100% Agile within a Year – The DevOps Cube
by Niall Crawford
An interesting article I spotted on LinkedIn this week:
- [Bank] to be “100 per cent Agile” within a year, says senior coach
Interesting for a few reasons, one – the post was quickly removed after receiving a battering in the comments section and across general social media and secondly because these “agile at scale” comments are a pet “bug-bear” of mine.
Saying that however, I probably must also assume that the excitable author may have “partially” miscommunicated the intended message of the “agile thought leader” and thus why the article was quickly swept under the carpet.
Nevertheless, it did get me thinking.
How could a large company, like a bank, be 100% agile? And how could they prove it?
I see two fundamental challenges or truisms:
- Companies are federated
Companies tend to be federated, by Business Unit or Platform and of course teams. This of course has certain benefits, however, it also means “mileage” can vary. Some teams have good leaders & smart engineers, other poorer divisions less so.
- Measuring agile is difficult.
Counting the number of agile coaches is not a realistic method and organizations rarely have the necessary statistics (past baseline information or accurate real-time statistics) to demonstrate they have accelerated delivery timelines, increased change volumes and continue to provide quality.
With this objective in mind, I set a challenge for the team to come up with a solution, using our own Enov8 Platform, that our clients might use as a method, in part at least, to measure their IT maturity & agility.
The result after some brain storming was the “DevOps Cube”.
An approach based on understanding the organization is built upon IT Systems & Platforms.
Each system is made up of building blocks that span across:
- IT Environment Tiers i.e. infrastructure, applications & data
- IT Environment Operations e.g. build, deploy, test (& maybe secure).
They also have different maturity levels from Chaos to Defined to Automated to Self-Service.
Do you ever wonder why the environment preparation or releases take so long? After all, the company just invested “zillions” on a whole bunch of great tools and a cloud framework.
So, you have decided you’re going to implement a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and promote a continuous delivery pipeline by implementing “Agile Release Trains”…
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