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July 15, 2020

Managing an Evolving Transformation—A Scorecard Approach

By Mirco Hering

Mirco Hering is the author of DevOps for the Modern Enterprise. This blog post was originally published on NotAFactoryAnymore.com.


I have been speaking over the last couple of years about the nature of DevOps and Agile transformations. It is in my view not possible to manage them with a simple As-Is To-Be approach as your knowledge of your As-Is situation is usually incomplete and the possible To-Be state keeps evolving. You will need to be flexible in your approach and need to use agile concepts. For successful Agility you need to know what your success measures are, so that you see whether your latest release has made progress or not (BTW something way too many Agile efforts forget). So what could these success measures look like for your transformation?

Well there is not one metric, but I feel we can come up with a pretty good balanced scorecard. There are 4 high level areas we are trying to improve: Business, Delivery, Operations and Architecture. Let’s double click on each:

  • Business: We are trying to build better solutions for our business and we know we can only do this through experimentation with new features and better insights. So what measures can we use to show that we are getting better at it.
  • Delivery: We want to streamline our delivery and get faster. To do that we will automate and simplify the process wherever possible.
  • Operations: The idea has moved from control to react, as operations deals with a more and more complex architecture. So we should measure our ability to react quickly and effectively.
  • Architecture: Many businesses are struggling with their highly monolithic architectures or with their legacy platforms. Large scale replacements are expensive, so evolution is preferred. We need some measures to show our progress in that evolution.

With that in mind here is a sample scorecard design:

I think with these 4 areas we can drive and govern a transformation successfully. The actual metrics used will a) depend on the company you are working in and b) evolve over time as you find specific problems to solve. But having an eye on all 4 areas will make sure we are not forgetting anything important and we notice when we over optimize in one area and something else drops.

Next time I get the chance I will use a scorecard like this, of course implemented in a dashboarding tool so that it’s real time.

- About The Authors
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Mirco Hering

For over ten years Mirco Hering has worked on accelerating software delivery through innovative approaches (what is now called DevOps) and six years ago started experimenting with Agile methods. He supports major public and private sector companies in Australia and overseas in their search for efficient IT delivery. Mirco also blogs about IT delivery at http://notafactoryanymore.com and speaks globally at conferences about Agile, DevOps and organizational psychology. Follow Mirco at Twitter @MircoHering.

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