What Can Strategy Learn From DevOps?

Can strategists learn from tech teams? We think so. 

Global leaders in software development are combining development and operations teams, and using the DevOps approach to increase time to market, improve quality and break down silo-ed disciplines and cultures.  Modern strategists can learn much from this approach, not least how to shorten timelines and get strategies adopted faster by the business.

So?

Whether it’s changing the rate of software updates or completely overhauling your operations, today’s always-on 24/7 market demands speed. However, the faster you want something done, the more likely there are to be errors lurking in the code.

This leads to tension: development teams always want to create and deploy new ideas and tools for software as quickly as possible. By contrast, operations teams, want stability, and they assess and optimise the software which development teams create.

Combining these teams - using DevOps allows both teams to excel in their respective fields without sacrificing update frequency or speed.

Direct collaboration between these two teams plays a major role in reducing inefficiency. A key change along the way has been switching from manual to automated delivery. Performed by testing software, this saves valuable time on menial activities, leading to better use of unplanned time, boosting productivity as well as the output of quality software and improving time to market.

So What?

At its core, DevOps is rooted in a mindset and culture. Large companies that use DevOps such as Amazon (with AWS) and Netflix both emphasise this and how this benefits a company.

There’s an increased trust from both teams. As they work together, their roles as well as their responsibilities are shared. This leads to transparency between both teams making it easier to cooperate and saving time in the process.

The result of this is that everyone is valued - as a team but also as individuals.

Both teams can excel at what they do best with minimal miscommunication.

The decision to switch from manual deployment to automated deployment also benefits the quality of DevOps greatly as it leads to consistent and reliable delivery of software.

Automated delivery provides the solution to those problems by putting in place a collaborative effort to create shorter software cycles that can be released at any time. This encourages communication and co-operation between the DevOps teams and can result in polished, consistent software for customers.

Automated delivery also provides more feedback from customers that can help the DevOps teams better improve the software. It’s a great tool that can really help smaller companies through the use of vast digital infrastructures.

So Now What?

There’s a rapidly growing use of DevOps and understanding of its importance, with Atlassian being a great example of a company that both uses and promotes the use of DevOps through their software.

There are strong parallels between the move to DevOps and the need for strategy to move in shorter cycles.  Today’s market moves too fast for industrial-era planning timelines. Configuring, testing and deploying strategies as soon as possible will become an imperative as disruptive tech takes hold of industries.

Here’s how you can learn from the DevOps revolution in software, and apply it today:

Speed and Efficiency - Automated delivery and direct communication between Dev and Ops teams means time being spent productively and efficiently.  How might your strategists work directly with operations teams to deploy, or simulate and feedback in shorter time scales? And what can you automate?

Mindset and Culture - Through a shared goal and combined work effort, DevOps allows for mutual respect between both teams, while still empowering each to be proficient in their respective areas. Can you build multi-functional teams, looking at the same problems and gain time to market? 

Continuity - DevOps breaks with the mindset of large, infrequent complex deployments, and turns the process of developing  and releasing software into business as usual. How can you make your strategy process feel more closely aligned to what’s going on rather than something divorced from the reality of the business?

Image: By Kharnagy - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51215412

Copy written by: James Oliver Craigmillar