance spectrum can be the same organization. They are identical in every way except for how they are wired. This paper presents a startling case study of how a seemingly small effort, one which should result in a huge amount of business value, is nearly impossible to complete. It requires an epic amount of communication, coordination, escalation, prioritization, synchronization, and deconfliction across almost every functional silo in the organization. And despite the heroic efforts across multiple quarters of effort, the results are still not the best quality and do not deliver the value promised.

Reinventing Software Asset Inventory

A Modern Approach to Maintaining Evidence and Relationships Between Software Assets

by Stephen Magill, Michael Edenzon, Rakesh Bantu, and Charles T. Betz

As digital systems expand in scope, mission-criticality, and reach, organizations find themselves challenged to understand and account for them. The digital estate presents an information management problem that has increased dramatically in scale and complexity since the early days of computing. Digital systems support financial, supply chain, and even healthcare outcomes, among many other uses. Understanding the resources and their configurations and interplay is essential to sustaining their smooth and secure operation.

Yet, too many organizations struggle with manual, ad hoc procedures that yield inconsistent and sometimes inaccurate information that cannot achieve the necessary precision to support operational objectives. Imprecise, inconsistent, and inaccurate inventory data (sometimes called “metadata” in the context of digital systems, as this is “data about the data processing infrastructure”) will stunt the efficacy of advancements such as automated governance and impede an organization’s ability to respond to threats such as Log4j. Inventory must be driven by objective evidence, captured through repeatable procedures, and maintained in real-time.

Drawing from the principles of automated governance, we propose a methodology and approach to maintaining software asset inventory that allows for granular and reproducible metadata captured and updated in real-time throughout the software life cycle.

How to Thrive (or Fail) in Building a Learning Culture

A Leader’s Guide

by Jeffrey Shupack, Dr. Harry Koehnemann, Jeffrey Fredrick, Dr. Steve Mayner, and Thomas A. Limoncelli

Leaders in today’s age of digital and AI are challenged by accelerating disruption to their existing customers, markets, and technology. To survive and thrive, leaders must foster a learning culture by finding ways to leverage and integrate knowledge, experience, and creativity across their workforce, supply chain, and the broader ecosystem.

Creating a learning culture is hard. We cringe when we hear horror stories, and we celebrate success stories. There is much to learn from both! This paper assembles patterns of behavior often found in learning organizations. For each pattern, we identify a key principle, illustrate it with stories of it being transgressed and stories of it being adhered to, and give specific actions you can apply tomorrow. Each learning pattern is independent from other patterns, allowing leaders to understand and apply them separately or in small groups, depending on their needs.

Scaling Automated Governance

A Short Story about How a Fictional, Faster-Growing Financial Institution Scaled Automated Governance across a Large Enterprise

by Jason A. Cox, Sean D. Mack, Christina Yakomin, Brian Scott, John Willis, Elisabeth Hendrickson, Rosalind Radcliffe, Bill Bensing, Pat Birkeland, and Jeff Kadans

Can automated governance scale? What are the things that make that possible or keep it from happening? Is there a secret formula or enchanted process that will unlock the ability to make that happen? The truth is that there are things that prevent the business accelerating DevSecOps philosophy from succeeding at scale. Lack of trust, complex policies, rigid standardization, and communication silos all inhibit an organization’s ability to achieve its full high-performing potential.

The goal of this paper is to help enterprises rethink their approach to governance and how software is built inside larger organizations. It will highlight the importance of trust, how to tackle policy at scale, address standardization across the enterprise, and embrace ways to promote communication. By introducing concepts, tools, and ideas to reimagine governance at scale, we hope to convey a more humane way to enable high-velocity software delivery that inspires trust and is inherently more secure.

We hope that the story below will look familiar and will inspire you to explore some new ideas that will help you create, use, and scale governance in a fun and business-empowering way that helps deliver on your organization’s objectives.

Organizing for Success: Part 2

Aligning to Deliver Value and Mission Effects

by Mike Snyder, Paul Puckett, and Nate Richardson

In the era of rapid digital transformation, organizations need to adapt and evolve to stay competitive and relevant. One such organization facing these challenges is the Department of Defense (DoD). To enhance mission outcomes and achieve organizational success, the DoD must prioritize Value Stream Management, Theory of Constraints, and Wardley Mapping.

This paper delves into these three critical concepts and how they can be applied to improve the DoD’s bureaucratic structure and overall performance. Improving the delivery of software to warfighters across the DoD does not begin with technology, COTS product integration, or even the DevOps architecture. Successful organizations, even those that may have led transformations with technology, have first stepped back and revectored their efforts to align around their value streams.

Download the Fall 2023 DevOps Enterprise Journal here.

- About The Authors
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IT Revolution

Trusted by technology leaders worldwide. Since publishing The Phoenix Project in 2013, and launching DevOps Enterprise Summit in 2014, we’ve been assembling guidance from industry experts and top practitioners.

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