DevOps works best when everyone is running the same play

There are a variety of opinions on what DevOps is or how to do it “right”. I have spoken with a number of experts who claim that it’s possible to succeed at DevOps at a smaller team level–even in an organization that hasn’t fully embraced DevOps. While that may be true, it’s hard to argue that success wouldn’t be easier to achieve with executive support and having the whole organization working together in harmony toward the same objectives.

Rally Software–now part of CA–developed the Big Room Planning approach to foster broader support and cooperation:

Many organizations—or even teams within organizations—are attempting to embrace DevOps. The operational and strategic advantages of DevOps over traditional business methodologies make it a virtual business imperative. One of the prevailing ideas about DevOps is that it’s about a culture shift more than tools and principles—and a big part of that culture shift is making sure everyone is on the same page.

Rally Software—which was acquired by CA in May of 2015—provides software and services to help customers succeed with Agile development. One of the main components of the services side is to educate customers about the importance of working in harmony and guiding customers through a process called Big Room Planning. DevOps is a natural extension of Agile development principles to the rest of the business, so Big Room Planning can be an effective tool for DevOps just as it is for Agile development planning.

I spoke with Steve Wolfe, director of Product Marketing for Rally, who explained the goal of Big Room Planning is to teach customers how to be more collaborative and help them get to a position where they’re able to respond faster to customer demand or market pressure. The idea is to foster an environment of collaborative planning that brings in the whole organization.

“At Rally we’ve learned that delivering the most value from your software usually requires multiple, coordinated development teams—often distributed—working together and with the business,” Wolfe noted in a blog post. “Building software at this level is complicated, with a lot of moving parts, dependencies and competing priorities.”

Many organizations—particularly organizations that already are familiar with Agile development—understand the value of consistent feedback and frequent iterations. Collaboration is a keystone of Agile. However, when you take that to a broader scale with DevOps, it becomes critical that all parties impacting—or affected by—the project be represented in the collaborative effort.

Wolfe noted even in companies that use Agile development effectively, problems arise when teams work in isolation. Teams create plans that they agree on in their group, but aren’t realistic or don’t align with broader business goals. Meanwhile, other teams or departments don’t feel committed to plans they had no part in creating. The result is more like the traditional business model than DevOps: You end up with a situation in which any one team can halt progress and create a bottleneck.

Read the complete post on Big Room Planning: Getting everyone on the same page.

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