Skip to content

May 3, 2023

Building Better Systems Faster with Industrial DevOps

By IT Revolution

In the software world, we almost take for granted the benefits that can be realized by adopting DevOps principles. Faster time to market, high-quality products, happier teams, more innovation, etc. But the benefits of DevOps don’t have to stop with software. As technology permeates all facets of life and business, it’s time to throw the misconceptions out the window and look at how we can apply these same principles to cyber-physical systems (those that include software, firmware, and hardware). These same principles that have brought so many benefits to a digital world can do the same for the physical.

For more than five years, Dr. Suzette Johnson and Robin Yeman have spearheaded the concept of Industrial DevOps, a set of proven principles and success patterns for building better systems faster to achieve business outcomes. By combining DevOps, Agile, Lean and a number of other practices and tools, they have been able to redefine what is possible when building cyber-physical systems. And they’ve seen its success in places like Tesla, SpaceX, Bosch, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and more.

This fall, they will be publishing a book that details their fully refined and updated theory and the nine principles organizations can use to build better systems faster by applying Industrial DevOps. But before the book comes out, let’s take a moment to review the line of guidance papers that resulted in this groundbreaking new practice.

Industrial DevOps: Applying DevOps and Continuous Delivery to Significant Cyber-Physical Systems

In 2018, Dr. Suzette Johnson and Robin Yeman had an idea. They thought it was possible to integrate “DevOps” into the development of cyber-physical systems, such as satellites, cars, and more. They gathered a group of thought leaders and practitioners who felt the same and published their first paper on the topic. Industrial DevOps: Applying DevOps and Continuous Delivery to Significant Cyber-Physical Systems presents a list of principles that allow teams to apply DevOps to the unique needs and challenges of cyber-physical systems. Through the use of the principles, teams can achieve faster time to market, build more resilient and more malleable systems, and create systems that can be used to test potential innovations faster from a scalable production environment.

Read the first paper here.

Applied Industrial DevOps: Practice Guidance for the Enterprise

In this follow-up to the 2018 paper, the original guidance and eight principles of Industrial DevOps are taken one step further. The paper applies the principles in the context of a hypothetical example, the development of an autonomous car. The authors show how each principle of Industrial DevOps is applied and the benefits it yields. This paper shows how Industrial DevOps can challenge the status quo and improve business outcomes for cyber-physical systems in many of the world’s largest enterprises.

Read the second paper here.

Applied Industrial DevOps 2.0: A Hero’s Journey

In 2020, the team expanded on the previous two papers by considering the criticality of designing technical architecture, team organization, and intentional culture architecture with dynamic learning and feedback loops when deploying Industrial DevOps at scale. They continued to use the fictional story of building an autonomous vehicle to help illustrate the principles’ application in the real world.

Read the third paper here.

Building Industrial DevOps Stickiness: Applying Insights

At an industrial scale, cyber-physical solutions experience many challenges as they embrace Lean and DevOps practices. These Industrial DevOps (IDO) transformations face significant complexities as they respond to critical safety regulations and the “continu-ish” integration and alignment across multiple suppliers and partners. In their fourth paper, the team identified Principle #1 of Industrial DevOps (visualize and organize around the value stream) as a common cross-industry barrier to Industrial DevOps transformation stickiness. They apply the use of mental modeling, Wardley Mapping, and the Westrum Organization Topology model to identify misalignments and provide guidance on how to sustain and scale the adoption of Industrial DevOps.

Read the fourth paper here.

Overcoming Barriers to Industrial DevOps: Working with the Hardware-Engineering Community

When there is a lack of alignment around shared principles, it inhibits the flow of value. Given that many large-scale cyber-physical systems have critical security and safety requirements, alignment across the value stream is even more important, as these systems provide a critical infrastructure that underpins civilization and our international security. In this fifth paper, the team put together the top barriers to the adoption of Industrial DevOps and provided key ways to overcome them.

Read the fifth paper here.

Industrial DevOps: The Book

This fall, the authors come together to put all their guidance, knowledge, and experience into a comprehensive book that outlines how organizations can realize the same success that software organizations have benefited from for years. Industrial DevOps: Build Better Systems Faster provides an updated and expanded nine key principles of Industrial DevOps, case studies of real-life success stories, and detailed instructions on how to apply it in any organization. Stay tuned for a sneak peek of this upcoming book in a future post.

- About The Authors
Avatar photo

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.

Follow IT Revolution on Social Media

1 Comment

  • Anonymous Sep 21, 2023 8:23 pm

    I'm tremendously excited to read this! Congratulations on the accomplishment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Jump to Section

    More Like This

    Industrial DevOps: Bring Agile/DevOps to Cyber-Physical Systems
    By Suzette Johnson , Robin Yeman

    The following is an excerpt from the book Industrial DevOps: Building Better Systems Faster…

    My Fit Experience: Leaders
    By Lucy Softich

    In previous articles, I've been going through some of the excursions from André Martin's…

    2023 Fall Releases
    By IT Revolution

    We have had quite a year so far, and it only keeps going! As…

    Learning Sprints at DevOps Enterprise Summit Las Vegas
    By IT Revolution

    We are just three weeks away from (hopefully) seeing you all in Las Vegas…