Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stackify Blog, Aruna Ravichandran, Dalibor Siroky, Kevin Jackson, PagerDuty Blog

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Eclipse, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Making Agile Real: The Zen of Continuous Delivery By @XebiaLabs | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

Much of what is written about Continuous Delivery at present seems to revolve around technical challenges

Making Agile Real: The Zen of Continuous Delivery

By Andrew Phillips

Much of what is written about Continuous Delivery at present seems to revolve around technical challenges and technical choices: “Which is better: Puppet, Chef or Salt?”, “Should I use Jenkins, Go or XL Release?”, “How do I build a CD pipeline with containers?” etc. etc. If we’re looking at CD properly, though, this is the sideshow – an implementation detail at best. The real CD story is much bigger.

Don’t get me wrong: as a technical kind of person, I can get very enthusiastic about the tech: there are a lot of cool tools and frameworks out there and the tooling landscape is expanding rapidly. Working with evolving technology is a lot of fun, and there are plenty of challenges to be solved around supporting Continuous Delivery at scale…which is why we develop XL Release, XL Deploy and XL Test.

The fact that we now have a set of tools to automatically build and deploy applications, provision environments, run tests and more is not what I think is important about CD, however. Even the notion of wiring all these tools up efficiently to create delivery pipelines isn’t all that interesting. To me, the thing that is really exciting about Continuous Delivery is that it can allow us to fundamentally change the way we interact with our users. I think CD can finally allow us to turn software delivery into something approaching a modern consumer experience.

In short, Continuous Delivery isn’t a toolset, and it isn’t a business process either. Continuous Delivery is a new way of doing business.

What does this “new way of doing business” look like? What is the mindset, or the culture of a Continuous Delivery organization? To me, these are the most important aspects: focus on the end user and improve through data.

Part 1: Focus on the end user

Having a focus on the end user sounds like an obvious statement that every organization should claim to aspire to, but given the way we release software today, there is often an enormous gap between the people creating the software and those that actually use it. I’ve worked on numerous teams where we never really knew who was actually going to use the software, or why. We certainly didn’t have any personal contact with the end users of our software, and thus little ability to empathize with their needs and constraints, or put ourselves into their shoes to try to understand how the system could best work for them.

This gap, which was reinforced by organizational structures that put lots of layers between developers and users, resulted in something like an “emotional variant” of Conway’s Law: not only did we build systems that reflected the layers of organization, we developed mentalities and boundaries of empathy to match: “The system is totally unworkable for the users? OK, but look how clean our repository layout is/how elegantly we’ve managed to decouple these components/how complete our test coverage is…”

If your team knows your users, if you have some kind of personal connection with them, if you meet them from time to time for a chat, to talk about software, but also baseball, or family, or your next vacation, or whatever…you cannot feel proud of a system that is totally unworkable for them.

It’s not just enough to create an emotional connection, however. In order to turn the intrinsic motivation into great software and a great user experience, every member of the team needs to understand how the overall service they are creating is put together and delivered to the user. They also need to be able to contribute to improving the service if they see an opportunity to do so – whether in “their patch” or area of expertise or outside of it.

If you’re thinking that this sounds suspiciously like “product teams” or “end-to-end teams” or “Devops,” you’re very much on the right track. The key point here, though, is that this goes beyond development, QA and Operations to include the business and, beyond them, the end users for whom the software is actually being built. And the aim of giving everyone visibility over the entire process, and the ability to influence it, is not because more pairs of eyes can spot more opportunities for optimization: it’s because a more engaged team that has a greater influence on the delivered service and a stronger connection to the end user is more motivated to look for improvements in the first place.

Part 2: Improve through data

If we have a team that is motivated to continuously make things better for our end users, how do we identify where the opportunities for improvement are in the first place? If we have given them the chance to make changes, how do we figure out whether those changes are helping? In a word: data, data and more data.

It’s not as though we don’t have any data today, of course. Most organizations collect tons of information on many, many aspects of system behaviour. But the vast majority of this information is of a technical, operational nature: in most enterprises, it’s much, much easier to figure out whether a particular CPU in your data center is doing OK than understanding whether a particular user of your services is satisfied.

Which of the two pieces of knowledge is more important for your business, however? And if it’s the user that really matters, why then are we basing so many of decisions about the user-facing functionality and behaviour of our services on educated guesses and gut feel, without any kind of follow-up plan to figure out whether we guessed right?

