Posts: DevOps

Do I need a platform team?

Apr 27, 2020

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Most transformations do not deliver upon their intended results. Many of these transformations use sound agile methodologies, yet they fail to deliver on the expected results. DevOps came along and refocused the effort, but still, we run into difficulty with transformations stalling or even failing.

Current thinking puts the development (aka. delivery) team front and center in the transformation to rapidly enable the delivery of value to customers. For a team, they need to be able to have all the right skills and capabilities at the disposal so they can own their delivery processes. In complex environments with multiple architectural principles at play, this can be difficult to achieve. To cope with this, we create another team, the platform team, to enable the delivery team.

The question is, do I need a platform team?

Platform Team

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Continuous improvement of work and psychological safety

Feb 24, 2020

A few weeks ago, in the run-up to our inaugural Unicorn Meetup, I published a blog post covering the first two ideals from the Unicorn Project. You can read it here. This week, in the run-up to our next meet-up on March 11th, I’d like to continue the topic.

The next two ideals from the Unicorn project focus on two important factors of the delivery process:

  • Continuous improvement of work
  • Psychological safety

Part of the continuous improvement of work talks to the importance of challenging the status quo, something that can be difficult without psychological safety. Both are necessary to deliver better outcomes from working together.

Let’s delve into these two ideals.

Pic

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Minimum Viable Bureaucracy

Feb 3, 2020

As we introduce technology into our organizations and transform the way they deliver value, bureaucracy is often cited as a common barrier. So why have it at all?

As organizations grow, the “side of desk” style of management eventually starts to fail. Communication becomes more complex as you add more people and more teams. For the company to continue delivering high-quality value, they put standards into place. Governance exists to support the continued delivery of business as usual and the satisfaction of regulatory requirements. However, too much management feels bureaucratic. What would be great would be to have just enough to support your governance needs without hindering innovation.

So how do you create your Minimum Viable Bureaucracy (MVB)?

Bureaucracy

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Application Modernization and Complexity Debt

Jan 27, 2020

Today I want to talk about a common digital transformation topic I get asked about, application modernization. More specifically, how everyone is doing it but so few successfully. Typically the conversation starts with one of the following:

  • “I need to move off my legacy system, how can I use containers to do this?”
  • “How do we move to a cloud-native microservice architecture?”
  • “We’ve been told to move everything to the cloud, how do we do that with thousands of applications?”

Often, my initial answer is another question: “Out of curiosity, how did you get to this as your solution?”

Strangely, at that point, it often falls off the rails.

I’ll answer these questions in more specifically at the end, today though I want to talk about complexity and the need to experiment.

One of the biggest problems here is that these are all solutions looking for a problem. While we hope they may be appropriate solutions, hope is not a strategy. On their own, there is not enough information to provide guidance and we need to look deeper.

Complexity

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Locality, Simplicity and Flow

Jan 20, 2020

The new book from IT Revolution, The Unicorn Project, brings together a number of interesting ideas. In the coming weeks, we are setting up a series of meetups to discuss these ideas from the book and how people look to apply them to their own projects. The first meetup is here.

One of the central themes of the book is around 5 ideals. These are:

  1. Locality and Simplicity
  2. Focus, Flow and Joy
  3. Improvement of Daily Work
  4. Psychological Safety
  5. Customer First

Ahead of each of the meetups I plan on writing a blog on the topics we plan on discussing. So first up, I’m diving into the first two ideals and how they might be applied. Let’s go!

Focus

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Understanding DevOps

Jan 18, 2019

When it comes down to defining DevOps, the industry itself is guilty of muddying the waters, grabbing every opportunity to turn the newest hot term into a lucrative service offering, regardless of how that term is understood. This has lead to as many definitions as there are opinions with DevOps being described among other things as automation practices, a CI/CD pipeline, a philosophy related to maintaining IT infrastructure and even a job title. However, when Patrick Debois back in 2009 embarked on a mission to bring the Agile mindset to the world of IT operations by choosing Ghent, Belgium as the location to organize the first DevOpsDays conference, my understanding of his intent was:

to decrease time to value supported by solid partnerships and automation practices.

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Satisfying controls at speed

Nov 28, 2018

In a world of on-demand capacity and rapid delivery of small incremental pieces of value into production, heavily regulated organizations often struggle to align the need for organizational governance with their transformation. One way to approach this is to start with highly opinionated pipelines where the controls are baked in.

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