The Agile Executive

Making Agile Work

Search Results

Ops Driven Dev

with 6 comments

In The Agile Flywheel, colleague Ray Riescher describes how velocity in dev drove corresponding velocity in ops:

Scrum set the flywheel in motion and caused the rest of the IT process life cycle to respond.  ITIL’s processes still form the solid core of service support and we’ve improved the processes’ capability to handle intense work velocity. The organization adapted by developing unprecedented speed in the ability to deliver production fixes and to solve root cause problems with agility.

From what I gleaned yesterday in the O’Reilly Velocity conference I believe the tables are turning. Ops, or at least web ops, will soon drive development.

The reason for my saying so is quite simple: the breadth and depth of forthcoming web analytics unveiled in the conference. This is not “just” about Google making website performance part of their ranking algorithm. Everything related to web performance will soon be analyzed mercilessly under the “make the web faster” mantra. Dev will need to respond to analytics from operations with an unprecedented speed. For most practical purposes analytics run in ops will dictate the speed for dev.

The phenomenon actually goes beyond performance aspects. To be able to implement changes quickly, dev will need to be very good in ensuring the quality of fast changes. While quality has many dimensions to it, the most applicable one is test coverage. There is no way to change the code quickly without a comprehensive automated test suite.

The first step toward dev meeting the required speed is described in the post How to Initiate a Devops Project:

For a devops project, start by establishing the technical debt of the software to be released to operations. By so doing you build the foundations for collaboration between development and operations through shared data. In the devops context, the technical debt data form the basis for the creation and grooming of  a unified backlog which includes various user stories from operations.

I would actually go one step further and suggest including technical debt criteria in the release process. The code is not accepted unless the technical debt per line of code is below a certain pre-set level such as $2. The criteria, of course, can be refined to include specific criteria for the various components of technical debt such as coverage, complexity or duplication. For example, unit test coverage in excess of 70% could be established as a technical debt criterion.

Once such release criteria are established, the metaphorical flywheel starts turning in an opposite direction to that described in The Agile Flywheel. With technical debt criteria embedded in the release process, the most straightforward way for dev to meet these criteria is to use the very same criteria as integral part of the build process. The scheme for so doing in given in the following chart:

One last recommendation: don’t wait till Velocity 2011 to start on the path described above. Velocity 2010 already provides plenty of actionable insights to warrant starting now. Just take a look at the web site.

Written by israelgat

June 24, 2010 at 7:55 am

Technical Debt at Cutter

leave a comment »

No, this post is not about technical debt we identified in the software systems used by the Cutter Consortium to drive numerous publications, events and engagements. Rather, it is about various activities carried out at Cutter to enhance the state of the art and make the know-how available to a broad spectrum of IT professionals who can use technical debt engagements to pursue technical and business opportunities.

The recently announced Cutter Technical Debt Assessment and Valuation service is quite unique IMHO:

  1. It is rooted in Agile principles and theory but applicable to any software method.
  2. It combines the passion, empowerment and collaboration of Agile with the rigor of quantified performance measures, process control techniques and strategic portfolio management.
  3. It is focused on enlightened governance through three simple metrics: net present value, cost and technical debt.

Here are some details on our current technical debt activities:

  1. John Heintz joined the Cutter Consortium and will be devoting a significant part of his time to technical debt work. I was privileged and honored to collaborate with colleagues Ken Collier, Jonathon Golden and Chris Sterling in various technical debt engagements. I can’t wait to work with them, John and other Cutter consultants on forthcoming engagements.
  2. John and I will be jointly presenting on the subject Toxic Code in the Agile Roots conference next week. In this presentation we will demonstrate how the hard lesson learned during the sub-prime loans crisis apply to software development. For example, we will be discussing development on margin…
  3. My Executive Report entitled Revolution in Software: Using Technical Debt Techniques to Govern the Software Development Process will be sent to Cutter clients in the late June/early July time-frame. I don’t think I had ever worked so hard on a paper. The best part is it was labor of love….
  4. The main exercise in my Agile 2010 workshop How We Do Things Around Here in Order to Succeed is about applying Agile governance through technical debt techniques across organizations and cultures. Expect a lot of fun in this exercise no matter what your corporate culture might be – Control, Competence, Cultivation or Collaboration.
  5. John and I will be doing a Cutter webinar on Reining in Technical Debt on Thursday, August 19 at 12 noon EDT. Click here for details.
  6. A Cutter IT Journal (CITJ) on the subject of technical debt will be published in the September-October time-frame. I am the guest editor for this issue of the CITJ. We have nine great contributors who will examine technical debt from just about every possible perspective. I doubt that we have the ‘real estate’ for additional contributions, but do drop me a note if you have intriguing ideas about technical debt. I will do my best to incorporate your thoughts with proper attribution in my editorial preamble for this issue of the CITJ.
  7. Jim Highsmith and I will jointly deliver a seminar entitled Technical Debt Assessment: The Science of Software Development Governance in the forthcoming Cutter Summit. This is really a wonderful ‘closing of the loop’ for me: my interest in technical debt was triggered by Jim’s presentation How to Be an Agile Leader in the Agile 2006 conference.