Improving through data means applying the same methodology to making services better for our users that we apply to improving the technical performance of our systems:

  1. Measure to identify the pain point
  2. Formulate a hypothesis as to what is causing the pain point
  3. Make a small change to a single part of the system based on the hypothesis
  4. Measure to check for the expected improvement
  5. Rinse and repeat

So: no more all night feature brainstorm sessions; instead suggestions based on accurate, detailed information on how your users are actually interacting with your services. Feature requests with measurable (!) estimates of how the feature is supposed to affect users. Service architectures that allow for small changes to be quickly and efficiently deployed to production, and reverted if necessary. And, of course, applications that are designed to that collect whatever data is required to allow the impact of new features to be measured and the associated hypothesis to be verified or disproved.

Enough dreaming already..?

If you’re thinking that this all sounds very nice but will certainly not happen anytime soon in your organization, bear this in mind: you’re probably working with people in your own organization that are doing this today. Tell this story to your colleagues in Marketing or even HR and you’re quite likely to hear that this is all rather old hat. Advertising campaigns designed and targeted by analyzing the effect of previous efforts. A/B testing to help choose between multiple options, or to ensure comparison against a valid baseline. Full instrumentation to track every user interaction and collect all relevant metrics. Standard stuff in Marketing nowadays.

Or take HR: Personal development programs tailored to individual preferences and learning styles. Training courses that adapt to your current performance and suggest additional programs that might be useful for you. Again, all pretty normal today.

And all of it powered by software! The stuff that we are writing. It’s more than a little ironic that we have made it possible for so many fields to revolutionize their ways of working, yet have so far been unable to provide a better user experience ourselves.

That, to me, is what Continuous Delivery (and, by extension, Agile) is all about: revolutionizing the way we serve our users. Making the delivery of IT services a modern experience. An experience we can be proud of.

Let’s do it!

The post Making Agile Real: The Zen of Continuous Delivery appeared first on XebiaLabs.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By XebiaLabs Blog

XebiaLabs is the technology leader for automation software for DevOps and Continuous Delivery. It focuses on helping companies accelerate the delivery of new software in the most efficient manner. Its products are simple to use, quick to implement, and provide robust enterprise technology.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
For many of us laboring in the fields of digital transformation, 2017 was a year of high-intensity work and high-reward achievement. So we’re looking forward to a little breather over the end-of-year holiday season. But we’re going to have to get right back on the Continuous Delivery bullet train in 2018. Markets move too fast and customer expectations elevate too precipitously for businesses to rest on their laurels. Here’s a DevOps “to-do list” for 2018 that should be priorities for anyone w...
If testing environments are constantly unavailable and affected by outages, release timelines will be affected. You can use three metrics to measure stability events for specific environments and plan around events that will affect your critical path to release.
In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
DevOps failure is a touchy subject with some, because DevOps is typically perceived as a way to avoid failure. As a result, when you fail in a DevOps practice, the situation can seem almost hopeless. However, just as a fail-fast business approach, or the “fail and adjust sooner” methodology of Agile often proves, DevOps failures are actually a step in the right direction. They’re the first step toward learning from failures and turning your DevOps practice into one that will lead you toward even...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
While walking around the office I happened upon a relatively new employee dragging emails from his inbox into folders. I asked why and was told, “I’m just answering emails and getting stuff off my desk.” An empty inbox may be emotionally satisfying to look at, but in practice, you should never do it. Here’s why. I recently wrote a piece arguing that from a mathematical perspective, Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized. While it validated the genius of my friends with messy desks, it also gener...
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task ...
Following a tradition dating back to 2002 at ZapThink and continuing at Intellyx since 2014, it’s time for Intellyx’s annual predictions for the coming year. If you’re a long-time fan, you know we have a twist to the typical annual prediction post: we actually critique our predictions from the previous year. To make things even more interesting, Charlie and I switch off, judging the other’s predictions. And now that he’s been with Intellyx for more than a year, this Cortex represents my first ...
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Toyota Production System, a world-renowned production system is based on the "complete elimination of all waste". The "Toyota Way", grounded on continuous improvement dates to the 1860s. The methodology is widely proven to be successful yet there are still industries within and tangential to manufacturing struggling to adopt its core principles: Jidoka: a process should stop when an issue is identified prevents releasing defective products
We seem to run this cycle with every new technology that comes along. A good idea with practical applications is born, then both marketers and over-excited users start to declare it is the solution for all or our problems. Compliments of Gartner, we know it generally as “The Hype Cycle”, but each iteration is a little different. 2018’s flavor will be serverless computing, and by 2018, I mean starting now, but going most of next year, you’ll be sick of it. We are already seeing people write such...
Defining the term ‘monitoring’ is a difficult task considering the performance space has evolved significantly over the years. Lately, there has been a shift in the monitoring world, sparking a healthy debate regarding the definition and purpose of monitoring, through which a new term has emerged: observability. Some of that debate can be found in blogs by Charity Majors and Cindy Sridharan.
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.