8 Ways DevOps & Mobility Remove Waste - InformationWeek
IT Leadership // IT Strategy
09:06 AM
Connect Directly

8 Ways DevOps & Mobility Remove Waste

Use the DevOps method to stamp out the toxically wasteful activity holding your business back.

In so many ways, DevOps is related to Lean thinking. Both focus on speeding up the flow of valuable results by removing bottlenecks, constraints, and wasteful activities. With DevOps, this involves building an IT culture that works to unify development, testing, deployment, and operational functions.

DevOps is especially suited to mobile development because time-to-value is so critical and conditions change so quickly. IT teams must constantly stay ahead of the curve in mobile by anticipating customer needs and learning from failure.

[Here's how one company used DevOps to create shared responsibility across teams. Read DevOps: Ingredients For The Best Recipe]

But in the quest for speed, DevOps teams must also eliminate any wasteful activity that impedes the flow of value to the customer -- especially these eight elements illustrated in Lean thinking:

1. Defects: A common belief in mobile app development is that defect-free products should be the main goal. Certainly a bug-free and high-performing app is important, but no matter how technically great an app is, it's a waste to produce something that nobody actually wants.

This is why continuous feedback with business users and customers is so critical in DevOps. Yes, the main purpose is to test performance and other technical aspects, but also to validate app design and development assumptions. Remember the old "assume" adage here -- and how quickly it can make an ass of u and me.

2. Over-production: Iterating quickly to produce more mobile app features is fine, but don't confuse a great user interface with a great user experience.

Just because downloads and traffic increase after releasing a web or mobile interface with new features doesn't mean a customer has hit the transaction button. DevOps teams should use actionable metrics to guide decision-making. For example, consider split-testing a new feature to 50% of your customers -- if it leads to more business it gets the green light, if not drop it.

3. Waiting: Agile development isn't really agile if teams have to wait for physical infrastructure to be provisioned. Typically, IT operations are seen as the culprits because they've held the keys to the datacenter, but there many areas where waiting can be a real problem -- especially across testing and development.

DevOps teams can address these bottlenecks with IaaS, but the real power of the cloud comes when it can be used to give teams more complete application configurations during any stage of development. Furthermore, DevOps teams can reduce wait times and reduce defects when the testing infrastructure itself is delivered as a set of virtualized services.

4. Non-value added processing: Fixing bugs and putting out technology fires adds no value to customers, so why measure how good you are at doing it? Furthermore, in a mobile app context this gets much harder because there are more factors beyond your control -- like network coverage and latency.

You only have to watch Formula 1 racing to see how DevOps-like teams respond when problems (minor crashes, track conditions) occur. Rather than waste time second-guessing, teams (drivers and pit crews) rely on onboard sensors to gain the intelligence needed to make adjustments in real-time. It's the same in IT, where tools like application performance management and crash analytics can deliver the feedback needed to improve development.

5. Transportation: Imagine developing a mobile app for sales teams or healthcare case workers. It's a great way to collect information at the point of contact, but sadly deficient if the teams have to re-enter data back at the office due to lack of connectivity with back-end systems and applications.

Such "transportation" problems can also introduce other elements of waste (e.g. more defects from data duplication), so explore methods to securely integrate processes from the app to the back-end using new architectures

Peter Waterhouse is a senior technical marketing advisor for CA Technologies' strategic alliance, service providers, cloud, and industry solutions businesses. View Full Bio

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll