Well.. DevOps has been trending for over a decade, so there is nothing new in that sentiment.
What is new, though, is that it’s also been trending in new directions to enable the organisation’s business operation functions work more seamlessly with product development and delivery functions.
To be sure, the word BizDevOps is made up of three different words : Business + Development + Operation, and yes it looks a little bit awkward.. but hey at least it rolls of the tongue quite nicely (say it after me – beez-dev-opps).
So, what is all the fuss about a ‘yet-another-frankenstein-esque’ acronym?
DevOps has been instrumental in improving quality in software development, but what’s been lacking is Customer Focus. DevOps by design is introspective, as in customer focus is an implied benefit of delivering higher quality software quicker.
But in the fast changing landscape of technology, DevOps is a given capability in almost all serious product development organisations, so it no longer represents the kind of competitive edge it once did.
We must bring Customer Focus into the foreground of everything we do, including DevOps, or we shall perish.
Let me give you an example from my own experience of implementing a DevOps delivery model for a global organisation over a decade ago when DevOps was in its infancy. I set up a half dozen teams, each with its own DevOps mandate along the application competency – Salesforce, Tibco, SAP, and Data Analytics, and oh boy we were able to achieve amazing level of efficiency in pumping out new releases.
The teams were like well-oiled machines and the operation looked more like a factory than software development (LEAN practitioners eat your heart out).
However, after a year, we started to see a huge gap in the operation – business context! Each team running its own DevOps mandate started to lose sight of the business context in which their work was contributing.
They were busy building software widgets at the speed of light which only get assembled at the point of integration.
The operation I had set up worked fine when most of the team members were familiar with the business requirements, but the problem surfaced when we started to have turnover of staff and new staff were disconnected from the customer.
When the teams started to lose sight of business context, we started to lose sight of the actual customer that we were serving.
So, how can BizDevOps help?
Let’s start with PMI’s BizDevOps vision diagram and break it down further:-
Here, the business operation acts as the voice of customer. It’s unlikely nor necessary for your internal DevOps teams to have direct conversations with the end customer, but their voices need to be ‘plumbed-in’ to the DevOps ecology.
The definition of Business Operations covers all areas of business functions that support your customer; for example product development, sales, customer service, internal stakeholder groups, finance.
Why does BizDevOps work?
Because, by incorporating Business Operations into the DevOps loop, your ability to react to the changing needs of the customer improves dramatically as the silo mentality that often exists between the business and technology teams becomes less significant.
We often throw around the word ‘Design Thinking’ if we run out of ideas to describe iterative and customer centric approach to product development. Without resorting to too many other cliches, let’s just say BizDevOps is a practical way of implementing the Design Thinking ethos into your existing DevOps capability.
It works because the voice of the customer is omnipresent in the teams who are building and deploying the product.
BizDevOps is presented in depth in our Disciplined Agile courses. If you’d like to look into it further, please contact me at email@example.com.