Standing back to reflect on where we are with respect to technical debt at Cutter, I see a lot of things coming nicely together: Agile, technical debt, governance, risk management, devops, etc. I am not certain where the confluence of all these threads, and possibly others, might lead us. However, I already enjoy the adrenaline rush this confluence evokes in me…

Services

with 8 comments

Israel offers consulting/coaching/training services in Agile, Technical Debt, Devops and Software Governance through the Cutter Consortium. Contact Jack Wainright at jwainwright@cutter.com.

In addition, Israel is available for speaking engagements. Click here for a sample of Israel’s presentations. Contact isrgat@gmail.com.

Written by israelgat

May 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Posted in

About

with 6 comments

This blog is for the executive interested in rolling Agile at the enterprise level. It provides executive coaching through a series of “fireside chats”. These chats are augmented by a Q&A service that forms an integral part of blog.

The executive who would find this blog of interest is not necessarily a R&D executive. Enterprise level Agile implementations could affect such diverse functions as Marketing, Sales, Customer Support, Professional Services, or Revenue Recognition. The blog explores the myriads of operational, financial and business issues that stand in the way and opportunities that arise when Agile is implemented on a large scale. It does not generally focus on details of the “How”, i.e. the nuts and bolts of Agile. Rather, it leans towards emphasizing the “Whys” and the “Whats” of Agile. It is designed to primarily cater to the needs of the broad-minded executive who wishes to better understand the opportunity to harness Agile methods towards the achievement of business goals.

The Agile software to be discussed here can be developed as an end to itself, as part of an embedded system, as part of a business process a corporation is implementing, or in support of an initiative a corporation is taking. As software becomes more and more pervasive, chances are the blog will be relevant to you as an executive almost irrespective of what industry you are in. As a matter of fact, Agile methods often lead to agile patterns and behaviors in domains that have got nothing to do with software per se.

We expect our choice of topics to be guided to a great extent by comments made by the readers on blog posts and questions raised through the blog’s Q&A service. We will, of course, regularly bring up topics that we deem important and relevant. Significant that those might be, in the final analysis what really matters is the set of Agile questions on your mind.

Israel Gat

Israel Gat is Cutter Consortium Fellow and Director, Cutter Consortium Agile Product & Project Management Practice, as well as a Fellow of the Lean Systems Society. He is recognized as the architect of the agile transformation at BMC Software where, under his leadership, Scrum users increased from zero to 1,000, resulting in nearly three times faster time to market than industry average and 20-50% improvement in team productivity. Among other accolades for leading this transition, Dr. Gat was presented with an Innovator of the Year Award from Application Development Trends in 2006.

Dr. Gat’s executive career spans top technology companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Digital, and EMC. He has led the development of products such as BMC Performance Manager and Microsoft Operations Manager, enabling the two companies to move toward next-generation system management technology. Dr. Gat is also well versed in growing smaller companies and has held advisory and venture capital positions for companies in new, high-growth markets.

Dr. Gat currently splits his time between consulting and writing. He focuses on technical debt, large-scale implementations of lean software methods and agile business service management (“devops”). His recent e-book, The Concise Executive Guide to Agile, explains how the three can be tied together to form an effective software governance framework. Dr. Gat holds a PhD in computer science and an MBA. In addition to publishing with Cutter and the IEEE, he posts frequently at The Agile Executive and tweets as agile_exec. He can be reached at igat@cutter.com.

Michael Coté

Coté is an analyst with RedMonk covering, among many other things, Agile Software Development. His interest is both personal and professional: having been a software developer, he found that Agile can help address some of the nagging problems of development and at RedMonk he’s able to work with clients and the RedMonk community around Agile.

For more, see Coté’s RedMonk bio and check out his blog at PeopleOverProcess.com.

Written by Coté

January 6, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Posted in