Increasing business value is the single most important reason for any significant organizational change.

Increasing business value is the single most important reason for any significant organizational change.

Over the past few years the concept DevOps has developed and become an important framework for structuring work in the IT organizations. The “newness” of the concept has led to a wide range of definitions of DevOps. The lack of an industry standard definition has led organizations pursue DevOps as a tool to address a wide range of goals. If we embrace the definition of DevOps as the exercise of combining operations and development personnel who participate together across the entire life cycle, from analysis to production support, leveraging Agile principles and techniques there are three macro goals for embracing and implementing DevOps. DevOps supports three overall goals.

  1. Increasing Business Value
  2. Changing Organizational Culture
  3. Optimizing Delivery

Reaching any of these goals can have many benefits. (Note: it is easy to conflate benefits and goals, however benefits are the result of attaining a goal rather than the other way around.)

Increasing business value is the single most important reason for any significant organizational change. Business value is term that encompasses a wide range of concepts including increased revenue, lowering costs, improving quality, reducing time-to-market and increasing customer, employee and stakeholder satisfaction. All of these can be potential benefits of implementing DevOps when perusing a goal increasing business value.

Changing organizational culture breaks down entrenched behaviors within an organization. Implementing DevOps integrates development, technical operations and testing personnel which erases barriers between organization silos. Benefits include increased collaboration, collaboration and reducing conflict.

Optimizing delivery is often the goal most organizations cite for implementing DevOps. DevOps can lead to fewer mistakes in the process of delivery, increasing the amount of functionality delivered and reducing the number of hand-offs.

All three of the high-level goals for implementing DevOps have some degree of overlap. For example, changing organizational culture by adopting DevOps will also increase employee satisfaction (increased business value) and improve collaboration (optimizing delivery). Optimizing delivery often leads to reduced costs which increases business value. Overlaps allow organizations to focus on one goal while getting some of the benefits of another.

Effective organizational transformation is not merely the pursuit of benefits, but rather a pursuit of goals in support of a greater vision. Understanding the goal or goals of a DevOps transformation is important. However goals are a reflection of the future established when an organization embraces a vision based on their sense of urgency. A vision represents a picture of a state of being at some point in the future, and it acts as an anchor that establishes the goal of the transformation. Attaining goals yields benefits, which provide feedback on progress toward goals and vision. The relationship between benefits, goals and vision establishes a virtuous cycle.