Monday, December 11, 2017

7 Principles for DevOps Success

Success today in the App based economy, business success depends on DevOps. Business leaders must understand what it dates to build a mature, effective Continuous Development (CD) practice.

Here are 7 key principles business leaders must embrace and practice.

1. Production readiness 
The fundamental principle behind CD is the ability to deliver a production-ready release on demand. The organization must reach a maturity level in which the application code is always in a production ready state. Production readiness does not necessarily mean that the application is deployed to production on a continuous basis, but rather the organization retains the ability to do so at will.

2. Uncompromised quality
Software quality cannot be compromised at any point and the development organization has to prioritize high quality over new features. Ensuring a consistent high quality requires
developer's responsibility and proper tooling. It demands tiers of comprehensive testing: Unit testing and static analysis before build and automated functional testing, load, and endurance  testing with proper runtime diagnostics tools in place. Quality failures abort the build process until resolution.

3. Repeatable delivery
The entire software delivery process from build through staging to production must be reliably repeatable so that each iteration is performed in an identical manner. This is achieved by adopting IT tasks automation. Repeated manual tasks that are prone to errors and inconsistencies are also wasting expensive IT resources and time. Automation of these tasks is a prerequisite to any successful CD process.

4. Frequent build and integration
A CD environment operates with the notion that changes to the application code between build cycles are minimal. Agile, incremental development is practiced alongside CD to ensure that
the development project is broken into short iterations. Builds are triggered on all code checked-in to ensure that problems are isolated and addressed quickly.

5. Application stack consistency
The application stacks should be consistent and automatically provisioned to eliminate environment configuration inconsistencies. Consistency also accelerates the developer's and IT problem resolution capability as it reduces the failures related to application external dependencies.

6. Diagnostics and application management
High code quality requires problem detection and immediate resolution as defects occur. Fast and meaningful diagnostics data becomes critical to a successful CD implementation. Static analysis and dynamic analysis tools are sequentially deployed during the build cycle providing developers with the insight and drill down data. Lack of developer insight and diagnostics information allows defects to slip through and delay the ability to deliver a quality build.

7. Broad test automation coverage
Test automation is a prerequisite to ensure high quality and production readiness. Unit tests and multiple layers of automated functional tests are implemented to identify potential issues and regressions. Developers are required to develop unit tests for each submitted piece of code. Automated code quality and unit testing during the integration phase should cover at minimum 90 percent of the code. 

Product Management in Sustaining Products

Every product goes through its natural product lifecyle. After the initial release - ver 1.0, it rapidly goes through mass adaptation and then most often a product goes into a long period of sustenance - where there are few incremental features being added and new platform support being added to keep the product relevant to the marketplace.

Product management in this phase where the product is jut being sustained is just as important as its initial creation. This is the time where the product generates the highest profits. It is therefore very important for product managers to be very prudent and efficient in managing the product.

To be very successful in this life stage of the product, one needs to adapt management by metrics approach and here there are four main metrics:

1. Time to Market
2. Development Costs
3. Defect Rates
4. Support Costs

Figure-1: An illustration of main metrics

The main focus of product management here is to ensure that these metrics are heading in rapid downward trends. For example, the objective may  be to reduce the defect rates by 73% (when compared to the baseline version - usually ver 3.0 or the version which defined the product)

These metrics then become the driving factors for new development - i.e., incremental development of the product.

At this stage of product lifecycle, it is very important to adapt agile practices: Agile product management, Agile product development and Agile leadership to lower the costs of sustaining the product in a very significant manner and increase the profits from the product.

Thus make the core cost centers as the key profit center!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Ten Things One Should know about DevOps

DevOps has taken the IT world by storm over the last few years and continues to transform the way organizations develop, deploy, monitor, and maintain applications, as well as modifying the underlying infrastructure. DevOps has quickly evolved from a niche concept to a business imperative and companies of all sizes should be striving to incorporate DevOps tools and principles.

The value of successful DevOps is quantifiable. According to the 2015 State of DevOps Report, organizations that effectively adopt DevOps deploy software 30 times more frequently and with 200 times shorter lead times than competing organizations that have yet to embrace DevOps.

They also have 60 times fewer failures, and recover from those failures 168 timesfaster. Those are impressive numbers and define why succeeding at DevOps is so important for organizations to remain competitive today.

As the DevOps revolution continues, though, many enterprises are still watching curiously from the sidelines trying to understand what it's all about. Some have jumped in, yet are struggling to succeed. But one thing's certain — it's a much greater challenge to succeed at DevOps if your CIO doesn't grasp what it is or how to adopt it effectively.