Getting collaboration right in Agile & DevOps – Press Pass

I don’t do press passes as much as I did when I was an analyst, but here’s one from a recent email interview for a ProjectsAtWork story:

Q: What’s your favorite tip to improve collaboration when an organization moves to agile and DevOps?

A: I think the core DevOps thing with collaboration is getting people to trust each other. Most corporate cultures are not built on people trusting each other and feeling comfortable: they’re based in competitive, zero sum structures or command and control management at best.

Organizations that are looking to DevOps for help are likely trying to innovate new software and services and so they have to shift to a mode of operating that encourages collaboration and creativity. Realizing that is a critical step: we want to create and run new software, so we need to understand and become a software producing organization.

In contrast, if you operate differently if you’re just driving down costs each quarter and not creating much with IT. We’d counter-argue that if you’re a large organization and you’re not worrying about software then you’ll be creamed by your competition who is becoming a software organization.

If forced to pick one tip to increase collaboration I would say: do it by starting to work. How you do this is to pick a series of small projects and slowly expand the size of the projects. These projects should be low profile, but have direct customer/revenue impact so that they’re real. It’s important for these projects to be actual applications that people use, not just infrastructure and back-end stuff. It will help the team understand the new way of operating and at the same time help build up momentum and success for company wide transformation later down the road.

As a basic tactic, Andrew Shafer has a fun, effective tactic about having each people on the team wrote fantasy press releases about each other to start to build trust.

(See the full piece by Will Kelly over on the site.)

Dealing with “disposable software” for enterprises

With consumer SaaSes and mobile apps coming and going, I’ve been thinking of the idea of “disposable software”: apps that last a year or so, but aren’t guaranteed to last longer. In the consumer space, there’s rarely been a guarantee that free software will last – that’s part of the “price” you pay for free.

This mentality is getting into business software more and more, however, and I don’t think “enterprises” are prepared for it. Part of the premium you pay for enterprise software should include the guarantee that it will have a longer life-cycle, but it’s worth asking if it does.

Also, it’s good for enterprises to be aware of vendors, particularly open source driven ones, are putting out code that might be “disposable.” The prevailing product management think nowadays encourages experimenting and trying things out: abandoning “failed” experiments and continuing successful ones. Clearly, if you’re a “normal” enterprise, you want to avoid those failed experiments and, at best, properly control and govern your use of them.

Of course, there are trade-offs:

  • With consumer, experiment-driven software, you’re always getting the newest thinking, which might turn out to be a good idea and provide your business with differentiating, “secret sauce”; or it might be a failed experiment that gets canceled
  • With “enterprise,” stable software you can generally count on it existing and being supported next year; but you’ll often be behind the curve on innovation, meaning you’ll have to layer on the “secret sauce” on your own.

It’s good to engage with both types of strategies, you just have manage the approach to hedge the risks of each.

The many meanings of “cloud broker”

From coverage of a keynote at Gartner DC:

That new role has less to do with managing disparate bits of infrastructure and more to do with selecting the best infrastructure strategy to provide a specific service. The toolbox they can select from includes on-premise or colocation data centers and cloud – private, public, or hybrid, on-prem or outsourced.

For as long as cloud has been around, the idea of a “cloud broker” has existed. For awhile, it meant software (or an “as a Service”) acting as a marketplace, like an App Store, that people would select IT services from.

It also can mean a market where you are continually buying the cheapest price, sort of arbitraging between the ever lowering costs of public clouds, some how magically loving workloads cheaply and quickly enough between these clouds to save money and time. You’ll hear people say “bursting” a lot here.

Of late I’ve noticed a more normal definition: the act of the IT department serving as a curator, service provider, and accountant for cloud services from vendors. I mean, that’s a large part of what IT has done all along, so it makes sense.

“The role of IT is shifting to become an intermediary between the customer and the data center and the service provider,” Bittman, a Gartner VP and distinguished analyst, said. “The service provider might be you, but it might be Google, or it might be Salesforce. It comes down to delegating responsibility.”

Today, digital business capabilities drive 18 percent of enterprise revenue, Raymond Paquet, a managing VP at Gartner, said. The analysts expect that portion to grow to 25 percent in two years and more than double by 2020, reaching 41 percent.

This last bit is what feels like s more dramatic change: IT being called on to help run the business, not just keep the lights on.

The one about how the innovator’s dilemma is like a zombie movie – Software Defined Talk #50

Summary

We discuss Gartner conferences and the two parts of Gartner, the innovator’s dilemma in monitoring and identity, Docker monetizing, and Vegas food.

Listen above, subscribe to the feed, or download the MP3 directly.

With Brandon Whichard, Matt Ray, and Coté.

SPONSOR: Take our awesome, multi-cloud PaaS for a test-ride. Get two free months of Pivotal Web Services. Whether you want to deploy on-premises, in a dedicated public cloud, or just keep using our PaaS, Pivotal Cloud Foundry has everything you need for doing cloud-native applications. Go to cote.io/pivotal for the sign-up code!

Subscribe to this podcast: iTunes, RSS Feed

Show notes

Gartner AADI

Docker Docker Docker

  • Docker announcements
    Does Matt have a good intro to Unikernals?
  • 8 Surprising Facts about Docker Adoption – 6% of DataDog traffic- Surprisingly detailed writeup on how they measured with 7000 customers: containers have an average lifespan of 3 days; while across all companies, traditional and cloud-based VMs have an average lifespan of 12 days.

Misc.

BONUS LINKS! Not covered in show

Follow-up

Recommendations

Doing the DevOps at National Instruments and BazaarVoice, talking with Ernest Mueller – Lords of Computing#10

Summary

Ernest Mueller has helped introduce DevOps in several organizations and has been talking about those stories at two companies he’s worked for, National Instruments and BazaarVoice. Matt and Coté hear these stories (mostly at National Instruments) and we discuss how Ernest and others helped transform these companies to the new way.

Download directly, listen above, or subscribe to the feed: iTunes, RSS Feed.

Show-notes and Links

The life of microservices in the F500 – Lords of Computing Podcast

Summary

You don’t hear too many stories about microservices in “normal” companies. In this episode, I talk with Nate Foreman about microservices-driven work he’s been doing with a large enterprise recently. We discuss the goods and the bads of this approach and, overall, how it’s working out. It’s a good discussion of how all the usual “cloud native” concept actually play out in the real world.

(As you can guess, it’s not actually an “action figure” company, we just used that example to mask the actual company.)

Download the episode directly, listen above, or subscribe to the feed: iTunes, RSS Feed

Show-notes and Links