Friday, November 18, 2016

DevOps Business Cases - Chatting with Robert...

I had a chance to catch up with my friend Robert Boyd. We had a nice chat about DevOps business cases. Prior to talking I threw together a Google Slides deck to have something for us to react to. It was a very nice chat and it turns out we were seeing things very much the same way. We made a couple of tweaks to the ideas as we talked, namely we added Robert's favorite three top down metrics at the end.

The deck would not imbed in a way that looked nice so this post has the content from the deck in simple outline form:

Top Down DevOps Benefits

  1. Reduce time to market - realize value faster, less coordination costs
  2. Hypothesis test value and growth assumptions using actual customer behavior, improve feature ROI
  3. Reduce/eliminate production incidents from changes, faster mean time to recover (MTTR):  avoid costs, build customer goodwill
  4. Reduce/repurpose operating costs- automate tasks across development, infrastructure and operations

 DevOps Levers

  1. Establish a Lean, self-improving culture
  2. Loosely coupled, intrinsically testable architectures, applications and services that are easy to change and scale
  3. Automated, self-service build pipelines of production like environments reduce environmental errors/defects
  4. Automated test suites with high test coverage to reduce defects
  5. Automated deployments to production reducing opportunities for error
  6. Enhanced telemetry tied to change events and self-service reporting reveal cause and effect thus improve MTTR
  7. Release automation and controls e.g. feature toggles, canary, blue green enabling flexible releases
  8. Split testing capabilities enabling customer hypothesis testing

 DevOps Enablers 

Organizational models

  • *Market based (value stream aligned) integrated teams (infra, ops, dev, test, product)
  • Functional (capability aligned, e.g. dev, ops, test, platform) deeply integrated lean process e.g. test first, ops requirements defined up front, phased production transition to run, platform team owns shared self-service capabilities
  • Matrix - mix of above two


  • Scrum/Kanban
  • Lean analysis e.g. A3, Value Stream Analysis Five Why’s
  • Statistical analysis of operations
  • ...


  • Cloud
  • Infrastructure as code
  • Continuous Integration
  • Deployment and release automation
  • Cluster management (e.g. improve utilization via oversubscription) 
  • ...

Three Top Down Metrics

Focus whole organization on a shared goal, improve:
  • Deploys/day
  • Prod issues/month
  • MTTR
These metrics create a punch list of inefficiencies in the system to attack via solid monitoring, test coverage, sustainable architectures etc.

Map the value stream, identify and subordinate constraints...

If you'd like to see the deck it's here:  DevOps Business Case Chat (looks nicer - I like Google Slides new "explore" formatting feature)...