Co-authored by Dheeraj Marcus
General verbatim we hear from clients is that faster and more frequent changes to their IT systems introduce more significant risks to them, breaking.
IT Organizations are much like tight rope walkers, delicately balancing the stability of operations against maximizing the speed of delivery. Unfortunately, this results in silos between groups that are measured on how well they do their job, keeping things stable against groups that are measured against how quickly they can deliver changes for the business and their customers.
At Infosys Consulting, we believe that bold organizations take the leap and unite these two groups to share the same intention and place the customer at the heart of what they do. If one group intends to create amazing new digital experiences for customers, the other typically want to protect the same experiences and ensure they do not deteriorate. It is the combination of both, which ends up delivering the best outcome for customers. There are three critical features to help achieve this outcome successfully. Designing incremental changes, automation, and aligning the ways of working across teams.
DESIGNING INCREMENTAL CHANGES
This kind of transformation is enabled by designing incremental changes and delivering them more frequently. When changes are delivered over shorter periods, if they break, it’s much easier to remember the details of what was built because it was a short time ago.
“Incremental changes improve the capability and speed to fix things, and allows the business to deliver value quicker.”
This concept of carving things down into smaller pieces needs to begin from the moment the idea has been conceived. From that point onwards, a robust discussion of desirability, feasibility, and viability will help to elaborate and define what the smallest increment looks like. Generating value and impact for the investment is a critical aspect for our clients today.
Automation plays a vital role in achieving the velocity that organizations seek. However, when introducing the concept of deploying changes to products and services more frequently, any repetitive manual activities involved are multiplied. For example, deploying software changes into a production environment may have some manual steps. Even performing regression testing to prove existing functions are not broken is repetitive. This threatens the ability to increase the speed and frequency of delivery. It also introduces a higher risk of human error through its increased dependency on people.
“Automating repetitive tasks reduces human error and gives teams time to focus on more rewarding and higher-value work.”
ALIGNING WAYS OF WORKING
Aligning the ways of working is vital to bring the development and operations teams together towards a modern-day DevOps model. For example, both Developers and Operational team members should attend the same stand-up meeting and cadence. Both teams will get a chance to share what they have been working on, upcoming tasks, and any bottlenecks. The teams work cohesively, creating opportunities to help each other. Ultimately, the outcomes are a shared responsibility of the entire team, even if the initial core responsibilities for stability and speed of delivery are split between members.
“A ‘One Team’ mindset is crucial for all team members to realize that both the success as well as the failures are shared.”
As the number of things that break reduces over time, the ‘Operations’ part of the DevOps team starts to free up and have a greater capacity to improve the team’s velocity. This blurs the hard lines between the sub-groups, as it creates members that are more “T-Shaped” in their skills, and eventually, they all morph into the ‘One Team’.
When organizations replace discussions of cost and schedule with conversations about developing more profound empathy and intentions towards delighting their customers, this is a significant improvement indicator of their organizational agility. It showcases how they are shifting mindsets to allow the customer to take the center point of the conversation. They arrive at a point where the risk of stability no longer limits them. Therefore, gradually shifting into a world where balancing stability versus speed is no longer the problem to solve.
Partner, Infosys Consulting
Rohit is a partner in our APAC region where he advises clients across a number of areas such as organic and inorganic growth, enterprise-wide transformation, capital optimization, harnessing of operating model capabilities such as Future of work, Analytics and Digital. Prior to Infosys Consulting, he has held executive roles across Telecom, Media and Financial services sectors including a number of years within global management consulting firms.
Dheeraj is a leader within the Communications, Media and Entertainment sector. His focus areas are growth, transformation and operational excellence for his clients. He brings over 20 years of experience in planning and successfully delivering large scale digital transformation programs across Telecommunications and Public Sectors. He has led the development of strategies and solutions with business executives by facilitating the resolution of complex issues. He is passionate about innovation, disruptive technologies and collaboration.