How to increase the delivery speed with agile risk management?

August 24, 2021

iauro Team

Contributing immensely to the global software solutions ecosystem. DevOps | Microservices | Microfrontend | DesignThinking LinkedIn
Many of us are prejudiced that speed and accuracy cannot coexist. We assume that by increasing the speed of tasks and processes, we can sacrifice accuracy, quality or safety. How many times have we heard the adage “slow and tenacious wins the race”?

In the last few years, software delivery has changed substantially.

In fact, when it comes to software delivery, focusing on speed is inherently more secure and less risky.

When you look at the delivery process as a whole – and begin to understand all the work that needs to be done to transfer software to end users – you realize that you can make software go from concept to cash both faster and faster. more reliable way. Not only will speed help us solve our problems faster, but teams using this method will be able to do more in terms of processes and automation.

How is this possible?

By combining DevOps with a value stream management (VSM) approach, organizations can launch software faster while adding value to the business. In this blog, I will explain how to get started with these two solutions and why they are important. You can also watch my recent webinar Reduce the Risk of Faster Software Delivery with DevOps and Focus on Delivering Value to learn more.
 

Understanding value streams in software delivery

Each software value stream is a unique entity or asset for your organization. The reason value streams are important to software delivery is that creating software is a lot like a production line. The key differences, of course, are how we think about physical manufacturing versus manufacturing software. We can actually see what is going on in a physical manufacturing facility. It is very difficult to understand or see progress in terms of software.

So how do we start providing such critical visibility to a software build? This is where value stream management (VSM) comes in. Value stream management is a discipline that leverages build from Lean techniques and makes building software more intuitive and efficient so that you understand exactly what stories and defects from your backlog are going through your continuous delivery pipeline.

There are four major barriers preventing companies from successfully practicing value stream management:
 

1. There is no standard measure of a business unit of value in an enterprise.

It is very important to define business value. I recommend Mark Schwartz’s book The Art of Business Value Creation. In this book, the author says that there is no hidden unit of business value that can be defined once and for all with this definition.
This is a hypothesis that can constantly change depending on what you deliver to your end-users and customers. Of course, it is important to understand what will best contribute to the achievement of the goals or desired outcomes of the organization, and this solution is unique to each organization. Companies should ask, “What is the value of our business so that we know how to deliver that value to our end user?”
 

2. Lack of transparency and traceability throughout the organization.

One of the things DevOps and Agile and our scalable Agile frameworks are really trying to do is provide more transparency and traceability for organizations to see how work moves from concept to money. As mentioned earlier, unlike an automobile production line, organizations cannot always track performance or progress throughout the software delivery pipeline and beyond.

3. Most organizations subscribe to issues in large batches, rather than small ones.

The DevOps Research and Assessment Organization has conducted extensive research demonstrating that high-performance software vendors make and are making small changes as opposed to large ones. This allows organizations to opt-out of small changes if the need arises.

4. Most organizations fund projects, not products.

When we fund projects, not products, we have so-called very high collaboration costs, because, from a project perspective, we usually fund a project team to work on a specified project for a certain period of time.
And when that deadline expires and the funding ends, this team can get new funding for a new project that is not related to the previous one. And so it is very difficult to maintain and maintain the project that they were working on, which comes down to the high cost of working together.
 

Moving faster and in smaller batch sizes is a better approach

We focus on faster delivery because it is proven to help organizations reduce risk. This is for several reasons:

  • We can collect customer feedback on changes to help us determine customer value more quickly.
  • Making and releasing smaller changes is easier to test, protect, fix, or rollback.
  • Less work-in-progress reduces risk, according to Dominica Degrandis’s Make Work Visible.

As we reduce the transaction costs associated with large batch releases, we begin to understand the concept of merging changes. We can then start watching how we reduce the batch size for smaller changes in smaller pools for better results.

Start by mapping your value stream to collect all the relevant information

Practicing DevOps and using value stream management certainly takes time to implement and scale, however, the easiest way to get started is using a value stream map.

Value stream mapping helps you see the delivery stages and maturity of your software. If it helps the organization to gain an understanding of what is automated and what tasks are performed manually. By understanding more fully how work items affect the process and how the process affects the overall value stream, you are on the right path to managing your value stream.

Keep in mind that the main goal here is to build confidence in the software that your organization supplies. This means more confidence of project managers, QA, and developers, as well as the confidence of the executive team in the work done. Of course, by understanding the value of the business, key stakeholders increase confidence in the organization’s efforts and teams can plan more effectively.

And, of course, there is nothing better than having your customer’s precious trust that comes from consistently safe and reliable innovation.

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