We recently won a competitive contract to deliver DevOps transformation services to a large commercial enterprise. For confidentiality, we’ll refer to this company as none other than “ACME Corp.”

Like many other progressive and enlightened IT leaders, the CIO of ACME understands the potential of the DevOps revolution. According to the 2017 State of DevOps Report, high-performing organizations that effectively use DevOps principles and practices achieve such outcomes as:

  • 46x more frequent software deployments
  • 96x faster recovery from failures
  • 440x faster lead time for changes
  • Higher levels of customer satisfaction, employee happiness, and operational efficiency

Unfortunately, the ACME CIO’s previous attempts at transformation yielded only a small fraction of such outcomes, fell short of preparing management for full-scale adoption, and left the organization questioning the value of DevOps. Given this situation, the ACME CIO sought an outside partner to help reignite and accelerate the organization’s DevOps transformation journey. Given our talent and experience in this area, we felt well-positioned to deliver the necessary goods.

Under an extremely tight proposal period, we responded with an approach that focused on building up ACME’s internal DevOps capacity as quickly as possible so they can manage the journey sustainably, self-sufficiently, and effectively.

Phases of the ACME engagement.

Those words — sustainably, self-sufficiently, and effectively — aren’t just sales fluff; they’re key engagement outcomes that we’re trying to achieve.

Sustainability is about helping ACME chart a course that doesn’t overload the organization with too many simultaneous change initiatives. Steady progress is best achieved by focusing on improving a couple of high-impact capabilities (for example, test automation and deployment automation) at a time. Once sustainable progress has been made, then the organization is ready to take on more. Think of it as kanban for transformation that enables rapid incremental capability development.

Self-sufficiency is about building up ACME’s internal DevOps expertise to point where dependence on expensive outside consultancies is minimized or eliminated. One of the things that we proposed is the establishment of a DevOps Center of Excellence (CoE), similar to Disney’s highly successful DevOps CoE. To staff ACME’s DevOps CoE, we proposed the use of an emerging, innovative talent management practice called “people flow,” such as the Presidential Innovation Fellows or Capital One’s Tech Fellows.

Effectiveness is about giving ACME a decision-making framework that enables leadership to decide how best to plan budget allocations so initial and ongoing investments in improving their DevOps capabilities yield the highest impact on IT performance.

To help realize these engagement outcomes, we partnered with DevOps Research & Assessment (DORA). DORA provides an outcome-oriented, science-based DevOps assessment methodology that enables metrics-driven continuous improvement. (We’re an official reseller.)

You can read our full technical proposal on GitHub, as well as our oral presentation. Most companies would deem such information as proprietary or sensitive competitive material; however, we’re not interested in hoarding any knowledge or thinking that might improve the world we live in. We’d rather take our chances competing on the grounds of who offers the best talent and cultural fit for the job.

If you’re interested in chatting with us about how we could support your DevOps transformation journey, we’d love to hear from you.