Agile, DevOps, Lean - What’s Your Maturity Level?By Forrester Research.
You Will Receive:
- A scorecard, including Forrester’s diagnosis and recommended next steps based on your maturity level
- A Forrester report “How To Build Better Software, Faster”
- Additional recommendations from Tasktop
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Forrester can tell you where you are and where you need to go to build better software, faster.
When it comes to making Agile, DevOps and Lean work it’s important to take a hard look at the realities of where you stand now and where you need to go to make sure that your company’s investment in these key software delivery initiatives pays off.
That’s why Forrester created the Modern Application Delivery Assessment Tool. It was designed to help organizations evaluate where they fall on the spectrum of modern software delivery and offer insight into what needs to happen next.
Organizations operating a MAD Masters have strong capabilities and mindset, appropriate change management, excellent skills and a Lean organization, and advanced Agile practices to support continuous business delivery. They are using customer analytics to design and prioritize development. Their apps are clearly aligned to growth opportunities, and they are likely enabling highly-relevant client experiences either directly or through front-line employees. Their capabilities are a source of competitive advantage for their organizations.
MAD Masters have a robust development and delivery metrics program and are able to measure cycle times across disciplines. Masters use this insight regularly to inform business stakeholders how they’re improving time to value. They should look to directly tie their software development and delivery metrics and data to the KPIs and other key metrics used by the business to set strategy and drive operations forward.
As a MAD Master, you must continue to improve the quality and pace of customer insights that shape development work. You must reduce cycle times and release scope. As your teams work together and really get to know the customers they serve, they will become better at spotting useful feedback and rapidly innovating their applications. Those teams need to have clearly defined autonomy to make needed updates and improvements that drive business value.
At this level, an application development and delivery (ADD) team is a strong practitioner of Agile, Lean, and DevOps (Infrastructure as Code) and capable of scaling those concepts to other teams. MAD Practitioners have achieved alignment with business priorities. Development processes are somewhat dependable, and prioritization processes are well-defined, even if the prioritization criteria include clout and horse-trading. Success is not purely measured in terms of meeting time and budget requirements estimates, but includes contribution to business value. Development teams have some latitude to adjust scope and redirect efforts as new feedback comes in. The ADD organization’s competency has elevated its stature in the broader organization; it’s now viewed as a growth partner, not purely a cost center. MAD practitioners should now extend their practices and principles to other parts of the organization.
These organizations integrate their processes and tools across their software development life cycle. PMO, development, and operations teams connect regularly, though direct integration between systems each uses may not exist. MAD practitioners should strive to integrate the tools used in development and operations to provide greater transparency, support regular collaboration, and deliver a more fluid response to customer issues.
Operating at this level, you should have cross-functional teams led by business product owners. They should continue to build and support these teams and break down functional silos. To advance your effectiveness, you’ll need to continue to accelerate delivery cycles and improve and refine customer feedback loops and cycle times. A few practical steps you can take include:
- Reducing release scope - challenge assumptions about minimum viability and release risk
- Practicing hypothesis-driven development - supported by application analytics
- Co-creating of solutions to increase technical innovation - requires a singular, “one team” customer-focus
As a MAD Experimenter, it can be difficult and slow to get applications developed and deployed. When MAD Experimenters do, they are probably not delivering all the right things for the business, and things delivered are not done right. Apps are not very engaging for users, and don’t contribute to growth. Customer feedback and overall CX design may influence development priorities, but development takes too long. The development process is too rigid to react quickly to new insights and information from the market; applications feel dated before they are released. There is little visibility into the value the app teams provide, which makes it difficult to get the resources needed for continued improvement. Application development and delivery (ADD) teams at this stage may not be consistently contributing to their firm’s growth and competitive position.
Handoffs from one discipline to the other are well understood, but there is little process automation in place. At this stage, handoffs are usually performed via email and meetings. And artifacts (such as defects) are “shared” via spreadsheets. These organizations can measure their processes using reports from their ALM tools, but rarely systemize the extensive use of this information.
ADD teams at this stage need to continue to improve their core capabilities, but can begin introducing more operational alignment with business and product leaders. Teams should fully embrace Agile and Lean development practices. Integrate QA into development, and get developers to test more. Embrace portfolio and work management tools, release automation, and adopt ‘infrastructure as code’ to standardize environment configurations.
If you haven’t aligned into product-focused teams, that’s your next priority. Ensure that your teams have the skills, processes, and stability in place to improve delivery discipline. As the product-focused teams improve, they will be able to support your organization’s customer experience goals. You should consider investing in ALM and DevOps tooling, including new applications and integration, to enable better collaboration, visibility, and governance. Further, you should be ready to start scaling modern application delivery concepts and practices (Agile, DevOps, CD) throughout the enterprise.
