In your world of IT without DevOps, development and operations teams do usually conflict. End-to-end quality assurance of required client features and benefits first start after development team begins to work on a completely different project. Information security and production readiness audits are conducted the day before the planned production roll-out. Solving software problems at this critical project stage, especially design and security flaws that must have been already identified and rectified 8 months ago do not only yield challenges for the successful continuity of your IT, but also for the continuity of your business. Tired developers, uncooperative operations, testing and information security silos, demanding but desperate project and product managers, angry executives and frustrated clients and IT stakeholders do not really add much added value.
Too many hands-off of activities and dependencies in every possible imaginable direction, countless uncoordinated, manual, nontransparent work in your IT department is just another day in business.
Despite of long lead times to get any work done, there is no better option available, at least not for now, and you know that you still need this job to earn money.
Finally the big day comes. After a problematic and chaotic production deployment which caused significant downtime at your business, you wonder if your deployment broke anything in the existing production functionality. You start thinking of the lack of clarity and tangible evidence about what really have happened and what have been really impacted in your production systems.
And yet Go-Live celebration already starts in the corridors of your large IT room. It’s also time for you to have a drink and mentally recover from the tough and sleepless night you left behind. What you broke last night in your production will be anyway the problem of somebody else. This is not a big deal…
Having said that you must be now wondering how it’s possible at all that these tough projects can finish in one or another way although they once have been really in an ugly and desperate shape. The answer lies in The Infinite Monkey Theorem. In a nutshell, the infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. This is no joke.
Similar to this, beyond any predictability about when the work can finish, provided that your IT team sufficiently delays and gains time for a given project, it will surely deliver the project.
Among many other key responsibilities, there are two major missions in your IT organization:
Given that your IT organization is structured in this way, your development and operations teams have conflicting missions and motivations. This conflict reduces productivity, quality of service, client satisfaction and outcomes of your IT department and finally your overall business performance.
Continuous firefighting, workarounds and unplanned activities to save your day will only result in accumulation of more technical debt. This not only impacts the performance of your development and operations, but it also negatively impacts all other units including your architecture, information security, testing, product management, release management and your business stakeholders.
You can resemble technical debt in financial debt. The more financial debt you have, the less options you have got to reach your desired goals. Ultimately it becomes almost impossible to give correct decision to reach the desired outcomes and you would be more likely to make additional financial debt.
Technical debt has no difference. The more technical debt you have, the less options you have to build and deliver correct solutions. Finally, you end up building workarounds on the top of workarounds, house of cards on house of cards. And it is a matter of time before they all collapse. You already know this.
A non-surprising but concerning fact about your business is that your most critical and revenue-generating systems are most prone to errors, crashes and downtimes.
These systems are usually in the center of your business and you have yet to participate a meeting that they are not somehow part of discussions. They are the most critical systems impacted by almost all projects. Due to the their severity in your business, they deserve continuous work, urgent changes, unplanned fixes, and yet these systems are never tired of producing Priority-1 incidents.
As your IT organization constantly breaks promises and frustrates its stakeholders, your stakeholders become more demanding to compensate the past. You and your leaders have often say nothing, but “why not” unless there is a better job offer lined up.
Then your software development and delivery organizations are assigned a larger challenge than usual. As your critical systems and IT architecture are not even in a close proximity to cover these requirements in given “urgent” timelines, you set out designing your new workarounds on the top of your existing set of workarounds.
And finally everyone gets little bit busier. Your calendar have no more free space to perform an hour of uninterrupted work for the position you are hired and paid for. Emails rain to your inbox, so you are now using mostly unproductive time at your meetings to clear and scan your mostly unclear and pointless incoming emails. You are curious why there is no mandatory training at your organization to teach how to use and write emails.
You’re usually dependent on other teams to be able to continue your own work. And yet the expectations you communicated a couple of weeks ago are not even in the radar of the other team yet because they just started their new “Horizon 2400” project while they had to solve 9 Priority-1 incidents caused by their fragile software applications.
You are slowly little bit impatient because you need some answers from your designated single point of contact person at the other team to get your own work going.
You couldn’t stop and sent another email to remind your request. This time you put her boss in CC and you thought you should have done this when you sent your request for the first time.
A couple of seconds haven’t passed yet and two out-of-office notifications popped up on your screen. Your single point of contact at the other team will be at “Horizon 2400” workshops until the end of this week. And her boss is sick at home today.
In this chapter we explained the challenges most of businesses and IT professionals face. The downward spirals and vicious cycles almost every business and every professional live with.
Gartner estimates that companies worldwide waste yearly about 600 billion USD for non-budgeted and non-scheduled IT maintenance work to keep revenue-generating IT systems up and running. Just to express this number with digits to see how it looks like: $600,000,000,000.-
As it might have been clear for you until this point, this level of waste in a highly cognitive profession such as information technology is not trivial to comprehend.
This is a good challenge to tackle with. DevOps have some answers for some companies and may be for your company too. Of course, if your company is ready to experiment, learn and adapt.