Agile and Lean techniques are well established in the Software and Tech industries. They bring an approach to software development that focuses on delivering quality products at speed, enabling projects to iterate quickly and to respond to changing market conditions and user demand. Now businesses are applying agile ideas across the entire delivery life-cycle from concept, through development, to release and even on to customer success. DevOps is the application of agile methods to prioritize above all, the continuous delivery of working software that meets the needs of the users. It takes software from development to operations and beyond and enables businesses to innovate faster and to adapt and above all deliver business value at high velocity.However, the management of a DevOps project can be challenging as it requires more continuous effort and more subtle attention than traditional project management. Before, project managers would plan based on fixed specifications and known milestones, whereas now, DevOps projects embrace change, working to deliver functionality to users in short bursts - adapting the deliverables to meet the deadlines. Because DevOps applies to the entire lifecycle of a project we are forced to breakdown the traditional silos of Development, QA, Operations and Support. We need to build teams that communicate and work together to smooth the flow of ideas, using real-time feedback to deliver customer success.
Distributed Organizations and Teams
Alongside this shift in methodology, we are seeing a change in the formation of teams within modern organizations. Today, it is common for project teams to include employees who don't operate out of the same office, live in the same time zone or use the same development practices. And yet, despite these factors, teams are expected to meet the needs of any given project within a specified timeline. When you combine this with the short term iterative focus of agile, this can lead to difficulties in truly understand the status of a project. All of these factors combined are leading management to seek out new reporting tools that create strategic metrics. This is what is necessary to allow them to effectively manage in this new dynamic environment.
The Product Owner
In the agile world, with project responsibility passing to the Product Owner, the PMO takes on a more advisory and consultative role, rather than a controlling role. Alongside this, the PMO is responsible for creating a well-trained workforce, ensuring that they are armed with the right processes and tools to carry out their tasks effectively. They are expected to do all of this whilst keeping the project aligned to the company’s overall goals.
It is clear that the primary responsibility of the Product Owner now leans more towards delivering business value, rather than simply managing project costs and schedules. This is a huge change for businesses. More responsibility is placed on the operations side of the organization to provide project direction, regardless of whether or not they are prepared to take on such responsibility. Putting in place proper reporting and feedback processes with well-defined metrics, supported by the appropriate software tools, are fundamental to the success of this new model.
Using Jira to Manage DevOps
In order to manage this dynamic agile environment, organizations across the world are implementing DevOps tool stacks, which includes tools to facilitate team communication, coordination, reporting and management. Atlassian’s JIRA is used by over 48,000 organizations to manage their agile software development processes. It is one of the most widely deployed bug-tracking, issue-tracking and project-management software tools in the world. In saying this, once the power of JIRA is understood, administrators tend to become flooded with project creation requests. This can often lead to “JIRA sprawl” which, in turn, can create problems for management who only need a top level view of status across all their projects.
DevOps reporting with ServiceClarity is one way to give management the metrics they need, whilst also enabling them to improve the efficiency of the entire process. DevOps reporting provides a feedback loop that is the key to understanding how well teams deliver, how fast processes change and how best to help people plan when a company switches to agile. Another advantage of this type of reporting is that it also seeks to be inclusive, bridging the gaps between teams outside of the development organization. This enables stakeholders and teams, outside of the loop of development tools such as JIRA, to stay informed. They are then able to plan based on real-time feedback, therefore reducing the ‘Silo’ effect, which can often lead to delays and cost overruns. Even in an agile world, businesses still need to answers the questions:
When will we be done? and Do we have the capacity to deliver?
Read more in our free DevOps reporting Ebook plus the top 4 DevOps metrics to measure. ServiceClarity DevOps Reporting Dashboard.