As a MAD Neophyte, your application development and delivery (ADD) cycles are long and don’t connect much to customer needs and feedback. The ADD team is probably viewed as cost structure to be managed, not a growth driver. Development resources are shared across functions, so there’s competition for these scarce resources. Growth opportunities compete for the same resources as internal projects. Business and tech leaders struggle to understand what drives costs and timeline for projects, and are therefore reluctant to commit resources to small-scale fixes and improvements. ADD teams at this stage may be holding back their firms’ growth.
There is little limited formal understanding of the connection between disciplines and the handoffs among them. The tool infrastructure is likely to be either non-existent or ad hoc with limited planning in what ALM tools would benefit the organization.
At this stage, you must start improving application development and quality assurance capabilities. There are ample opportunities to do this. By starting here, you’ll gain the credibility you’ll need to push change further into the organization. A few key changes that you can make include:
- Simplifying the build and testing process infrastructure
- Reducing application coupling to improve cycle times
- Adopting Agile project management principles
- Organizing into ‘product teams’, aligning those team closely with business stakeholders, and empowering them to make feature and priority decisions along with their business counterparts.
As a MAD Master, you should have your entire tool infrastructure integrated as well as have a robust metrics program. You have a complete picture of your end-to-end software development and delivery capability and regularly use reports, dashboards and KPIs to improve delivery effectiveness.
Now you are prepared to advance your understanding of the business value provided by tying software development and delivery metrics and data, to business KPIs and the key metrics used to set strategy and drive operations forward. Tasktop can help you join the data from your software development and delivery capability with the data from other parts of the business such as sales, HR, manufacturing, finance, etc.
Make sure you have the most robust DevOps Integration Hub available.
We recommend that you:
As a MAD Practitioner, you have embraced Agile, Lean and DevOps practices. You have provided your team the right blend of requirements management, Agile planning, test management, change management and PPM tools. And you’ve seen the value in interconnecting these tools and providing automated flow of artifacts from tool to tool and practitioner to practitioner.
But you may not have connected those tools to the tools used by your customer-facing teams (for example, connecting service desk software to the development team’s tools for rapid response to issues reported by customers to the help desk).
You also may not have integrated your IT automation/DevOps tools with the PPM, Agile planning, test management and requirements management tools. By connecting these DevOps tools into the integration fabric, you can enable full traceability across business initiatives, requirements, user stories, tests, defects, changesets, builds, releases, and more.
Tasktop can help by providing an easy-to-deploy, robust integration fabric that connects the most important tools in software development and delivery.
To achieve MAD Masters status, you need to build a robust metrics program that spans the boundaries of each tool. Tasktop can help you create a pan-lifecycle metrics program that can measure defect cycle time from when a problem was reported at the help desk, through the fix/retest cycle, and end when the fix is put into production—and much more.
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We recommend that you:
As a MAD Experimenter you’ve developed a tool chain to support your development and test team, but there is no integration among these tools. This prevents fluid collaboration among team members. Your next step is to integrate the tools you have so that defects and user stories flow between tools. Integration will allow these artifacts to be readily shared between developers and testers, improving the productivity of the development and test teams.
As you continue to follow the guidelines provided by Forrester to embrace other tools such as portfolio management, work management and release automation, you should consider how these tools will work together to provide a productive infrastructure for your project teams. This involves planning for tool integration during the tool evaluation, purchase and roll-out process. You must add “ability to integrate with other tools” as a key criterion for purchasing these tools and you must add the integration of these tools to the tool rollout project plan.
By selecting tools that are part of the Tasktop Integration Network, you can be sure your tools will integrate together seamlessly using Tasktop Sync, and will feed a cross-tool metrics database, using Tasktop Data. Enabling collaboration and metrics collection will speed your progress toward the next MAD stage.
As a MAD Neophyte, it’s likely that you don’t have the tool infrastructure you need to succeed. Requirements and defects are probably managed in spreadsheets; task assignments may be performed using traditional project management techniques, rather than using Agile methodologies.
To make your core development and testing teams effective, you need to invest in Agile planning and test management tools. And to improve your development capabilities, you must measure them. Start by using the reporting features of these tools to collect rudimentary metrics such as burn-down of user stories and defects.
Tasktop can help you create a “short list” of leading software development and delivery tools.
Learn all you can about Agile planning and test management principles and tools.
Start by reviewing Tasktop’s Integration Network. It will help you develop your “short list” of leading software development and delivery tools. Selecting tools in the Tasktop Integration Network will insure that your tools and teams can be easily integrated.
We recommend that you: