Despite years of embracing DevOps, organizations are nowhere near extracting maximum value and efficiency from their software delivery pipelines. That’s one of the key takeaways from a just-released survey of software organizations by Accelerated Strategies Group, an analyst company whose mission is to democratize access to industry expert knowledge.
The survey’s author, Principal Analyst Sanjeev Sharma from Accelerated Strategies, and Mitch Ashley, the company’s CEO, shared this frank assessment during a wide-ranging discussion with DevOps Radio about the current state of software delivery management in the enterprise. “Organizations are still working in silos 10 years after the DevOps movement started,” Sharma says. “And they’re still struggling with breaking down those silos.”
The fragmented development environment hurts productivity by blocking the flow of information from the people who have it to the people who need it. “Cross-silo information flow is still really bad,” Sharma says. “You have to jump through hoops to get the information you need to do your next task.”
CEO Ashley agrees. “Our mantra is ‘knowledge wants to be free,’” he says. By identifying and clearing bottlenecks in the flow of information across function, companies can better understand the business value of their software and deliver the “right software at the right time at the right place.”
Sharma says the point of effective software delivery management isn’t about deploying software faster or more frequently, but producing successful business outcomes – and that requires connecting the software development process with meaningful business value. “It’s totally irrelevant how fast you’re going if you’re going in the wrong direction,” he says. “That just results in software nobody uses, and it’ll cost you more to get back on track.”
Ashely and Sharma say companies will need to improve software delivery management to deal with the profound transformations happening in today’s economy, from the shift to remote working and commerce, to increasing cloud adoption, to the impact of emerging technologies like AI and machine learning. “When you’re talking about how you’re going to engage a customer and how you’re going to change your business model, those experiments, if not done properly, can result in investing a lot of money down the wrong path,” says Sharma.
In the recent survey, Accelerate Strategies segmented front-line “practitioners” from management-level “non practitioners” and found that most developers didn’t have as much visibility into the data as top managers. Too many managers believe that the data is for their eyes only and often try to control and sanitize the data before reporting it “upstream” to executives.
The result is that “practitioners feel cut off, they feel lost,” Sharma says. “It’s these cultural attitudes, these us-versus-them mindsets, that are contributing to the problem.”
The split can potentially sap the organization’s effectiveness, the survey suggests, often giving leaders a rosier view of what’s really happening on the ground and preventing development teams from making the fast course corrections needed to navigate a volatile market landscape. “If you believe you need to be able to fail fast, you have to be able to fail,” says Ashley. “You just have to do it on smaller scales, much quickly, and learn from it very quickly.”
The best strategy, Ashley and Sharma say, is to make data freely available to anybody who needs it through the right kind of dashboards, with appropriate security safeguards. “The mentality of joint ownership is what really creates the right environment for end-to-end software delivery management, where everybody has a part in the process,” Sharma says.
Tune in to Episode 77 of DevOps Radio to hear more from Sharma and Ashley about the state of software delivery management and their personal experiences navigating the world of DevOps.