Going digital means teams need to deal with often conflicting challenges - for example, fast-changing requirements in a complex interdependent environment. This is a familiar dilemma for software developers.
Use the traditional waterfall approach to address these challenges. You will find that in a linear project progression, cumbersome processes lead to extended project release cycles, slowing the flow of customer functionality and resulting in market share losses. At the same time, delayed feedback loops often result from inbuilt features that do not match customer requirements.
Agile iterative and incremental approaches are designed to address uncertainty in the product development process. DevOps fully embraces agile, and together they provide fundamental principles and tools to help organizations achieve faster feedback loops, shorten production cycles, and ultimately create higher value for customers and the business.
Successful digital transformation requires a combination of Agile and DevOps. Agile and DevOps can help organizations reduce their risk and speed up their transformation journey. Throughout the transition process, the following guidelines can be consulted:
1. Start with the baseline
A readiness assessment is the first step in determining the organization's current state and creating a roadmap for the next steps. The assessment should focus on assessing maturity in several key areas, including cultural readiness, leadership commitment, previous implementation, continuous improvement, and IT service management processes. The assessment results inform the development of the goals and scope of the digital transformation program.
2. Start with MVP
Apply agile principles to implement change iteratively and incrementally. View transformation itself as a minimum viable product (MVP) that delivers value to your organization, customers, and employees through flexible processes and enabling technologies. Teams must learn iteratively, gradually increasing complexity over time. Otherwise, the enterprise risks recreating something that works and produces similar results to the existing system, with tiny improvement in the results.
3. Assess each challenge
In the process of enterprise digital transformation, there will be various types of problems and growth opportunities -- simple, complex, complicated, messy. Each type of challenge has its own set of principles and practices. Good organizations distinguish between these four problem types and apply the principles and practices most appropriate for each situation.
Automation is an excellent example because it can be applied to complex and straightforward repetitive issues, such as building, deploying, and regression testing software. The application of automation can improve task efficiency, reduce error rates, and improve employee satisfaction. Ultimately, it helps the team focus creative problem-solving efforts on more complex, messy challenges.
4. It's always the front-line people who define the solution
Many leaders want to take ownership of the solution. But this creates a lot of resistance and reduces productivity. The best approach is to clearly define the difficulty, the expected outcome, and the boundaries and levels of decision-making authority. Solutions are not a one-person show, but those closest to the customer's front line should be empowered to discover and propose solutions.
5. Cultural guidance
The support and participation of senior leaders is the primary indicator of successful enterprise transformation. Leaders should develop and maintain corporate culture through words, actions, and rewards. In the process of corporate transformation, leaders should continuously examine the current corporate culture, which factors are hindering the organization's growth, and change decisions to achieve agility as issues arise. This step is crucial.
Leaders should vigorously drive and support key cultural changes that enable the communication, collaboration, compassion, and creativity required by business processes throughout the enterprise.
6. Keep optimizing
No matter what the project, the first iteration is not perfect. Even those solutions that are well suited to existing situations will need to be adapted over time to cope with new uncertainties and ongoing changes. This need for continuous optimization applies to software products, processes, tools, and transformation efforts.
A process for pre-setting goals, expected results, and metrics, evaluating results, and adjusting improvement strategies.
Although digital transformation challenges enterprise development, it is also necessary to meet future opportunities. During the transition, Agile and DevOps provide complementary approaches to simplify collaboration, improve feedback loops, and help companies deliver more minor releases faster and more frequently.
But Agile and DevOps represent more than just a delivery mechanism; they help companies make cultural changes iteratively and incrementally. Ultimately, adopting DevOps and Agile will unlock and enhance the enterprise's potential for end-to-end flexibility and responsiveness, leading to digital and business-level agility.